A neutral living room can feel effortless, warm and welcoming, but they’re not as “effortless” as they look. These simple tips will help you create a space that feels anything but uninspired!

A neutral space is a balance of color, texture, tones and layers. It creates the ultimate retreat – in the comfort of your own home.

This formula for neutral living room decor is tried and true.

traditional living room decor
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Some might think that I’d get bored with a neutral living room, but it’s actually quite the contrary. Before I embraced soft, subtle colors and found the right white paint colors, I lived a colorful life, painting every neutral room a beautiful bold color.

Then every year I thought about repainting, but we were on a limited budget, lacking the time and resources to repaint, let alone redecorate. Colors seemed to only suit me temporarily, so I went back to my roots and took a cue from my childhood home and returned to a neutral color palette.

In fact, don’t skip my comprehensive guide to the best Living Room Paint Colors!

I love chatting home design details with you! Don’t skip these popular posts about choosing a sofa: Pottery Barn Sofa, Ikea Ektorp, and Sectional Sofas.

How to Design a Neutral Living Room

Paint Colors

Neutral paint colors are anything but boring! They can be calm and relaxing, and create a nice escape. You can use Cream Color Paint to make your home feel warm and cozy. A neutral palette creates a backdrop allowing you to effortlessly transition from one season to another.

Mix shades to add a little depth. Use crisp whites, creamy hues and even subdued colors for the perfect quiet palette.


You’ll never tire of neutral furniture. A linen sofa or white slipcovered sofa is so versatile!

Two white sofas in a neutral living room.

Texture and Pattern

You can compliment furniture integrating color, patterns and texture through your pillow covers and throws.

You can create contrast using cable knits, sheepskin, linen and leather. A variety of textiles will help you maintain a neutral color scheme without feeling boring.

Using subtle patterns minimally can also add a lot to your neutral space.

Architectural Features

When decorating a neutral living room, as yourself, “what features can I highlight?” For our living room, it’s the abundance of natural light and diamond paned windows that overlook our cottage garden.

Beams, molding, wainscoting can all make an impact in a room. Built in Bookshelves and a Traditional Fireplace Mantel were key in our home.

To maximize features, arrange the furniture or position the curtains to embrace them.

Select a Rug

There are so many options for a beautiful neutral rug! You can incorporate a vintage turkish rug for a little pattern, a sisal rug made to fit your space, or an indoor outdoor rug that hoses clean! Stick to a neutral color palette and it will fit seamlessly into the space.

Get my tips for purchasing a rug here.

A neutral living room with a white sofa, wood coffee table and a pop of blue.

Eliminate Clutter

Clutter can be very distracting. Determine how you use your living room…do you need storage for games, dvd’s, magazines, the remote, etc. Declutter and create storage solutions that blend design and function!

We use a lot of baskets in our living room in addition to the storage we’ve created in our bookcases. When we removed the wet bar, we created a bar cabinet in our bookcases!


Nothing stands out in a neutral living room like a big black box. It creates a black hole that your eye is immediately drawn to. Make your TV a piece of art!

The Frame TV has a bevel to coordinate with your neutral decor, disguising it as a picture frame. It hangs just like art, too, flush to the wall! You can select a piece of neutral art to be displayed when the tv is not in use. It has one tiny optic cord that can easily be hidden in the wall.

You can also also minimize your tv by hiding the cords with this little trick.

Add Something Organic

To prevent your neutral living room from feeling flat and lifeless, add something organic. Plants (fruits and flowers) immediately bring a room to life. Fortunately ferns, olive trees and more require very little maintenance.

neutral living room with wood coffee table, white sofas

Add Warmth

Every space needs a little warmth You can use warm metals like brass hardware on your cabinetry, brass or copper curtain rods, hang gold frames, integrate brass light fixtures and brass door knobs.

Wood tones also add a lot of warmth. You can incorporate a table or simply wooden chair or sofa legs. Even a hint makes the space feel warm. For our living room we mixed in an antique wood side table purchased from Craigslist with a new wood coffee table to add a little interest. You can use varied wood tones to make it feel even more interesting.

A neutral living room and entry with fresh greenery at Christmas.

Personalize It

Our home isn’t covered in family photos, but I love integrating them in the living room. Miniature frames on end tables and in our bookcases and framed on the walls balanced with art from trips we have taken makes the room feel like home.

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    1. It was a steel on Overstock. I believe there’s a link to it on one of my older posts, but it’s a traditional wool rug.

  1. Love your living room!!! amazing neutral tones which capture a lot of light. Really gorgeous and cosy, exactly all you need in a living room

  2. Julie, your living room is so beautiful! It feels so serene, I’m sure you love sitting in that room. The windows are amazing, too! Thank you so much for sharing about my book and being a part of this exciting season with me! xo

    1. Thank YOU, Melissa! I can only imagine how successful your book will be over the holidays. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving, friend!

  3. Julie, wow, you sure did a good job on creating such a beautiful neutral living room. The living room furniture that you have set up in the room looks amazing. It sure reminds me about maybe doing something similar on the living room of my home.

  4. These are truly great tips! Hope you don’t mind me linking to this article of yours at one of my upcoming blog posts. Awesome tips indeed!