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

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. I love your style. It is cozy without clutter or fussy details. I seem to have inherited the packrat DNA from my mom and grandmother, and I have been doing the big purge this year. Clothes from two decades ago — gone. Uncomfortable shoes I never wear —gone. Books I am never going to read—gone. Decor that adds clutter– gone. I am donating a lot this year. The decor part of it, I am donating the items that are trendy or not blending in seamlessly or hard to store in a small house. I want our home to look natural and not “she got that whole trendy vignette off the end cap at such and such store.”. I think the types of things I am keeping from the stores (which I LIKE the stores) are the types that blend in prettily, not stand out as a trend piece. My mom is doing the donating purge, too, at her home. I think my dad is glad about that. :).

    I notice your photos show one special bigger item rather than a bunch of little knicknacks. My little items I am only showing if I can group them as a collection, like my five white milk glass vases in one spot that read as one display, or my mercury glass candlesticks as a trio on a tray. I try to scale things, too, not having cluttery little things everywhere and letting simple things that look cute speak for themselves. I actually don’t like gallery walls,
    with signs and multiple accents and family photos, something a little controversial to say. Lol.

    I think some of the tendency is to want to get something ” new.”. Newness passes the next day.. Lol. But I am noticing the more I have donated the happier I am with the style in the house. I had originally with the house tried to buy for every season a whole scheme. In a small house I just can’t store tons of stuff. I had bought 5 wreaths from the thrift store I thought were cute for the seasons. Now I have 2 wreaths, one of which is always up because it can be cute for every season. I am only storing one Christmas wreath. I swap around nice fake florals for the seasons in my vases, not saving a whole new scheme of “stuff” for every season. I thought I would love the home even more with “more.” But it is better in the type of pretty style you have in your house. My storage is now not filled to the brim! I found more contentment with less and more carefully chosen. When I want to splurge, I am now buying small jewelry pieces that are easy to store. 😉

  2. i love decorating and changing things around in our old two storey home now that my children have grown and on their own things don’t get moved all that much but when i see such fantastic decor it makes me want to do my house over again especially the bookcases you have on each side of your fireplace i am saving the pictures to show my husband he is a really good carpenter that was not his trade when he worked but he has done some fantastic things with this house we are retired now and like going to the cottage but i don’t lnow about this year with the virus on the go i thing we may be staying close to home keep up the good work will email you again soon because i like to bake and have some really good recpes (Faye)

    1. Hope you enjoy them all! It’s a great time to knock out projects and do a little baking!

  3. Who doesn’t love a neutral living room? If you’re lucky enough to have striking period features in your living room then it makes sense not to detract from them with an overly detailed design.

  4. I really like your tip about figuring out how you use the space when it comes to your living room. My husband and I have been thinking about redecorating for a while now and we would love to have the neutral feel that you talked about. We will have to keep these tips in mind while we are designing, thank you for sharing!