Written by Victoria Purcell

7 ways to decorate your home with neutrals

If you love the down-to-earth, Scandi-chic vibes a neutral home decor scheme offers, follow the Good Homes guide to elevating this effortless style from plain to perfect. Including different tones and textures is key – think earthy clay, buttery beige and everything along the white-to-taupe spectrum, with clever hints of metallic, woven materials and a pretty pattern or two thrown in.

1. The new neutral

As people look to add a softer side to their homes after the tension of the global pandemic, the new neutral is softer – more pebble than beige, and more natural linen than white. ‘Recently we’ve seen neutral shades go through a moment of serious re-appreciation, with their trusty, versatile, and of course calming nature,’ says Tobie Lewis, Senior Brand Manager at Valspar Paint. Below, Dulux ambassador Justin Coakley shows us how he turned his bedroom into a cocooning and calm space, emboldened by monochrome accessories, using shades of Egyptian Cotton and White Cotton from the new Dulux Simply Refresh range.

new neutrals: Dulux Calm Curatornew neutrals: Dulux Calm Curator

Dulux ambassador Justin Coakley creates a calming bedroom using Simply Refresh paints

2. Add hints of black

An interior filled with neutral colours can appear too soft for some, so if you prefer your neutral home decor with a little more depth, add elements of black or hints of metallic. Both are grounding and will help draw the eye around the room, making it visually a much more striking scheme. Pictured below: Cushions from £10; tufted pouffe £40; cane-style basket £18; woven light shade from £20, all from Matalan.

neutral decor ideas from matalan

Photo: Matalan 

3. Introduce pattern

Wallpaper helps add a sprinkle of character to a neutral home decor scheme. Plus, you can be much more daring with your pattern choice if you’re opting for a subtle, colourless palette. Find a design to add drama, texture or a contemporary edge to your room, like the Kingdom Camel wallpaper pictured below (£65 a roll from Graham & Brown).

animal print wallpaper in neutral colours

Photo: Graham & Brown

Other neutral wallpaper ideas that add texture and interest include the Superfresco Easy Brick wallpaper for a faux exposed-brick look (£15 a roll from Wilko, bellow left), and the Kukkia wallpaper in Birch for a modern, neutral floral (£36 per roll from Scion, below right).

textured wallpaper ideas for a neutral scheme

Left: Superfresco Easy Brick wallpaper from Wilko. Right: Kukkia wallpaper in Birch from Scion

4. Use grey as a neutral

Think grey has been done to death? Think again. This highly versatile colour makes a great base for a neutral home decor scheme, regardless of whether you choose a deep charcoal or something much softer. Below, dark-grey bathroom floor tiles in a hexagonal pattern offer interest underfoot, while the hue keeps the space feeling calm and serene (Signature Key Stone Kura tiles, from £71.99 per sqm at Amtico).

grey hexagonal bathroom tiles used as a neutral in an earthy scheme

Signature Key Stone Kura tiles from Amtico

5. Embrace natural materials

Successful neutral home decor schemes need variety in terms of texture and there’s no better way to achieve this than by using a tactile mix of natural materials. Make your scheme sing with everything from warm wood, jute and rattan to wool, linen and even dried flowers or grasses. Pictured below: Gaya dining table, £594.50; Zia rattan chairs, £150.50 each, and armchairs, £172.50 each; Gaya cabinet, £2,359; Mely woven pendant light, £220, all Maisons du Monde.

rattan chairs and wooden dining table in a neutral dining room home decor scheme

Photo: Maisons du Monde

Pendant lights in natural textures are also bang on trend for 2022. Try pieces like the cone palm leaf shade (£60 from Graham and Green, below left) or rattan ceiling lamp (£75 from Rose and Grey, below right).

natural textured pendant lights for a neutral decor scheme

Left: Cone palm leaf shade from Graham and Green. Right: Rattan ceiling lamp from Rose and Grey

6. Work with white

A crisp white colour is ideal if you like to keep things simple, but make sure you have either interesting shapes or tons of texture to create the interest you’ll need to take your neutral home decor from plain to perfect. Using a variety of white tones, along with a mix of matt and gloss materials, will also help to keep things interesting. Pictured below: Alderley kitchen in Bone, from £15,000 at Burbridge Kitchen Makers.

white kitchen with natural wooden accessories

Alderley kitchen in Bone, from Burbridge Kitchen Makers

7. Tonal neutral home decor

Cotton and linen are ideal for a space that you want to be soft and comfortable, like a bedroom, so embrace these materials in their natural, off-white shades, and add in warmer tones like beiges and caramels. Add in fluffy accessories like sheepskin rugs and pampas grass. Pictured below: Linen Cowslip bed, from £1,375 at Button & Sprung.

neutral home decor: bedroom dressed in off-whites, caramel and linen shades

Linen Cowslip bed from Button & Sprung


Good Homes magazine free online