6 Ways to Jazz Up a Neutral Palette

So you want to decorate with neutrals. But you don't want your home to look like it's covered in oatmeal colored everything? Well, here's the list for you!

1. Use Texture

What is texture? Texture is smooth, rough, furry, soft, velvet, chunky, chalky. Texture creates depth by adding or taking away tiny shadows of different shapes and sizes in each object. For instance:

All totally neutral beige, but the difference in textures create interest and depth

All totally neutral beige, but the difference in textures create interest and depth

2. Use Pattern

Pattern is a friend to texture, because you can create pattern using texture. For example, a beige pillow might have a chevron pattern that's a raised pattern you can feel on the pillow. Notice in the photo above the stripe pattern on the bottom fabric! Subtle patterns are great for a neutral palette, since the goal of using neutrals is often a relaxed feel in a room. Subtle patterns can be anything that doesn't shout at your eyeballs.

Totally neutral box, but check out that pretty floral pattern!

Totally neutral box, but check out that pretty floral pattern!

3. Use Shine

What is shine? Shine is light that's reflected off an object. Okay, you knew that, so I'll just give you examples. Crystals, mirrors, metallics in textiles, silver, gold, glass, and some plastics create shine when light bounces off their surface. It's like the diamond earrings of a room. They add that special touch of beauty.

Here, a shiny silver tumbler doubles as a small vase for greenery. It adds just the right amount of sparkle!

Here, a shiny silver tumbler doubles as a small vase for greenery. It adds just the right amount of sparkle!

4. Use Contrast

Okay, didn't I say we'd be covering neutrals? Yes, I did, but contrast is important. What is contrast? It's any color that opposes the one you are using as your main color. Contrast can range from subtle to bold. The bolder the contrast, the more refined your room will look. A more subtle contrast will feel more casual and relaxed. P.S. Your contrast CAN be a neutral. Check it out below:

From left to right: subtle, bold, and fun! Okay, the owl is fun, too.

5. Use Color

Ahh, again with the non-neutral suggestion! What I mean here is, mix some neutrals together if you prefer no colors from the rainbow whatsoever. Don't just stick with one shade of beige. Use a few shades of beige, or add in a soft grey, brown, or white. The first photo in this post is a great example of that. If you like the color suggestion, try adding it in some art, subtle patterns on a textile, a few small accessories or even the cover of a book. If you chose the color route, pick one color, a few shades of the same color, or different colors in the same family (warms or cools).

From left to right: as soft blue-green perfume bottle (cool option) and a peach depression glass bowl (warm option) add subtle hints of color to all beige!

6. Use the Right Lighting

Lighting is so important, and I'll have to write a more detailed post on that later. But I have to mention it now because lighting is a mood changer. Why do you think romantic songs often talk about turning the lights down low? Because it creates a romantic mood! You can use light to highlight, distract, warm up or cool down a room. Light reveals the colors and textures of everything we see. Often, overhead lighting is not enough. Try adding a floor lamp in a dark corner, or a table lamp near a sitting area you especially love. Maybe a reading lamp next to your favorite chair, bookshelf lights, or display lighting to showcase an art piece. And maybe and occasional candle, for a relaxing evening in.

Bonus 7!  Use Plants!

Plants are often overlooked as a source of beauty in decoration. I don't mean just a vase of flowers, but actual greenery! You can find hearty plants that survive not-so-green thumb types (yes, you). Just check out your local nursery or florist, and they can recommend something to you. You can also buy some pretty darn good fake plants these days, so no need to force it if your thumb is, well, hexed. No matter if fake or real, plants add a kind of fresh air feel to a space.

Just a pop of fresh green livens up all of these neutral colors.

Just a pop of fresh green livens up all of these neutral colors.

So, that's pretty easy, right? You can really achieve a gorgeous, neutral palette  just by following these simple guidelines. Neutrals don't have to be boring anymore!

Do you love neutrals? I'd love to hear how you jazz them up in your own home in the comment section below!

Thanks, friends, for stopping in for a chat this week. Can't wait to hear all about your neutrals!

xoCarole