Not So Boring Neutral

I received an email the other day from a lady looking for some inspiration for painting her home.  She has always played safe and painted in shades going from cream to magnolia. Although she wanted to bring some colour into her home, she was scared and unsure how it would turn out.

So it got me thinking about designing with neutral tones.  The Cream/Magnolia colour palette often gets a bad rep because it’s boring!  

Not so!!

A neutral base tone creates a backdrop to a space and allows the beauty of your furnishings and accessories to shine through. The secret is to use textures, patterns, layers, artwork and accessories to create interest.  Click to Tweet this Tip!

The calm neutral tones of cream and chocolate brown creates an understated elegance in this living space.  Interest is created using textures, layers and shapes.


With a neutral back drop, it’s easy to inject personality into your space using bold pops of colour.

Emerald Interior Design bedroom

Use contrasting textures, fabrics and patterns to liven up a space and to keep the eye moving around the room.  Image from Emerald Interior Design

The neutral colour palette ranges from pale cream to mushroom, taupe and almost browns, and of course Greige a (made up) earthy shade of warm grey and beige. Image from

Taupe walls set against white woodwork and dark floors gives this hallway a very elegant feel.

This monochrome dining area is a great example of understated elegance. The wall colour, artwork and furniture all work together to create a space that feels organic and warm. And the light fitting adds just a touch of sparkle. Image from

 Image designed by   Emerald Interior Design

Contrast is key to keep a space interesting.  Here a red feature wall and neutral walls work very well together. Image from Emerald Interior Design
Leaning more towards the grey colour palette, I just love the calming hues in this room. Image from Emerald Interior Design Pinterest Board

Dark brown and striped bedding and soft furnishings make a big impact in this contemporary bedroom.  Image from Emerald Interior Design

Do you have a neutral backdrop in your home or are you more of a Neon than Neutral fan? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

About Karen

My name is Karen Hughes and I'm an Interior Designer from Dublin, Ireland. I’m passionate about design and I started this blog as a way to connect with others just as passionate as myself. I tend to ramble on about all sorts of things, projects I’m working on, people, places and things that inspire me (and some that don’t). So put the kettle on, get comfy and settle in. I hope you enjoy your visit and don't forget to say hello. Visit my website to find out more about my services and view my work.

One Comment

  1. I love the lights above the dinner table. Remember to have seen similar ones at

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