Though the word "neutral" might not exactly light a fire of instant inspiration in your mind, the fact is that neutrals have a crucial role in just about any color scheme we can think of. However, they're rarely the "main event"...instead, they often play second-fiddle to trendy statement hues or classic color combinations. But what if you could create a color scheme that was all neutrals? And, better still—what if it was anything but boring?
Here's where we come in. We polled some of our favorite designers, asking for the best neutral spaces they've designed. And the results are...well, surprisingly obsession-worthy. Even without flashy brights or moody jewel tones, these spaces achieve a level of style, sophistication, and (yes) comfort that can rival any color-savvy space. With a refined palette of neutrals, qualities like texture, form, and shape becomes even more important—letting the beauty of each individual piece in a room really have its moment. And best of all—there's no time limit on how long these spaces can stick around, since neutrals are (pretty much by definition) timeless and enduring.
Ready to give life in the neutral zone a spin? Click through for designer-approved neutral color schemes you'll want to try out ASAP.
Blue-Gray + Cream + Metallics
Neutral never needs to mean "bland"—and this bedroom proves it. Gray is definitely one of our favorite neutral hues, because there are so many different shades that can help you dial into your ultimate mood.
"The concept for this project was a hip aesthetic for a client's new apartment on Philadelphia’s uber ritzy Rittenhouse Square," recalls Joe Berkowitz, founder of JAB Design Group. "We wanted a cool feeling, so soft blue-grays, cream, and metallics were used as a base. In this case Benjamin Moore's Sweatshirt Grey (2126-40) was chosen for the wall color."
For added interest, plenty of diverse texture was incorporated to make sure the space felt rich and luxurious. "To add dimension to the cream tones, carpet, chairs and drapery materials all have a pattern or texture. The dresser and night tables have a gilded metallic and pearl finish, respectively, for a touch of glam," Berkowitz explains.
White + Clay-Toned Pink + Brass
Luckily, a certain neutral color family is having a major moment right now—clay-toned browns and beiges. (Just ask all our desert-chic inspo boards.) As a result, it might feel downright trendy to incorporate these not-quite-pinks into your home, but thankfully, they're just as versatile and timeless as any other neutral.
"For this project, we carried muted shades of pink throughout the entire home," explains designer Mindy Gayer. "In the kitchen, the soft white cabinets and tumbled brass hardware create a warm feeling that beckons you to come take a seat, and a vintage runner with pink hues ties it all together." Plenty of white space offers the pink- and brass-tinged hues some room to breathe, and brings a weightless, airy vibe to the space.
Terra Cotta + Soft Gray + White
Terra cotta is another on-trend neutral at the moment—but we suspect it's here to stay. Whether you incorporate this hue through warm cognac leathers and hides, or soft linens and cottons with a natural-dye look, it's a color that's both versatile and dimensional. "We created a warm and breezy take on the modern lines of Scandinavian design for our Swedish clients and their growing family," explains designer Lindye Galloway. "We furnished this seasonal residence with custom-designed pieces that offered the perfect blend of coastal California elegance and iconic Nordic design with an eye toward kid-friendly resilience," she recalls—with durability and livability being another benefit of these warm, earth-toned hues.
If you're uncertain about incorporating a "trendy" neutral like terra cotta or clay pink into your space, just limit the color to textiles and accessories that can easily be swapped out if you ever tire of the hue.
Taupe + Pink + Black
Another space where beige and barely-pink intermingle nicely is this serene bedroom. Here, the "pink" shade is almost more of a taupe, especially as it leans into more gray, unsaturated territory.
"In this main bedroom suite, our client gave us the liberty to design keeping her favorite things in mind," says Gayer. "With pink as a primary accent color, we sourced this vintage Kilim rug for the room first. To offset the feminine touch the rug introduced, we sought to bring in some contrast with the bed, nightstands, and lighting."
The overall scheme is subtly femme, but still neutral and accessible with a textural, worn-in feel that makes it seem comfortable and easygoing.
Warm Wood + Blue-Gray + White
Incorporating a mix of different wood tones isn't just a great way to add diversity and interest to an all-neutral color scheme—it's also an effortless means toward channeling some of the most enduring and of-the-moment design sensibilities, from Californian casual to wabi sabi to Scandi-inspired.
"Our clients wanted a coastal, modern look in their living area," explains designer Robin Strickland. Her approach to build depth and texture within a strict color scheme was to turn to texture. "We kept the color scheme neutral but interesting—by using different patterns, wood tones, and textures (think: wool, rattan, velvet), with a calming pieces of art to anchor the entire space together," she explains.
A few hints of blue-gray add the most subtle wash of color to the space, while the continuity of different wood tones draws the eye across the room and upward toward the fireplace surround and exposed beam detailing at the ceiling.
Light Blue + White + Gray
Barely-there blue-grays lend a little hint of color to this neutral space, but they're so muted they basically count as pseudo-neutrals (in our book). This living room is a masterclass in how to make sure a primarily white space stays warm and welcoming—here, the trick is warm woods and metallics...and plenty of creative details. "This project incorporated grays, soft brushed brass, and blues throughout the room," explains designer Lauren Lerner. "We wanted the space to have a calming effect, and to be welcoming and comfortable for family-and-friend gatherings, " she says. Mission, accomplished.