Looking for neutral living room ideas? Get tips on choosing paint, area rugs, and furniture for a beautiful neutral transitional living room!
Though the red, blue, and green dry erase marker that my two year old just added to our sectional in our family room (true story 🤦🏼♀️😭) might suggest that some of my family prefers plenty of color, I’ve always been more of a neutrals girl at heart. So I’m excited to share our updated formal living room and some neutral decorating ideas with you!
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Living Room Before and After
The living room has gone through quite a few changes since we moved in… I never felt like the brown leather sofa was quite right for the space, but we’ve made do with it as we slowly renovated the space over the past few years.
Although I do love leather furniture and its practicality, I’ve just never quite gotten over the idea that a neutral fabric sofa would be perfect in here… So 4.5 years after we moved into this home (and almost 20 years since this brown leather sofa was purchased – decorating and budgeting is a process!), I finally purchased a new couch. And luckily, given the marker incident mentioned above, I chose a slipcovered one for this room.
I found it at the Four Hands (a high-end furniture company here in Austin) outlet sale for a steal of a deal. It’s actually a double chaise, so it’s extra deep and cozy.
I also added a more neutral rug to the space. I partnered with Solo Rugs, choosing one of their hand-knotted wool rugs. They sent me the rug in exchange for this review, and ohmygosh I am in love!
If you’ve been following for a while, you know I have a thing for rugs. I have especially fallen in love with vintage handmade rugs in the last few years because the quality simply cannot be matched by machine made rugs. And this beautiful rug was hand-knotted with those same techniques. The subtle color variations and luxurious texture is perfect for our formal living. Be sure to check out Solo Rug’s beautiful, high-end rugs when you’re ready to invest in something that will last for decades.
Both the new sofa and the new rug are fairly traditional pieces, but my goal was really a transitional style living room (a balance of traditional and contemporary), so I layered in some more modern elements, as well. Beginning with (ironically) a vintage coffee table that belonged to my grandparents.
This brass coffee table (and it’s real brass with thick glass, so it’s heavy) went from my grandmother’s living room to my parents’ almost a decade ago… But a few years ago, they changed things up and moved this one to their attic. I love shopping my parents’ attic. 😉
I also chose fresh, modern throw pillows. I’m especially excited about the linen ones from City Farmhouse and Co., a new pillow shop by my friend Jen from City Farmhouse. I love seeing her vision come to life, and these linen pillow covers with simple, beach-inspired, hand-drawn designs are absolutely beautiful. I chose the Bayberry in Indigo and the Surfside in Sand.
And finally, I added some highlights with some simple mixed metals… Black lanterns and a terrarium with air plants complement the black piano. Copper piano chair legs and a little repurposed Moscow Mule Mug planter add some metallic warmth. And brass candlesticks on the mantel work with a hammered vase on the piano to accentuate the brass legs of the new coffee table.
Neutral Living Room Decorating Tips
I’m a firm believer that neutral doesn’t have to be boring… Here are a few suggestions if you’re looking to design a neutral room.
Choose a Perfect Base
I could bring home 72 options for neutral wall colors, and Mr. Pax would tell me they all look the same. 😂 But the truth is, even if you’re just choosing white paint (not to mention beige or light gray), neutral paint colors for living rooms are tough! The wrong one could make your room look too cold, too warm, too pink, or too green…
The walls in here are Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray (which is one of my favorites, but I should warn you that it’s a chameleon color depending on how much natural light you have!), while the trim and fireplace molding is extra white (straight off the shelf). Check out our house tours for more of my favorites or see this super popular paint color home tour from our last house.
Bring in lots of texture
Linen on the sofa, brick on the fireplace, leather and cloth-bound antique books in the bookcase, velvet pillows on the armchairs…
Hammered brass on the piano, and even a fur throw on the coffee table (though I admit it usually lives on the piano seat because my kids play board games at this table almost constantly 😉 ). Almost all varying shades of neutrals (minus the pillows and books), but so. many. different. textures. It brings interest into a space with neutral color palette.
Use subtle patterns
Totally monochromatic spaces aren’t really my thing, but that’s not to say that I am drawn to loud, bold spaces either. I prefer understated colors and patterns, and neutral rugs for living rooms with muted traditional patterns can be the perfect base for a transitional living room.
Mix warms and cools
I confess that I mostly make up my decorating rules (don’t tell anyone, though, mkay?), but this is one I love… even if no one else even knows it exists. Especially when decorating with neutrals, I think it’s important to have a mix of warm and cool tones; otherwise, it feels super monotonous.
For example, I chose a rug with a similar lightness but warmer tones than the stone-gray sofa purposefully, so that they would flow but not match. I love the smoke-gray crystals on our silver chandelier, but I purposefully brought some copper and brass into the room, too, for some warm undertones. The wood tones of the mirror on the fireplace and the piano chair warm up the grays of the upholstered furniture… And the list goes on. All neutrals, but balancing warms and cools.
SOURCES FOR THIS SPACE:
fireplace design | flooring | sofa | rug | armchairs | patterned pillow | white and navy pillows | velvet pillows | coffee table, piano, books, and chandelier: vintage | wood chair | curtain rods | curtains | white planter
SHOP THE LOOK:
Other Neutral Living Room Ideas
The truth is, there are no real rules for this sort of thing… if you love it, go for it!
One of my favorite things about neutral living rooms, though, is that they feel incredibly versatile. With neutral walls, area rugs, and main furniture, you can layer bright or bold or rich colors whenever you choose. You can redecorate your living room seasonally or whenever it strikes your fancy. You can bring in new pillow covers, add flowers, or change out your artwork for an easy mini makeover.
With a strong neutral base, it’s not only more affordable to change up the look, but the possibilities are practically endless…
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