How To Add Style To A Neutral Living Room (+ Get the Look)
When we staged the house to sell last year I styled it to be more pulled back, reserved, have more mass appeal and be more neutral, and as I’ve said before I secretly liked it the best this way. For someone who previously loved STUFF and COLOR why exactly did I like it so much? What made it feel so good to me? Here’s the answer…. because it’s neutral and calm, but with a lot of warmth, comfort, style, pattern and color. Isn’t that kinda what we all want in life??
Eight months ago we created this post/gif, with tips to getting this look/feel, and I realized I never finished or published it (probably because I felt you had all seen it so much). So here is today’s ‘Drafts we never published’:
Start with neutral furniture. Now, I will admit that some of these pieces of furniture or rug aren’t EXACTLY basic :). Sure they are neutral in tone and gender, but all of them are pretty special (see resources below). But the tips apply to any room that just has neutral pieces of furniture and you can’t go wrong with gray, wood and leather. If you are someone who never wants to change out furniture, then go simple and neutral (like the above) but know that you can definitely layer on style and color and change it out often.
Next choose a couple ‘accent colors’. An all white/neutral living room can be stunning, but one with layered on tones is what I feel is more inviting. In this case that blue and blush (note: that blue was indigo before it was faded by the sun). I like choosing colors on the opposite side of the color wheel to keep it balanced. My go-to combo used to be teal and hot pink and now it’s indigo and blush (SO DIFFERENT YOU GUYS… but seriously I guess it is). Update: I’m pretty into swedish/french gray/blues right now … and yet navy never leaves my life, and nude and blush are still in my house, but far less.
Now comes the part that looks easy but I’ll be honest with you, it can be pretty time consuming – combining the pillows and throws. I knew that for staging to sell a ton of ‘accessories’ wouldn’t be a great idea, but that a lot of pillows and throws makes any space feel inviting. But the right combination can be hard to master – Just remember to mix different sizes, shapes, textures, patterns and styles in the same color palette. A good formula is big (24×24), medium (20×20), and smaller rectangle (16×20) in the same corner (you can do 22×22, 16×16, and 12×16, too if your sofa is smaller). Put smaller patterns near larger ones, and break them up with solids or just a texture to keep it from getting too busy (see below to see details of the pillows).
Lastly as aforementioned, keep table surfaces simple – books, and flowers.
If you want to look super cool you can leave the magazine open to the feature of your own living room. (It was for staging and you bet I left all those magazines open around the house:)) Here’s the same shot without the copy if you want to pin that sucker.
In case you haven’t properly feasted your eyes on that room and miss it like I do, here are some more photos with some additional tips.
What you can’t tell above is that some of the pillows were splurges and some Target. The pillow on that chair was Rebecca Atwood which is high end and while Brian would be like ‘what’s so special?’ even in this shot you can get a sense of the hand stamping through the color and inconsistencies of the pattern. On the bench is a vintage (fringe), two Target pillows and a simple linen pillow that wasn’t particularly expensive.
You’ll notice that the two pinks don’t match at all. It’s totally fine. They all feel very tonal and calm. Had one of them been hot pink it would have been jarring, but they are both calm and the fact that they aren’t an exact solid pantone color is a good thing. You don’t want to look like you tried THAT hard.
I really, really tried to channel what I loved about this last living room and bring it into our new one, but I already failed….. well, not really a fail. I don’t think that our kids can handle anything but a medium to dark sofa right now, so this gray one probably wouldn’t have withstood the flubber, play-doh, banana and well even more disgusting stains that this one didn’t have to endure (since in our current house the living room gets full use where this one was definitely more of ‘the living room’). And I have tried for 8 months now to find a 12×15 vintage Persian style rug in the blue/gray that isn’t $14k, is also beautiful (and can beat out our heriz, which I love) and hides mess. My friends/family/team are all so sick of me saying I want a neutral rug (do you like how I consider blue neutral?) and it’s because I want the feeling of this room, in our new house. It just feels so fresh, big, airy and yet has style.
Anyway, I’m not saying I don’t love my living room, because I do (stay tuned for the reveal!) but someday when I find that 12×15 blue/gray rug that is still kid friendly and under $5k everyone will see what I mean….
If you want to watch a fun gif (set to music) about this living room here you go:
Of course we reposted the get the look with all the items in the room if you are into it. Happy Friday, folks. xx
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