Step away from the warm side of the spectrum—red, orange, and yellow—and pass by the cooler hues of green, blue, and purple, and you enter the decorating world of the neutrals. Embracing all the shades of brown, gray, black, and white, neutrals are both loved for their safety, versatility, ability to play well with others, and soothing vibes, and yet reviled for that same tendency to be "too safe," "unexciting," or "drab." In reality, however, neutrals can be every bit as beautiful, dramatic, elegant, and yes, even high contrast if done correctly.
So just because you are stuck with apartment-rental-beige, housing tract Swiss coffee, or simply prefer a palette that speaks in a whisper instead of a scream, there's no reason to settle for boring. For proof, check out the gorgeous bedrooms featured here. All are predominantly decorated in neutrals, but not one is boring, overly safe, or without style. These are neutrals done right.
01 of 24
Do you think the only way to create a dramatic, high-contrast bedroom is to decorate with bright colors or moody blues, reds, or greens? Well, think again, because if you choose them well, neutrals can be every bit as dramatic and eye-catching as the purer colors of the spectrum. Picture charcoal gray or chocolate brown highlighted with gauzy accents of creamy white: dreamy, dramatic, and romantic, yet not a bright or primary color in sight. Or, like the picture shown here, you can go with the classic black and white pairing. When you decorate with dark walls, adding plenty of soft fabric accents keeps the look cozy and romantic, rather than spooky or cave-like. Beautiful.Continue to 2 of 24 below.
02 of 24
Clean and Serene
The minimalist decorating style is free from clutter and unnecessary furnishings, with a clean and serene vibe that makes it ideally suited to the bedroom. While often associated with a stark, cool palette of black, gray, and white, a palette of earth-tone neutrals also works very well with this tranquil decorating style, adding some warm welcome. Note that minimalist does not mean without personality, style, or any adornment. The best minimalist rooms have exciting touches in the lighting, well-chosen artwork, and furnishings that keep the look friendly, not sterile.Continue to 3 of 24 below.
03 of 24
Go With a Theme
Do you want to keep an all-neutral bedroom out of the doldrums? One way to add lots of pizzazz is to use a decorating theme rather than a generic bedroom style. The gorgeous bedroom shown here is modeled after the idea of a Parisian upscale hotel suite, but you could just as easily use a palette of neutrals with almost any other decorating theme. Neutrals are a natural for rustic styles such as farmhouse, Mediterranean, and country, but also work very well with romantic or glamorous looks such as Hollywood Regency or French style.Continue to 4 of 24 below.
04 of 24
Turn to the Walls
If you’re looking for an easy way to shake up a neutral bedroom, then turn to the walls. Solid wall color is safe and expected, of course, but sometimes you’re looking to add an edge. If so, grab a can of paint and a paintbrush, and cover up your furniture with drop cloths. In an afternoon, you can bring a neutral palette to life by getting creative with your walls. But you’re only limited by your imagination, of course. Paint perfect lines if you prefer a more contemporary style, or add dots, leopard print, geometrics, or a simple mural of silhouetted figures. Don’t trust your freehand artistic abilities? Then check out your local craft supply store or favorite online store for a great selection of stencils in just about any design you can think of, or go with a stunning wallpaper print.Continue to 5 of 24 below.
05 of 24
Neutral colors and rustic decor go together like peanut butter and jelly; each is good on its own but mixed together; the whole is better than its parts. The beauty of rustic style is its inherent imperfection, casual comfort, and endless texture in the cracks and crevices of aged wood. Neutrals are easy on the eyes, soothing, and warmly welcoming. Put those together, and you get a bedroom that practically begs you to come inside, forget about the day, and stretch out for a much-needed rest. Note the several small touches in this modern rustic bedroom: matching sconces, a wooden accent wall, and gorgeous black curtains in the center. That’s the secret to keeping a rustic room looking intentional and stylish, not rundown or uncared for.Continue to 6 of 24 below.
06 of 24
Include High Shine
Are you looking to add a little glitz and glamour to a neutral decorating scheme? Just add some touches of shine in the form of mirrors, glass or crystal lighting fixtures, gold or silver frames or furniture trim, shiny fabrics such as satin, a polished wood floor, and a few reflective accessories. The key to keeping the look glamorous—not tacky—is to keep the shine confined to small areas throughout the room and to let the metallic or reflective surfaces be the stars of the space. In other words, when you are working with a lot of shine, keep other accessories and artwork to a minimum.Continue to 7 of 24 below.
07 of 24
Engage With Pattern Play
Along with texture and shine, there’s another trick up your decorating sleeve when it comes to livening up a neutral bedroom: pattern. Choose a variety of patterns with different scales; you can’t go wrong when you mix large, small, and in-between designs. Because the entire palette is neutral, your prints should all work well together, but you can add more interest by combining different designs, such as floral, geometric, and stripe, or a medley of global patterns with a classic stripe or polka dot. And just like that, your bedroom instantly looks more polished and professionally decorated.Continue to 8 of 24 below.
08 of 24
Showcase Your Romantic Side
A romantic bedroom doesn’t have to mean lots of pink or red. Soft, creamy, and dreamy neutrals—such as the peachy beige, bare blush, and creamy white in the room featured here—can be the most romantic of all. The trick to taking a room from attractive but nothing special to classy romance is to use soft fabrics as accents throughout the space, along with touches of gold, glass, or crystal. Drape a length of gauze across the wall over your bed or pin up a pretty valance over the windows for an extra touch of romance. The ornate silver mirror on the bedside table in this room is a fun touch that gives a royal feel.Continue to 9 of 24 below.
09 of 24
Add Some Wow
Sometimes, the best way to take a neutral bedroom out of the safety zone is to add one definite shot of "wow!" to the space. The form that wow takes is up to you: an oversize, eye-catching artwork does it here, but it could just as easily be a large headboard, a fantastic hanging light fixture, a boldly patterned window treatment or area rug, or a piece of furniture that's out of the ordinary. Whatever it is, it needs to suit your personality and decorating tastes because otherwise, you'll likely start to feel like the room isn't really yours. So choose your statement piece carefully; you should love it and feel like it was made for you.Continue to 10 of 24 below.
10 of 24
Use Texture to Make It Interesting
Texture is essential in any room, of course, but it takes on even more importance when decorating using a subdued or limited palette. When color isn’t used to add interest and contrast, texture needs to step up and get the job done. Luckily, it’s quite easy to work lots of varied textures into a bedroom. Knit and nubby throw pillows, faux fur blankets, rustic wood furniture or accents, touches of glass or metal, area rugs or wall-to-wall carpet, fabric window treatments, and wallpaper are all ways to add shots of texture into the space.Continue to 11 of 24 below.
11 of 24
Work With Cooler Tones
Neutrals are far from boring—and there is a wide range of shades to work with. Choosing cooler tones like charcoal grays, vibrant whites, and darker browns can help create a sophisticated (yet totally inviting) atmosphere. If you're going for a hygge inspired room like the one shown here, incorporate plenty of comfy textures and natural light for the perfect cozy hideaway.Continue to 12 of 24 below.
12 of 24
Use Curtains to Add Drama
An important thing to keep in mind with a neutral palette is that it gives you an excuse to add dramatic decor without going overboard. This room shown here is a case in point: the warm creams and white paired with the wooden bed frame and matte black accents are an absolute dream, yet the curtains hanging behind the bed as an accent wall add a dose of drama. It's all the proof you need that bright, vibrant colors aren't the only way to capture attention.Continue to 13 of 24 below.
13 of 24
Incorporate Natural Textures
A big reason why neutrals are so easy to work with is the undeniable fact that plenty of decor options are already widely available in those shades. Particularly if you're working with natural textures like wood, wicker, or cotton, chances are you will find an abundance of decorative choices in shades of walnut, cedar, and ivory, to name a few. Including these types of choices brings a certain character and charm to the room effortlessly.
Continue to 14 of 24 below.
14 of 24
Get Playful With Statement Pieces
Having a statement piece in a room can be an absolute gamechanger—especially when working with a minimal color scheme. Choosing a fun and unique headboard, like the room shown here, is a great way to add personality without having to step outside the color scheme you've carefully crafted. The gray with green undertones here also blends well with the plants in the room—giving a cohesive, relaxing feel.Continue to 15 of 24 below.
15 of 24
Dare to Go Dark
While we are all for white color schemes and light palettes, darker hues shouldn't be ruled out by any means. If you're working with a room with tan or white walls, try going dark with your furniture and decor accents for a moody yet striking look that radiates elegance.Continue to 16 of 24 below.
16 of 24
Incorporate Wooden Features
Wood is always a go-to when decorating any style of bedroom—and it fits perfectly within neutral tones. Feel free to go beyond simply adding a wooden bedside table, though. This room showcases a stunning combination of wood floors, paneled walls, even a wooden door—and it absolutely works.
Continue to 17 of 24 below.
17 of 24
Make it Monochrome
Do you have one hue in particular that really calls your name? We understand. Choosing a monochrome color scheme is a unique way to bring one distinct color to life. Gray is the color of choice in this striking room, and the cloudy shade creates a comforting ambiance that's hard to resist.Continue to 18 of 24 below.
18 of 24
Add Classic, Distinct Accents
If you're working with classic colors like white, brown, gray, and black, it only makes sense to add traditional decor into the mix. Classic vintage pieces like this wood-carved headboard really stand out against the white backdrop, and the dresser as a bedside table only adds to the charm.Continue to 19 of 24 below.
19 of 24
Make It Chic and Luxurious
While the fear behind mostly white color schemes lies in the idea of the room falling flat, there is a straightforward solution: layer your fabrics. The different consistencies between a plush, luxurious throw shown in the bed here with the patterned quilt underneath and the different materials used for the pillows make this room feel chic and inviting. Add in the crystal chandelier and the opulent bench at the foot of the bed, and the result is far from dull.Continue to 20 of 24 below.
20 of 24
Try California Cool
If you're looking for theme inspiration that works well within a neutral palette, look no further than California Cool. While the scheme also tends to include shades of blue, working with blueish-grays (or very minimal amounts of blue itself) still does the trick. Add vibrant, clean white linens and leather accents and plenty of natural light to tie the space together.Continue to 21 of 24 below.
21 of 24
Warm Pops of Color
There truly is no crime in adding a small amount of color to the neutral color scheme. However, in order to not dominate the space, the color needs to be carefully placed and in tune with the rest of your color choices. The room shown here boasts cream ship-lapped walls, black metal accents, and detailed wooden accent tables. The warm, burnt red showing up in the throw pillows effortlessly blends right into the rest of the space without stealing the spotlight from the other aspects of the room.Continue to 22 of 24 below.
22 of 24
Get Whimsical With Patterns
Solids and simplistic patterns are always welcome, but it doesn't hurt to step outside the box at times. If you want to keep your room's colors simple but still want to add some flair, then don't be afraid to get whimsical with your pattern choices. Distinct geometric shapes or abstract impressions, even in muted colors like tan and gray, still have the power to make a big impact.Continue to 23 of 24 below.
23 of 24
Be Inspired by Cool Industrial Hues
Industrial accents are stunning to look at, and cooler tones work exceptionally well with them. From black grid window panels to the light gray midcentury modern chair in the corner to the contemporary style light fixture, there is no doubt that cooler tones highlight all of these features perfectly.Continue to 24 of 24 below.
24 of 24
Play With Balance
When you're working with a particular set of hues, how you design and arrange the other elements in the room matters. Choosing to focus on balance and symmetry can help give your room a balanced, calming feel that is only accented further by soothing gray, tan, and ivory hues.