Neutral Living Room Design Ideas

Is there anything more calming than a neutral living room? Perhaps. But there’s no denying the endless possibilities when you go with neutral furniture and accents in a living room.

For starters, it’s easy to find tons of inspiration for neutral living room ideas—from minimalist rooms with all-white decor to modern spaces decorated in all shades of gray. Even so, finding the right mix of furnishings and getting the look right for your neutral living room can often still feel challenging, if not incredibly daunting. That’s because neutral spaces are all about the details—the natural materials and varying textures, the neutral paint colors and nuanced tones, the contrast in hard lines and soft curves. Plus, you want to make sure all these neutral elements are in line with your personal aesthetic and lifestyle needs.

For some (neutral) guidance, here are our favorite neutral living room ideas to help you design your own cool and calming space.

Combine Varying Textures

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When you’re designing a neutral living room, you want to make sure there’s a good mix of textures. That means adding different pillows, rugs, poufs, and even artwork that give your room a bit of depth and extra softness. Just remember to stick to a neutral palette when choosing your accents.

If you’re after a white living room, a mix of textures is especially key. Think a white faux fur pillow with a fringe trim, a tightly woven patterned rug in black and white, or a smooth polished marble table. For more ideas, check out our guide to decorating with white and our tips on should you get a white sofa.

Mix Wood Tones

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Introducing wood furniture and decor is a great way to add texture and varying tones to a neutral living room.

Consider a mix of wood tones and finishes. A polished light wood with visible graining on a coffee table or side stool can bring a natural look and a sense of warmth to seating areas. Meanwhile, a darker stained wood, like walnut or mahogany, will give off a more formal feeling, which makes them perfect for dining chairs and cabinets in open living spaces.

If your neutral living room is starting to feel like a wash of whites, grays, and everything in between, a few wood pieces in light and dark tones is a great way to break up the monotonous palette.

Energize With Pattern

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If you think a neutral living room means zero patterns, you’ll be happy to know that it’s just the opposite. Patterns bring contrast and visual interest to spaces, so they’re all the more important in a neutral living room.

There are two easy approaches. You can add patterns made with natural materials, like a geometric natural-fiber rug and baskets with woven details, or you can keep to soft patterned accents in a neutral palette, like a black-and-white pillow, a striped gray throw blanket, or monochrome art. Or you can combine all of those elements into your neutral living room, as in this space. All to say, patterns will bring your neutral living room to life and allow you to show of your personality.


Embrace Architectural Elements

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The great thing about neutral palettes is that they allow you to play up architectural elements in a space, instead of competing with them. These can include architectural features, like exposed wood beams, a white brick fireplace, or pretty molding.

If you’re working with a neutral living room that has a bold fireplace, as in this space, you can look to its colors and materials for inspiration for the rest of your furnishings. For instance, the white brick provides the perfect jumping-off point for the grey-white sofa and ceramic items on the self, while the wood shelf is balanced with the lighter tones of the coffee table and cabinet.

Another trick that always works in a neutral living room? A symmetrical layout, which are a great option for spaces like this one that have a fireplace in the middle of the main wall.

Create Depth With Contrast

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Contrast is key in neutral living rooms. They can always benefit from pops of darker tone neutrals, like deep grays and black, which bring a warmer feeling to the space.

If you’re not sure where to start, try anchoring your neutral living room with a large white furniture piece, then add darker monochrome accents around it. Look to small textured pieces, like a black ceramic vase or a soft gray pillow. Not only will they create contrast, but they’ll also add depth through their different textures. Also consider various shades of brown, which makes for a richer, natural touch of color in a neutral living room.

Add Sculptural Forms

Neutral living room with boucle loveseat

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Add sculptural design elements that direct focus to give a neutral living room more visual interest. Items like the love seat in the design above are a fantastic way to show your style, and because they are in a neutral color scheme, you don’t have to worry about them seeming too bold or flashy.

The best way is to bring in sculptural furniture pieces with interesting shapes, like a sofa with a curved back or a freeform silhouette, modern tables with bold bases, or a statement floor lamp or chandelier. There are no rules when it comes to sculptural designs for a neutral living room, except that you should place them in a prominent place to look almost like an art piece.

Hack Color With Earth Tones

modern style earth tone living room with red sofa

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Earth tones can be considered neutrals, and they can add a sense of warmth without compromising the soothing effects of a neutral color scheme.

If you want to add earth tones to your neutral living room, start with a neutral base. That can be a neutral rug or a white sofa that grounds your space. Then work in your earth tones but try to avoid patterns. A good rule of thumb is to keep to softer earth tones, like sage green and a soft orange. If you’re feeling bold, stick to one to two colors that have a grounding effect, like the burnt orange and olive green seating in this neutral living room. Also, check out our tips on how to choose a color palette.

Offset Neutrals with Metal Accents

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From brass details to black metal and bronze accents, metallic details are perfect finishing touches that pair perfectly with a neutral color scheme.

With so many muted and soft tones in a neutral living room, polished and dark metal details can bring a bit of edge and balance to the overall space. And you don’t need to go all out with a big metal piece of furniture either. Instead, look to chairs with steel legs, floor lamps made with brass or black metal, and even thin picture frames in dark and chrome frames. A little metal goes a long way in a neutral living room.

Layer Warmth With Leather

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Yes, there’s room to work in leather in a neutral living room, and you’re not limited to black or white. Tan leather is a classic choice that adds warmth and depending on the patina of the leather, it can add texture and pattern as well.

If you’re not familiar with decorating with leather, start small with accessories like a woven leather pouf or cowhide pillows. For those of you who feel ready to style up your neutral living room with leather in a bigger way, try bringing in a sleek sofa in the material. For a super modern and contemporary look, opt for white and black leather in a sleek sofa shape.

Also, get our tips for more ways to decorate with leather.

Work In Neutral Pink Hues

Glam style living room with neutral color scheme and pops of pink

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Soft pink is always a stylish choice for a neutral color palette. It a cozier take on neutral living room ideas, while still feeling light and sophisticated.

Explore the full range of soft pinks when choosing furniture and accents for a neutral living room. Having varying shades will help unify the overall look in your space. From blush hues to a creamy coral pink, spread out a few different pops of color across your neutral living room. Think a peach-pink sofa, purple-pink pillows, or even a rug with undertones of blush. They’ll all add up to create an instantly elegant and cozy atmosphere.

Source Unique Minimalist Pieces

A minimal style neutral color living room

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Minimalist designs will make a statement in neutral living rooms. And they can use some of the pared-down style, which naturally blends with neutral colors.

The channeled sofa in this neutral living room is at once a foundational anchor point, a sculptural accent, and the jumping-off point for the rest of the decor. Try to use minimalist furniture as a blank canvas for color and accents, and experiment with different pillows, side table materials, and woven accents. Here, the marble side table brings a touch of pattern and depth while the caning on the front of the low shelf makes for a warm touch of texture.

Play With “Bluetrals”

A neutral coastal style living room with subtle pops of blue.

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You heard it here first: Bluetrals are shades of the blue that have a neutral base. And they’re a slightly more colorful take on a neutral living room.

The best way to use blues is to go big with a large piece of furniture in a blue-grey shade that blends seamlessly with a neutral color palette or use the color sparingly, in soft muted pops, like in a pattern on a rug. Blue is actually a common color found across various neutral living room ideas, and it’s a great way to liven things up or give it a light coastal and rustic spin. If you’re not ready for cool neutral room and you’re not a fan of warm earth tones, bluetrals is a versatile choice that’s easy to decorate with.

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Color Guide: Designer Tips for Decorating With Jewel Tones

If you’re one of those people who prefers big washes of color to an all-neutral room with neutral paint colors, you might want to check out jewel tones. Jewel-toned colors are deeply saturated hues that tend to be named after gemstones. Think: emerald green, sapphire blue, ruby red, amethyst purple, citrine yellow. Gold—as a color and a finish—can also fall into this color family and complements jewel tones beautifully. In interior design, these colors add richness to your space.

What Decor Style Goes Best With Jewel Tones?

Many people may associate jewel tones with a specific design style—say, glam or transitional. But they’re actually much more free-flowing and multifaceted than that. You can take them in a lot of different directions and use them with many different design styles, as well as with other color families.

How Do I Decorate With Jewel Tones?

When decorating with jewel tones, it’s important to decide on a base color to help ground the space, then work around that color with accents of jewel tones. Consider finishes, fabrics, and tones within the space to help guide your use of jewel tone colors. For example, if you’re going for a warmer palette, try incorporating more yellows, golds, and reds, along with gold or brass finishes. For a cooler palette, opt for emerald greens or sapphire blues, with silver finishes.

Tips For Designing With Jewel Tone Decor

There are so many different ways you can decorate with jewel tones in your home—though fall and winter are actually a great time to try them out, as their saturated tones really suit the colder seasons. (But don’t worry, they work in your home year-round!) Keep reading for some stunning jewel tone color scheme design ideas, along with our best tips on the many ways you can decorate with jewel tones.

Jewel tone decor1. Go High-Contrast

If you love bold colored rooms, go high-contrast with a mix of jewel tones. Mustard and amethyst make for a perfect color combination that also creates a lot of contrast in the space (as evidenced by this wall and sofa combo). The addition of the rug adds playful vibrance to what might otherwise be a very stately space.

This is not a subtle look; rather, this room is a great example of a whole room being saturated in jewel tones—from the wall to the sofa and rug. It’s definitely a more maximalist approach to the application of jewel tones in color.

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Jewel tone decor2. Make A Statement

You don’t have to paint your whole room in order to incorporate jewel tones. In fact, even a single pop of a jewel tone in an otherwise neutral space can make a major style statement. Jewel toned decor or accent furniture—like pillows, ottomans, wall art, and tabletop decor—are a great way to bring in those colors. This room displays that more subtle take on jewel tones, with just one big pop that is echoed in other small moments throughout the space. This subtle decor supplements the main piece of the room, the ottoman. (Check out our guide to decorating with white for more ways to bring this type of look to life.)

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Jewel tone decor3. Tone It Down

Another way to bring jewel tone interiors to life? Go more subtle in jewel tones with toned down shades like pale reds and greens. However, it’s important to still use a bold jewel tone on the wall or through a sofa or rug to help ground the look. Without this high-contrast, darker element, the toned down jewel tones can easily take on a pastel look, which would really change the vibe. But against a rich, intense jewel tone—like with the wall above—the colors read more like jewel tones. Textures also help the toned down shades read more jewel tones. The velvet materials give off a more luxe vibe, which aligns with jewel tones. On the other hand, if the furniture were in a cotton weave or linen, the colors would read a bit differently.

Overall, this is a great approach for someone who’s on the fence about jewel tones, or even someone who likes pastels or lighter, earthier colors, but wants to glam it up a bit with some high contrast and golds.

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Jewel tone decor4. Embrace Repetition

Drive home your bold color scheme through repetition of jewel tones. In this room, we used a deep ruby red paint color, and repeated that in accents throughout the space—both in the rug and the wall baskets. This creates a compositional repetition of colors. This is a great way to approach a more eclectic take on jewel tones (proof that this color scheme doesn’t always have to be paired with glam or transitional styles). Here, the deep red tones rule the look and pairs beautifully with rustic wood tones and natural materials. When applying jewel tones to an eclectic style, grounding it in the natural materials of the space helps balance out the look.

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Jewel tone decor5. Make Sure Metals Are in the Same Color Family

Metallic finishes are a perfect pairing to a more glam take on jewel tones. However, when using metallic finishes, make sure your metals are all in the same family, or at least complementary. In this room, you’ll notice gold finishes throughout, and they all have the same color tone and finish to them. (They’re matte gold, rather than ultra shiny. You can go either way, but you just want those finishes to be uniform throughout a space.) However, you’ll also notice a pair of black iron side tables in the corner—proof that you certainly can mix metals. You just want to make sure there is a dominant metal in the space, like gold is here.

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Jewel tone decor6. Mix Up Your Textures

When decorating with jewel tones, you can have a lot of fun mixing textures within your space. Consider throw pillows: you could choose a chunky knit pillow, next to a velvet pillow of the same color—but the different materials and textures add a ton of depth to the look. Another texture to mix into the look? Leather. It makes a perfect backdrop for these vibrant, saturated hues while also adding organic warmth, which is where jewel tones thrive.

This room portrays another eclectic approach to jewel tones. This room is earthy and natural—in fact, earth tones have the main stage in this look, while jewel tones are more supportive. Just remember: when mixing textures and colors, just make sure the colors you’re using are either the same shade or color family, so they’re complementary rather than competing for attention.

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Trend Spotlight: Bold Colored Rooms Are Bringing Joy Inside

Want the scoop on one of the latest and greatest interior design trends? First, shameless plug for our podcast, because in episode 4 we dug into some of the best and worst of interior design trends over the decades, including what we’re loving right now. But that’s not why we’re here!

The trend we’re talking about today? Bold-colored rooms! With the world at large feeling like it’s at a stand-still, and nothing but bad news filling our newsfeeds, people are bringing some excitement and joy into their lives with bold colors. Since we’re spending so much time at home, people are brightening up their spaces, and color is a huge part of that. In the past couple months we’re seeing more and more people embrace bold colors in their home rather than cover them up with neutrals.

A great example of this is blogger Kate Arends of Wit & Delight, who’s embracing brightly colored rooms in her new home. And Veranda just published their Bold Color issue with some seriously daring color palettes on display. You can even see this trend in small ways in Kendall Jenner’s cozy LA hideaway.

In many cases, this trend is showing up in bold wall colors. But you can definitely get this look without breaking out the paint! Ready to dig into this trend and maybe try it out in your own home? We asked our designers how they’re working with this trend, and they shared their best tips on how to get the look in the rooms below.

Want to see this trend come to life in your space? Start your online interior design project today and try on the latest trends in a 3D version of your exact room.

bold colored roomsStick With Colorful Decor

Here’s a great example of adding bold colors to your space without painting any walls. In this case, we simply integrated color through the accessories and decor while maintaining white walls. This is a perfect approach for those who aren’t sure how they’ll feel about a more brightly colored space. You aren’t committing to this trend in a more “permanent” way with a wall color, but you’re still embracing colors in a big way. A bedspread is a great way to add a huge wash of color (and pattern!) to a bedroom. We then added pops of color through art, plants, and accent pillows, creating a veritable rainbow within your bedroom. How cheery!

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bold colored roomsAdd One Big Statement Color

Another way to tap into this trend? Using a pop of one statement color. In this case, it’s through a bold-colored sofa—but you could also do this through an accent wall, a chair, wall art, a rug, or any other large-scale object in the room. Here, the rust sofa adds a warm, bold pop of color to the space, which really stands out in contrast to the otherwise neutral room. This is a great approach for those with minimal or glam styles where adding a bit of a dramatic flair is par for the course.

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bold colored roomsGo All Out

Want to dive headfirst into this trend? Go all out with a combination of colorful walls, furniture, and decor. It makes for a pretty beautiful room, huh? However, this type of bold color palette requires a bit of thought to make sure the colors coordinate. To achieve this look, consider a color palette with 2-3 dominating and coordinating colors, then mix those colors into all elements of the design in a repeating way. You can see this in the room above with the way that the yellow repeats in the sofa and pouf, while the blue repeats in the chairs, pillows, and wall art. You can also see small extra uses of the peach wall colors in the painting above the fireplace and a vase on the bookcase.

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bold colored roomsStrike Some Contrast

This room explores a similar approach as the room above, but with a very different execution. Go for a dark bold color on the walls, and then layer bold but contrasting colors in the rest of the space. In a living room, the sofa is the main contrasting element to the wall—so go for something like a purple wall with a mustard sofa like in the room above, or perhaps a dark blue wall with a white sofa. Basically, you just want to strike some major contrast. Then anchor the design with lighter pops of color in the other furniture and decor.

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bold colored roomsPaint An Accent Wall

Sometimes, painting an accent wall can have an even bolder look than painting a whole room. We love the idea of a bright and bold-colored accent wall in a room with striking architectural details or in a space that has a natural focal point. In this case, we painted a wall that has built-in shelving, but you could also achieve this through painting a full wall in a small space. To drive home this look, add pops of complimentary colors into the overall room design so the accent wall has a good sense of contrast within the space.

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bold colored roomsGo Monochrome

Another way to make use of bold colors in your space? Go monochrome. The repeated use of the same color tone will create a bold and dramatic look. For this approach, we recommend tapping into the earth tones trend. For your main color, use a calming color like sage, terracotta, or a mix of blues or greys. Here, we paired a green wall with matching curtains and a rug in a slightly deeper shade of green. But then we accented the space with pops of natural woods and other earth tones in the furniture and other decor. The result is a cohesive design that, when put all together, really pops.

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Earth Tones Trend: Are These Hues the New Neutrals?

Earth toned colors are becoming something of a trend in interior design color schemes, and we’re all for it. These saturated paint colors and decor hues feature rich, earthy tones that you’d find in the natural world. These show-stopping shades create a relaxed palette that’s serving up major style.

We love using them as unexpected neutral colors that offer a rich backdrop to any room or as colorful but grounded pops of color in an otherwise neutral space. And they work great with natural materials like wood, metal, stone, linen, and woven materials. That makes this a color family that works with almost every interior design style in some way or another.

Intrigued? Keep reading for the full scoop on the earth tones trend, from some earth tone design ideas to learn why we’re calling these hues the new neutrals!

bohemian designWhat are Earth Tones?

Earth tones, in their most basic sense, are colors that are found in nature. Think: rust, marigold, deep navy, burnt sienna brown, terracotta, sage, turmeric, and the Pantone 2020 color of the year, classic blue. There’s actually quite a wide variety of hues within the earth tone family, but what ties them all together is their natural, earthy quality.

These colors are warm and inviting, and they often have brown-ish undertones to them. (This is not where you’ll find bright colors or neons.) But that doesn’t mean they’re not vibrant! Shades like turmeric and classic blue are quite saturated. But even these vibrant colors have an almost muted quality that gives them a soothing and relaxing vibe.

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Here are 4 reasons to consider earth tones for your home decor!

earth tones1. They’re Neutrals, With a Twist

When you think of neutral paint colors, furniture, and decor, your mind probably wanders to shades of white, beige, or grey. Some color-lovers even avoid neutral colors, thinking them boring or devoid of personality. But this is far from the case when you use earth tones as a bold neutral! Because these colors are derived from nature, they have a neutral base to them that you won’t find in neons or brighter hues. So, you get the building blocks of a neutral while still achieving a pop of color.

Their saturation causes them to pack an extra punch that gives your space more personality. Unlike standard neutral colors, earth tone color schemes can make your space feel moodier in the best possible way. They make an elegant statement on their own, but also create a gorgeous symphony of color when paired together! That’s why we’re loving earth tones when thinking through neutral color scheme ideas.

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earth tones trend2. They Go With Everything

This leads us to our next point: Earth tones go with just about everything. That’s why they’re becoming one of the more popular living room color schemes this year! You can pair them with patterns and use them to compliment numerous furniture styles and materials. You can even mix and match them with other colors and still get a cohesive look! Use earth tones as a backdrop or accent in a modern space, one with a desert minimal vibe, or even a space that’s more traditional or rustic!

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earth tone living room3. They’re Serving Year-Round Style

While earth tones are ideal for autumn—a season where these shades are found in nature more than any other season—they’re actually part of a chic palette that can be used year-round! Because they’re so versatile, you can easily make a few quick design swaps each season to help your look learn more toward fall/winter or give it more of a spring/summer vibe.

But how do you do this? Well, it can be in big ways or small ones—whether in playful pops of color or rich and dramatic tonal statements. These colors don’t just belong on walls. They can also be incorporated in accessories such as pillows, rugs, and wall art! You can even go big with a foundational piece like a sofa or accent chair in these earthy hues.

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earth tones4. They’re Calm and Comforting

These hues are moody and bold—but they also have a calm, relaxing vibe due to their neutral undertones. Color psychology tells us that familiar colors make us feel more safe and secure.

And because earth tones are colors we experience in nature on a regular basis, they’re basically the comfort food of the color wheel. So, it’s no wonder that in our current cultural climate we’re seeking something soothing and familiar at home!

We love that these tones let us indulge in our love of color while creating a space that feels neutral and calming. And honestly, who doesn’t need a little more serenity and calm in their lives?

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5 Neutral Wall Colors We Love (That Aren’t Boring Beige)

Neutral wall colors are a great way to add sophistication and style to a room while creating a serene, calming environment. Neutral paints also help ensure your walls won’t clash with new decor if you switch things up a few years down the line. But if you think “neutral” means boring beige, think again. To prove it, we’re showing off 5 of our favorite neutral paint colors that are anything but snooze-worthy.

Neutral wall color ideasFresh Cedar

Who ever said pink can’t be neutral? For a super warm, earthy vibe, try this shade of Fresh Cedar from Behr. This hue works well in eclectic spaces with lots of texture – that way your furniture and decor won’t be overshadowed.

For example, textured pieces like the Dilan Safari Chair from Safavieh and the Edge Brown rug from Loloi, perfectly harmonize with this warm share pink. For a neutral color, it certainly adds cheer to a space and doesn’t skimp on personality!

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Neutral wall color ideasAttitude Gray

Into cool neutrals? Then this Attitude Gray wall color from Sherwin Williams might be perfect for you. It’s an awesome backdrop for dark metals and warm leathers like the Owen Armchair from Pottery Barn and the Coast to Coast Bis Swivel Barstool used as a side table here. It’s a great neutral paint for industrial style decor because it mixes well with reclaimed woods, exposed beams, and brick walls.

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Neutral wall color ideasCachet Cream

Feeling peachy? Your living space sure will be when you add Cachet Cream by Sherwin Williams as your backdrop. This creamy neutral is is anything but drab and is perfect for balancing brightly-colored furniture pieces like this Effie Tripod Chair from Anthropologie.

One note of caution: if you have mostly white furniture, this hue might look too yellow. But, with dark wood floors or bold velvet statement items, it hits just the right notes.

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Rushing River

Okay, this one is kind of beige. But it’s a slightly darker, cooler take, unlike some of those drab, dull beiges. Rushing River by Sherwin Williams makes a sophisticated backdrop and also adds contrast/depth to a white living room. It’s the perfect wall color to emphasize texture and we love how it pairs with the gorgeous Carved Lovella Daybed and the round jute rug from Crate & Barrel.

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Tavern Taupe

Sherwin Williams’s Tavern Taupe offers a darker, warm neutral that makes a lovely compliment to blue accents like the Ashby Home Nassau Table Lamp and the Pottery Barn Azure Patchwork wall art. (P.S. this neutral/blue combo is our most-requested color palette.) A rich neutral wall color like this is never boring and adds warm, cozy vibes to any space.

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