Oftentimes when you rent a home, you are surrounded by a neutral palette that you are not allowed to change. Why not use it to your advantage and create a beautiful, serene space? It is possible to create a room that is neutral without being plain, you just have to remember a few key elements. Here are my top 10 tips for creating a non-boring neutral space.


1. Create interest by using texture.

Adding a variety of textures warms up the space and drastically reduces the boredom factor. Pair the texture of coarse natural fibers with something woven and soft, for example, or leather with something soft and plush.


Photo via Design OCD

2. Use pattern, pattern, and more pattern.

Using contrasting patterns can seem scary to some, but the key is to use a coordinating color palette. If you stick with the same color or color family, the mix of patterns will complement each other rather than seeming too busy or distracting.

3. Mix different hues of the same color.

A monochromatic color scheme is much less boring when you have several shades of the same color rather than just one or two. A combination of light, medium, and dark hues combine to add depth to the space.

4. “Neutral” doesn’t always have to mean beige.

There are alternatives to beige or tan when it comes to creating a neutral space. White furnishings and decor are all the rage, and gray or “greige” (grey-beige) are great options too. Even soft colors such as light greens and blues can serve as neutrals.

5. Mix materials.

Creating a mix of materials by combining different elements like glass, metal, wood, etc., really adds interest to a space and evokes a feeling of warmth. The contrast is pleasing to the eye and it definitely prevents the room from being perceived as “boring.”

6. Use black accents to “ground” the space.

Black accents work with any color palette, and they really anchor the room and pull everything together. Try adding black frames, lamps, curtain rods, or decorative accessories to define the space.


Photo via DIY on the Cheap

7. Incorporate an interesting “statement piece.”

One way to add interest to what may otherwise be perceived as a plain or boring space is to add a statement piece to grab people’s attention (in a good way). Maybe it’s a beautiful piece of artwork or a unique sculpture, an interesting piece of furniture, or even a really gorgeous rug.

[How to Choose the Right Area Rug]

Choose something that makes you happy when you look at it, and chances are it will have a similar impact on your guests.


8. Focus on lighting.

Typically in a rental home, light fixtures can’t be switched out. (Although you can always check with your landlord on this.) If you are unable to change light fixtures, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore lighting altogether.

[Home Lighting Tips for Your Apartment]

Lamps, plug-in wall sconces, strategically placed spotlights, or even plug-in chandeliers are all options to consider.

9. Accentuate interesting architecture.

If you are renting a home with interesting architectural accents, incorporate those into your design scheme and accentuate them rather than ignoring them. Features such as fireplaces, arched ceilings, moulding, etc., provide an interesting focal point to work with.

10. Make it personal.

This tip applies to any color scheme, but the most important part of decorating a room is to make sure it is a reflection of you. Incorporate items that you love — heirlooms or pieces that have personal significance to you will automatically make the room interesting, plus it gives your home a story.

[Apartment Decorating with Personality]



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