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soft blue armchair in living room with grey sectional sofa from globewest

5 Best Accent Colours to take a Neutral Space Next-Level

Just like my diet, my love for colour in the home can best be described as yoyo-ing. I go in and out of my adoration for it, and I think I’ve ended up sitting on the fence with a foot in both camps.

I enjoy the striking yet subdued nature of a black, white and grey palette. But still find myself yearning for colourful accents that give the room life and save it from the all-stops train to Snoresville.

If you’re in a similar boat, this post has you covered. Below I’ve put together some ideas for you that’ll give the rooms in your home a little tone and shade, but without totally scaring you off colour for life.

So let’s get colour confident!

tan leather sofa in living room with round marble coffee table
This scene from Globewest is a stunner, don’t you think?

1. Tans

This is such a great colour because it doesn’t feel bright or dominant. It actually brings a sense of earthiness with it and can help ground a space. Tan leathers are a nice option to bring some masculinity to the room, while tan tones in a hide rug can have an equally impressive effect in a living room or bedroom. This colour works wonderfully in bohemian, industrial and global interior design schemes.

tan leather headboard in bohemiam bedroom with macrame wall hanging
A subdued bedhead from Heatherley Designs works well here.

2. Nudes

Nude is a colour that takes a little pink, a little white, and a little cream – and blends! It’s such a subtle shade but brings with it some visual interest. It’s great in a white room that’s feeling flat, especially if you bring it in through something like velvet cushions; it’ll evoke instant warmth. Nude tones also play particularly well with dusty greys and blues, so you can introduce a little of that too and enjoy the softness and femininity this trio creates.

ocean art from urban road in white and navy blue bedroom
Dare to go darker and bring in some art from Urban Road.

3. Inky Blues

If your neutral room is feeling a little warm with colours like beige and cream dominating, introduce a petrol blue to cool the look down a little. This tone has a sense of depth and sophistication to it and sits nicely against a warmer backdrop or a crisp white one. Something as simple as pillows on a bed are a great way to bring in blues without it feeling too overwhelming. And it’s a great tone for a coastal or bohemian aesthetic.

soft blue armchair in living room with grey sectional sofa from globewest
A dusty blue armchair from Globewest elevates this space perfectly.

4. Sky Blues

If dark blues aren’t your thing and you want to keep that sense of light and airiness in your room, consider sky blues. These ultra-light blues are at home in a contemporary setting, especially if you have high ceilings and a lot of natural light. They certainly won’t dominate the room but bring just enough colour to make things interesting. As you can see above, light blues feel very at home with grey shades, so don’t be afraid to experiment with them.

all white room with olive green accents from sheridan
Beautiful olive green accents here from Sheridan

5. Muddy Greens

The last but certainly not least of the tones you can use to elevate a neutral room is muddy greens. Think olive greens and lighter. They’re deep in appearance and they play well in a space that already contains soft greys and whites. Something as simple as matte pottery in these green tones would work well, or pop some cushions on your sofa in these shades. If you want to ease into green, bring in olive branches in glass vases.

Are you toying with the idea of adding some accent colours to your space? I’d love to know what your best accent colours are in the comments below.

Hero image in this post comes courtesy of Sheridan.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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4 Responses

  1. I am wondering what you would call the style of the muddy greens look? I have decorated my daughter’s room with this exact style (white ship lap, black rod iron fixtures, green plants, dark grey upholstered bed, and pink accents.) It looks BEAUTIFUL but when someone asks me what style it would be classified as she they can explore, I’m not quite sure what to tell them. 🙂 Your insight would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hi Tisha,

      It’s a bit of a mix of styles. I call it “brohemian” as it’s a bit of a masculine twist on boho elements. But depending on what else you add to it, you can make it more lux, more industrial, etc.

      So, there’s no one direction to point people in to copy.

  2. Love this post! I too tend to stay within the comforts of neutral colours as I like my place to be quite calming though I also like to try my hand at a pop of colour to lift the space! Dark blue and teal are two of my favourites, I am even partial to a little coral pink as well. I never thought to incorporate the muddy greens but I love them – will definitely see how I can introduce some of that into my place 🙂

    1. I am so obsessed with muddy greens at the moment Alicia. I want to add them into every room at home. And yes to the coral. Against a crisp white backdrop it is wonderfully coastal.

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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