Read on to see how designer Lauren Christine Henno managed to give her pint-sized home tons of personality and character using nothing but neutrals! We’re definitely planning to bookmark the simple-yet-significant suggestions that Lauren lays out below for our own room tweaks this season. Would you give neutrals a try in your own space?
As I designed my 230-square-foot bungalow, I wanted to create a bright space full of natural light, organic wood floors, with bright whites and neutral tones. Often, neutrals are seen as the safe and boring option, but that is absolutely not the case! Playing with textures, lighting and the smallest points of detail can result in a space radiating with life—even in a neutral palette. When working with clean, natural colors, it’s important to play up other design aspects in order to add unexpected visual interest.
The use of different design materials is one way to liven up a neutral space. Using different types of fabric, glass, metal and wood grains can add an exciting earthy vibe. In my own bungalow, the bed was a focal point. The all-white linen bedspread, silk pillow (which was made from a scarf that came from Thailand), wool tassels from Iceland and a fur throw create a beautiful layered look. This aesthetic can also be created on the floor by layering rugs. I love how the natural wood floor peeks out from under the thick woven mat and hide rug.
The marble bedside table and high-gloss desk are pieces that sport clean, neutral tones. Plus, they aren’t boring in the slightest! I used clear lucite for my desk chair and as a planter box. The clear smooth surface contrasts with the soft linens and fur around the room. This adds an eclectic feeling to the space.
I chose to add even more visual interest to my neutral palette by bringing in reflective surfaces. The bedside lighting, giant repurposed mirror and even the small elephant all reflect the brightness and size of the room while also adding some shine.
Often, neutrals are seen as the safe and boring option, but that is absolutely not the case! Playing with textures, lighting and the smallest points of detail can result in a space radiating with life—even in a neutral palette.
To complement the neutral look of my bedroom, I sought out other one-of-a-kind pieces. My dresser was a piece I completely redesigned after purchasing it from a consignment store. I stripped it of the original blue paint. Then I stained it an earthy wood tone to blend in with the rest of the neutrally-based room.
Thrifting furniture or refurbishing an old piece can add a personalized touch to any space. The chandelier by the desk is another super unique and amazing thrifting find! It added to the boho-eclectic feel I love, while still playing up a natural clean look with its hanging shells.
I always feel that personalizing a space and making it feel like yours can change everything. Especially with a neutral palette, warming up a space with specific items that mean something special—like framed photos and travel mementos—can add so much character. I love unique finds, so it was important for me to showcase them! I sourced woven baskets from Africa, painted my own art piece for above my desk and filled the room with my favorite books. This added personality to the overall design.
Natural greenery is another way to add interest to a clean, neutral look. Small houseplants, unique planter boxes and even natural textures like sand can add so much visual interest to a room. Bring the outdoors in through plants and ample natural light. They can brighten and really elevate a natural color palette. So, take my advice and don’t shy away from neutrals! This season, try embracing the clean, bright aesthetic these colors and textures offer and make them your own.