Interior Design

Kelly Wearstler shares how she uses neutrals in interior design

Renowned designer Kelly Wearstler shares how to design with neutrals – for timeless but dramatic schemes

Living room in Kelly Wearstler house
(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler/The Ingalls)

Famed for her dramatic contemporary schemes – often designed with splashes of bold color – and, of course, her collaboration with Farrow & Ball, LA-based interior designer Kelly Wearstler is also a great lover of neutral interiors. 

'A fully neutral room can still be inspiring and have depth,' she says, talking exclusively to H&G. Below, Kelly reveals how she uses neutrals in her interior design projects. So, if you are looking for neutral room ideas – or simply advice on decorating with neutrals, taking these expert tips on board will ensure a professional level of success.

1. Consider texture first

Living room by interior designer Kelly Wearstler

(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

Whether you are looking for neutral living room ideas or for inspiration in transitional spaces, 'It’s really important that you consider the texture, whether it’s a pattern, such as a jacquard weave in a fabric, or through mixing textures, like a matte wall but a high gloss paint on the ceiling,' says Kelly Wearstler.

'These elements help to create interest that will make the monochromatic neutral room sing.'

2. Add a splash of energy for impact

Dining room in Kelly Wearstler house

(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

'If someone wants a room that's very calming, I would say stay completely in the neutral world with a more monochromatic look,' says Kelly. 

'However, if you want a splash of energy, then add in one incredible piece of art, or a colorful rug to create some interest and personality.'

3. Ensure lighting is just right

Pink/red dining room by interior designer Kelly Wearstler

(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

'Lighting is really important for choosing your neutrals,' advises Kelly Wearstler.

'If a space gets a lot of natural light, I tend to go with lighter neutral shades, and enjoy the beautiful shadowing that will come in throughout the day, creating another layer of texture. 

'In rooms with limited natural light, it’s naturally more moody, so darker neutrals can be really effective.'

4. Bring neutrals into the bathroom

Black bathroom with patterned floor and plants

(Image credit: Future/Colin Poole)

'Many rooms suit the neutral look, but as neutrals are so relaxing, I especially love a monochromatically neutral design for a master bathroom. It will feel very fresh, clean and balanced,' advises Kelly.

5. Know where to shop for neutrals

Living room in Kelly Wearstler house

(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler/The Ingalls)

Below, Kelly shares her sources:

Thea Babington-Stitt
Content Editor

Thea Babington-Stitt is a Content Editor at Future. She has been an interiors journalist for nearly 10 years and has held positions at LivingEtc, Country Homes & Interiors and Homes & Gardens. Currently, she is writing for Ideal Home and Style At Home's websites and magazines.