Reese Witherspoon's calm living room features the reliable 'quiet luxury' color palette that will dominate trends in 2024

Take inspiration from nature's seasonal spectrum of earthy tones to create warm and welcoming living spaces

Reese Witherspoon
(Image credit: Getty Images / Eric Charbonneau / Contributor)

Choosing the right color for a calm living room is a vital part of our decorating journey. However, more often than not, many of us just reach for the white paint without much thought. But color can have a significant impact on our well-being and mental state of mind, and now more than ever, homeowners are turning towards quieter color palettes – ones derived from nature – to create a sense of peace and tranquility.

American actress Reese Witherspoon has taken a leaf from new-age minimalism and put the focus on colors that calm and soothe the soul in her neutral living room. This soft neutral color palette – we love it for its quiet beauty and versatility, and it will suit just about any space, too. 

‘Not to be confused with cold and bland palettes, quiet luxury colors, also known as new neutrals, are warm by nature,’ says Charu Gandhi, founder and director of Elicyon. ‘Typically matt in finish, they can flex, and so they can suit any type of home, be it traditional or contemporary – in fact, their elasticity is the reason we’re calling them “new”.’ 

White is, of course, one of the most versatile shades in all of design, but it is not the only choice if you wish to evoke a sense of calm. Decorating with beige, sand, sage and taupe, similar to Reese Witherspoon's living space, will create the same stillness. 

There's plenty of debate on how to define 'new neutral' colors. We tend to think of them as tones such as white, beige, gray, ivory, and khaki that don't appear on the color wheel. In general, neutrals are calming and easy to use – they work with almost every other color, but it's important to consider how pigments are affected by light. 'The light in a room is key to deciding whether to choose warm or cool tones,' says Ruth Mottershead of Little Green. There is a difference between warm neutrals (with green or yellow undertone), which work well in north-facing rooms as they bounce light around, and cool ones (with a bit of pink, violet or blue). Here, Reese Witherpoon's choice of cool neutrals works well in her light-filled space. 

When decorating with neutrals, another thing to note is the significance of using texture in interior design. Mix warm metallics such as brass or bronze and neutral wood with linen, velvet, leather and chunky knits as a finishing touch.

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.