Aesthetic room ideas – 11 beautiful, pared-back schemes

These aesthetic room ideas will inspire you to curate a space that delights, inspires and rejuvenates you

Aesthetic room ideas
(Image credit: Albion Nord / Mark Alexander / Mylands)

Aesthetic room ideas are perfect for admirers of relaxed, timeless style – and this look has become increasingly popular in recent years. 

With hectic modern lives, homeowners are constantly aiming to find a balance between elegant minimalism and cozy luxury for their homes. Those craving the aesthetic look are often after simple and sophisticated interior to create a soothing space that will calm the mind. And while some may regard pared-back spaces as boring, with their clever use of tones, textures and furnishings, these simple schemes prove that colorless and pared-down doesn't necessarily mean bland. 

If you want to create a home that relaxes, invigorates and calms all at once, our gallery of aesthetic room ideas is a good place to start. Follow our simple formulas to get your home ideas and decorating ideas spot on first time.

Aesthetic room ideas – 11 beautiful schemes to inspire

Aesthetic room ideas have evolved in recent years. While loud and decorative room ideas are still hugely popular, many of us want to hark back to simpler times, with calm and serene color palettes, cosseting textures and tactile materials.

Great interior design allows you to realize your home decor ideas, delivering when it comes to the practicalities, as well as aesthetically and in a way that caters to your tastes and desires. And the best designs have durability, too, both in terms of style but also because they will stand up to the day to day demands on a room.

When it comes to planning your aesthetic room; put neutral color at the forefront. Where grey and white were the go-to neutrals for a long time, in the post-pandemic world, experts have witnessed a shift to the use of more earthy, warm tones, also known as the 'new neutrals' as people seek to create sustainable and grounding interiors that celebrate the natural world.

'Natural colors are often the ones that we feel most comfortable with using in the home as they are reminiscent of the tranquillity of the outdoors. We’ve seen almost a decade of either grey or loud colors, so people are now beginning to look for those warmer tones, natural tones for a timeless interior,' says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene.

The beauty of neutrals is that they are extremely versatile and pair wonderfully with almost any other color, material or pattern, so they often make a beautiful base for a number of different interior looks. Limiting a scheme to a selection of muted complimentary tones will achieve a quiet and cohesive look. Here we explore the many nuances of aesthetic decorating.

1. Bring a comforting feel to a living room with warm neutrals

Contemporary beige living room

(Image credit: Styling Kiera Buckley-Jones, photograph Jake Curtis)

With their warm undertones, muted shades like cream, beige and taupe will keep spaces feeling light but will also bring a comforting, cocooning feel – perfect if you're looking for inviting living room paint ideas.

'Beige is a really versatile color that can match any other shade, and offers warmth and depth that grey and white tones just don't have,' says Emma Deterding, founder and creative director of Kelling Designs. 'In the evening light, it creates a calm and cosy aesthetic, whilst in the day it's still bright and airy without feeling cold and clinical.'

2. Layer neutral rooms with plenty of texture

Neutral living room with blue velvet sofa

(Image credit: Albion Nord)

Timeless and versatile, nature-inspired shades like grey, white, beige and cream make popular living room color ideas as they provide a neutral base for layering. However, when it comes to decorating with neutrals in a living room it's important to introduce plenty of texture to prevent the scheme feeling drab and lifeless says Camilla Clarke, creative director at Albion Nord.

'Consider texture to be as important as color and pattern. There is nothing worse than a flat design. Interiors are all about evoking the senses and therefore texture is a vital ingredient to every design to get our sight and touch senses going. Try mixing different textures such as natural linens with soft velvets or robust leathers with thick wools.’

In this beige living room, the woven wallpaper creates beautiful texture while the velvet sofas and a plush grey carpet bring warmth and softness.

3. Embrace rustic, natural fibres

living room decorated in neutral tones by Mark Alexander

(Image credit: Mark Alexander)

Introducing textiles in natural fibres like linen, wool and velvet is a brilliant way to bring depth and coziness to a neutral living room, especially if it's a large, open-plan living room like this one which can feel cold. 

'Timeless weaves that use the finest yarns can add a beautiful richness to a simple, neutral scheme,' says Mark Butcher, head of Mark Alexander. 'For drapes, the inherent beauty of pure linen adds a relaxed, lived-in appearance to a space. Sitting in pleasant contrast, accent linen velvet or wool cushions helps form a cohesive, characterful scheme. In addition, the rich textures and natural materials of handcrafted wallcoverings complement a neutral space effortlessly.'

4. Decorate with dark neutrals

Black living room with white sofa and natural materials

(Image credit: Project by Sean Anderson / photograph by Haris Kenjar)

When we think of neutral room ideas it's often light beige, cream and white schemes that come to mind, but the neutral palette does in fact span a huge spectrum right through to dark hues like black and charcoal. Opting for living room walls in a dark grey shade and furnishing in lighter tones and warm accents can make a beautiful twist on a classic neutral room idea as demonstrated in this space by Sean Anderson.

While dark grey room ideas and black room ideas can seem daunting, black and charcoal can make fantastic colors for a living room, helping to bring a cozy and cocooning feel. To make sure the look remains warm and cozy, add in plenty of rich, warm tones and rustic textures. 

Here, a woven living room rug in grey-beige brings essential softness while the rich chestnut and tan tones of the wooden furniture, wall lighting and cushion bring warmth. 

5. Pair off-white with marble for an elegant neutral kitchen

White kitchen with marble worktops

(Image credit: Mylands)

As the busiest room in the house it's important for the kitchen to feel bright and uplifting so it's no wonder light, neutral kitchen ideas and white kitchen ideas are enduringly popular. Decorating in white is often seen as a safe choice, however there are actually a huge array of whites to choose from, all with subtle tonal differences that can have an impact on the look and feel of your space, so choosing the right shade of white can be an important decision.

'South-facing rooms with plenty of light can take cooler whites with their undertones of blue or green, like Greenwich Time™ No. 8, but we recommend warmer whites for darker, north-facing rooms,' says Dominic Myland, director of Mylands. 'We always advise testing paint choices in situ first to see how they appear in different lights throughout the day.' 

'This kitchen is painted in Mylands Kensington Rose™  No. 22, a soft white with a hint of red ochre, and Holland Park™  No.5, a versatile off-white the colors work cohesively with the marble surfaces. The soft pink tone dictated the color scheme for the whole kitchen and introduces distinctive color without taking over the room,' says the team at Mylands.

6. Use neutral tones as a base for bright accents

beige living room with orange cushions and lampshade

(Image credit: Kelling Designs)

If you love decorating with art, colorful fabrics and collectibles then a light, neutral wall color such as white, cream, light grey or beige makes a perfect foundation for layering bold accent colors says Emma Deterding.

'Opting for a warm beige is a great color for a living room, not will it bring warmth great black canvas for introducing colorful accessories and artwork. When it comes to picking furniture and accessories, you should always pick pieces that you love and that are a true reflection of your own personality. With a beige blank canvas, there really are no rules in terms of how much color and pattern you add.'

7. Use grey for a smart, sophisticated living room

Grey living room with grey curtains and grey sofa with fabrics by James Hare

(Image credit: James Hare)

'Grey is an incredible color as it can stand out on its own and there are so many shades from strong and moody to pale and subtle,' says Saffron Hare, creative director of James Hare. 'Grey is also the perfect foil for a huge array of other shades and tones and is one of those colors that can be used successfully in contemporary and period spaces.'.

As grey sits on the cooler end of the neutral spectrum, decorating with grey can be a wonderful choice for sophisticated and smart schemes. In this grey living room, the combination of dark grey walls with sleek fitted seating and luxurious fabrics with a metallic sheen create a sophisticated and tailored look. 

8. Warm up neutral rooms with natural materials

neutral dining room with crittall wooden furniture and pendant lamps

(Image credit: Styling Katrin Cargill / photograph jan Baldwin)

Letting natural materials take center stage in an aesthetic room is a lovely way to bring texture and warmth to neutral rooms.

'The use of natural fibres, timbers and earthy hues create a sense of balance and understated luxury,' says Samantha Wilson, interior designer and founder at Collection Noir. 'It’s a look that can be easily achieved, whether you accessorise with woven baskets and planters, or play with natural textiles such as linen cushions, throws and tablecloths, and of course jute and flatweave rugs.'

In this neutral dining room, the selection of furniture in sculptural shapes and different woods creates structure and interest, while the jute rug and linen curtains add softness.

9. Create a calm yet cozy bedroom scheme with neutrals

Neutral guest bedroom with natural materials

(Image credit: Julia Dempster)

Neutral shades are enduringly popular bedroom color ideas, helping to create calming, comforting spaces conducive for sleep. Opting for warmer, earthy shades like stone and clay will bring a comforting and grounding feel. 

In this white bedroom Julia Dempster has layered chunky texture to bring a warm and cozy feel to the space. ‘I love using linen bedlinen against vintage pillows with a thick woven wool throw to dress the bed, a thick pile knotted rug adds to the contrasting texture against the rustic reclaimed wood stool which doubles as a bedside table,’ says the interior designer.

10. Use wall tiles to bring life to a bathroom

Shower with neutral geometric wall tiles by Bert & May

(Image credit: Bert & May x Kitesgrove)

To keep a bathroom feeling light and uplifting you can't go wrong with an understated palette, but it can leave the spaces feeling clinical and bland. 

Introducing patterned or textured bathroom wall tiles, whether behind a sink or in a shower enclosure, is a brilliant way to inject personality into neutral bathrooms. Featuring playful geometric shapes in warm plaster tones, these new encaustic tiles from Bert & May and Kitesgrove, available from September, will bring beautiful texture and a playful twist to a simple bathroom.

11. Create an element of surprise with bold wallpaper

Cloakroom with Curious Department wallpaper

(Image credit: The Curious Department)

A neutral palette is often associated with a laid-back, minimalist look, but this needn't always be the case as demonstrated in this head-turning cloakroom idea.

Featuring a bold, abstract design in an array neutral shades, this bold wallpaper idea from The Curious Department is beautifully balanced by paneling in a light beige, while the metallic finishes of the wall lighting and mirror add to the wow-factor and glamor. 

How do you style an aesthetic room?

To style an aesthetic room think about introducing surfaces, furnishings and accessories in natural materials, as these will help bring depth, dimension and definition. 

'If you have beige, grey or neutral walls and flooring, which most people do tend to have, then bringing furniture pieces in natural woods, linens and stone will add a tactile edge to space whilst connecting you back to nature,' says Amanda Huber, owner of Dining Chair Co.

When it comes to furnishing aesthetic rooms think about sculptural shapes; these shapely designs will create focal points in place of bold colors. 'In terms of furniture shapes; opt for organic silhouettes such as curved designs. The softer lines help to create a less strict, informal and cozy setting that makes you feel safe and cocooned,' adds Huber.

Pippa Blenkinsop

Pippa is a contributor to Homes & Gardens. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.