Neutrals: The Perfect Canvas


If you follow me on Instagram (@kelleynan), it’s no secret that I am a lover of neutrals. But, I wasn’t always such a big advocate of covering my home in whites and grays. As a matter of fact, in our last home, my dominant colors were red and burnt orange. You don’t even have to see pictures to know that my old color scheme is a stark contrast to what I have in my home today.

You see, I become really attached to all of my “things” so I have always lived in a constant challenge of using old décor to bring new life to spaces. When I was in college, I themed my bedroom in red and black. When I moved into my first apartment, I incorporated gold and burnt orange to the décor I already had. When I bought my first home, I didn’t want to start over, so I kept building my collection of vibrant colors, painting red stripes on the walls… well, you get the point. When we built our new home earlier this year, I decided I was finished with red, at least for now. As a matter of fact, I decided that from this point forward, my walls, furniture, and large pieces would be in colors that compliment any new colors I introduced so I wouldn’t be caught up in 10 years of all red EVERYTHING ever again.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say “it needs a ‘pop’ of color”, or “what are you going to use as your accent color?” The truth is, I don’t think you have to have a “pop” or accent of anything. I love the airiness of a white room. I do try to maintain different textures and subtle pattern, but I never feel my home is “boring” because it isn’t packed full with punches of color. Because I like change, I do incorporate subtle switch-ups, and with a neutral base, it has made “color mood swings” so simple and affordable.

Since this spring, I have already been able to use ice blues as accents in the warmer months, and navy and dark gray in the fall. Instead of switching out my entire furniture and décor collection, I can simply switch out a few pillows and textiles. Some colors such as navy and soft pink can even be considered “neutral”, cooling or warming a space without throwing in a contrasting color. Metallics can enhance a neutral space in the same way.

However, my favorite way to introduce color by far is through fresh flowers. I try to pick up a fresh batch and split them among different arrangements each Friday. By sticking to this tradition, I can give my rooms an instant mini-makeover each week. A beautiful advantage to keeping my décor base neutral, is that when I do incorporate something different, it really stands out as a pop of color.

I have included a few photos to serve as an example of how a simple floral arrangement can transform the look of a room. Here is our guest room with white hydrangeas…

… and here it is with a few sweet lavender roses.

In the master bedroom, I have a lot of fun switching up pillows in addition to the different florals. Even in keeping with neutral tones, the different patterns, textures, and pillow arrangements can make a huge difference.

Whether you are a fan of vibrant, exciting spaces or prefer your home in calming tones, sticking to a neutral color palette in your primary décor can create endless possibilities.

You can see more of Kelley Nan’s home at or by following her on Instagram @kelleynan.

Kelley Nan

Kelley Nan





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