Neutral Wall Art Decorating Tips

Turning a house into a home isn’t always about picking out the china and deciding what color to paint the cabinets. Artwork is an essential aspect of decorating that can be the foundation or the finishing touch when designing an interior space.

Intense color doesn’t always work for everyone, which is where neutral wall art comes in. 

An illustration of three pieces of art using neutral colors.

What Kind of Art Is Considered Neutral?

The term “neutral” typically refers to the array of colors used in a work of art. There are two types of neutral colors: pure neutrals and near-neutrals.

Pure neutrals include black, white, gray, and brown. Near-neutrals can come in almost any other color—red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, and pink—but with very low saturation.

Neutral art uses an array of desaturated colors to create something that is visually appealing.

Why Use Neutral Art in Decorating?

Neutral works of art have a few advantages over their brightly colored counterparts.

They’re Timeless

While some color trends come and go, neutrals will always be in style. You may change your mind on a green couch, but you can probably bet you’ll still like an earth-toned painting in ten or twenty years.

Longevity is especially important if you’re investing in an original piece. Neutral art can move with you from place to place or stay put for years on end without becoming outdated.

They’re Easy to Decorate (And Redecorate) With

You can use neutral art to bring balance to otherwise over-the-top, saturated rooms or create harmony in already neutral living, dining, and transitional spaces. Because they’re so neutral, they go with almost anything. 

With such an agreeable palette, a neutral piece of art may be able to find a suitable home in multiple rooms. When you’re ready to switch things up, the right piece may even be able to blend in with the new decor.

They’re Easy on the Eyes and the Mind

Neutral colors are easy for the eyes to process and, according to the psychology of colors, instill a sense of serenity and peace in the viewer. Adding neutral art around your home or office can create a calming atmosphere.

A family hanging a piece of neutral artwork in their living room.

5 Tips for Decorating With Neutral Wall Art:

1. Choose the Size Carefully

One of the easiest mistakes to make (and many people do!) when decorating with wall art is choosing the wrong size for your space. The best thing you can do to prevent this is to measure the spot you’d like to fill before selecting an original work or deciding on a specific size for a print.

Selecting a piece that appropriately fills out the desired area can make a huge difference in the overall look of a room. 

Oversized pieces often look great as long as they’re not butted up against the edge of the wall or another work of art. Small pieces can look incredibly out of place on large walls unless they’re grouped together in multiples or arranged on a gallery wall. Keep this in mind when deciding how to use your art.

2. Create a Gallery Wall

While we’re on the subject, a gallery wall is a great way to incorporate neutral art into almost any space! You can mix up the palette and add pieces with more color or stick to the all-neutral theme if it makes more sense with your decor. The specific layout is up to you and may differ depending on the shape and size of the space you’re trying to fill.

There are two major types of gallery walls: grids and eclectic walls. In grid-style gallery walls, the pieces are all the same size and are perfectly lined up in rows and columns. In more eclectic galleries, works of art can be of different sizes and shapes, and the arrangement is more organic.

3. Stay On-Theme

A foolproof way to ensure your neutral wall art looks cohesive with the rest of your decor is to stick with specific colors or themes of the room. 

If your decor is mostly nature-inspired, select neutral art with nature motifs like these stacked rocks or stems. Do you tend to display a lot of portraits? Try adding a piece with a human subject and a muted palette.

4. Incorporate Unexpected Elements

You can really create a lot of visual interest in sparsely furnished areas by displaying art with unexpected elements, even in a neutral palette. Stray from your usual choices and go for a bold option to keep viewers guessing.

5. Create Contrast

Neutral doesn’t necessarily mean all beige and brown. Black and white art is often considered neutral, too! Adding black and white artwork to a spot with a high-intensity color scheme can create contrast in a beautiful way that just works.

Start Decorating!

Ready to dive into redesigning your space or making things feel a bit more homey with some neutral art on the walls? The first step is to take stock of what you already have and what you need.

Measure your space and take photos of the room you’re working with to aid in visualization while you’re art shopping. Start selecting pieces that fit your criteria: you enjoy looking at it, it works well in your space, and you can envision it harmonizing with your other decor choices.

Luckily, in this modern age, you aren’t restricted to making gallery appointments to select your favorite works. Shop online for high-quality, unique art and prints for your neutral wall adventures, and start accessorizing your home ASAP.

November 09, 2022 — Ishita Banerjee