If you thought small neutral bedroom ideas were off the cards, it's time to step into your magnolia era because these little spaces surprisingly make the perfect canvas for lots of different color schemes, neutral ones included.
From white walls and beige-painted furniture enhancing your space in all the right ways, to texture and earthy tones making your small neutral bedroom design pop, our design and color experts have you covered.
So if you are looking for small bedroom ideas that are cute and neutral, our experts have you covered.
Small neutral bedroom ideas
"Creating a serene atmosphere in a small space can be achieved by following a few design principles," interior designer Kimberly Harrison shares with Real Homes. "Opting for a soft neutral color palette is a great starting point, as it can create a calming and cohesive feel."
Here are seven cozy looks, curated by our experts, to help inspire your neutral era.
Principal interior designer Kimberley Harrison is known for designing homes that are warm and approachable, sophisticated and functional. Her interiors are artfully layered spaces infused with a refined, eclectic beauty rooted in timelessness.
1. Let texture and subtle contrast give personality
While small bedroom spaces filled with color bring the fun, a neutral sleep space needs to work harder to shine. Pick up textures and lean into 'subtle contrasts', says Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight.
"Layering various textures adds visual interest without overwhelming the space," says Harrison. "Combining a light-colored wood nightstand with a faux shagreen dresser, for example, can provide a pleasing contrast while keeping the colors within the same family."
Using texture can also bring personality to the room, without making it too loud. Whether you subtly introduce complementing neutral hues with a cute rug, or be a little rebellious with a brighter pop of color, small accents against a bigger backdrop of neutrals can enhance a small neutral space pretty effortlessly.
"Blandness will result if you always avoid textures and subtle contrasts," warns Kropovinsky.
Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and founder of Arsight, an award-winning interior design studio based in New York. He has a decade of extensive global, residential, and commercial interior design experience.
Price: $79.99 for two
2. Add warmth with earthy tones and hints of nature
Alongside adding texture to a neutral small bedroom space, a touch of beige home decor and a little of the outdoors will not go amiss. House plants will soften the finish and help achieve a space that is far from clinical or boring.
If you want to focus on the walls, James Greenwood of Graham & Brown tells us how drenching the space is the perfect way to create a serene ambiance.
"Warming neutrals are the perfect hues to introduce into spaces to evoke relaxation. These colors don’t overstimulate the eye and encourage serenity. For smaller rooms, take the neutral up onto the ceiling, blurring the sharp corner lines of where the wall meets the ceiling. Choose neutrals with yellow and brown undertones such as Taupe Twist, London Bridge, or Mink Lashes to warm the room."
3. Tap into classic shades of gray
Even though we've previously quizzed interior color specialists on whether gray was going out of style, there is still a lot of fun to be had when decorating with gray walls or cool small space furniture pieces.
Helen Shaw, Director of Benjamin Moore previously shared with Hebe Hatton, the current editor of our sister brand Homes & Gardens in a piece on gray bedroom ideas, how gray is one of the most adaptable neutrals there is. Shaw said, "Gray harmonizes well with almost every other hue."
This is clear as we can see in the bedroom above, designed by Kimberly Harrison Interiors where lighter walls are punctuated with deep shades of gray for a cozy and inviting finish. We also like the ochre color addition as a rich neutral to tie it all together.
4. Accent a light color-drenched space with sculptural features
Ivory and taupe bedding lifts soft beige walls. In a mostly all-white or lighter-colored small bedroom scheme, another way to add visual interest and a sense of space is to lean into interesting elements. Be it artwork or a sculptural table lamp, like the one we can see on the small side table above.
"Natural additions like the wooden table and woven rug are utilized to add warmth," Kropovinsky tells us of the space created. "This layered lighting creates a comforting environment."
5. Define walls with crisp trim
To further the look, add definition to a room with lofty color appeal by keeping trims super crisp. "A small bedroom is the perfect place for a neutral color scheme," says Nicole Cullum. "Neutral colors have a wonderful way of tricking the eye into making a small space feel larger, while also adding a timeless, and cozy feel."
"Start by painting the walls a light linen color that has a slight warmth to it, while keeping your trim and ceiling a crisp white. Benjamin Moore’s ‘White Down OC-131’ or ‘French Canvas OC-41’ are beautiful, balanced tonal colors that give a hint of color without dominating the space," says Cullum.
Nicole Cullum is an interior designer in Taos, New Mexico, and Founder of Color Caravan, a charming hand-painted line of wallpaper, textiles, bedding, and home decor.
6. Add dimension with pattern
Much like texture will add interest, a soft pattern will make a neutral pop. Jess of Sunday Harris shows us how gingham taupe and cream sheets will make a small neutral bedroom space beyond toasty and inviting.
Don't let the bed sheets be your limit though. If you're feeling a little, pretty, renter and budget-friendly DIY project coming on, you get the green light from Callum: "You can also add a peel-and-stick wallpaper with a soft pattern detail to add an extra layer of dimension."
Make sure you are tapping into all the soft furnishings for a cohesive finish, too. "Complement the wall color with an ivory, or organic cotton coverlet and a micro-patterned sheet set in a tonal design. Finish the look with a creamy white plush faux shearling rug for a soft and luxurious texture when you step out of bed."
7. Use metallic elements for layers of interest
A gilded accent here and there makes every space pop and neutrals will love the addition of a brass tone via a lamp or even fixings on a nightstand. Plus, in a neutral room with minimal square footage, it's important to maximize storage options, so make sure they add a warm aesthetic and hide away clutter in your small bedroom.
"Choosing small furniture pieces with ample storage, such as a nightstand with three drawers instead of just one with open shelving, can help reduce visual clutter and keep the space organized," adds Harrison.
Make sure there are lots of comforting features like woven shades and cozy throws when choosing reflective or more sculptural elements in a small neutral bedroom. "Remember to maintain a balance between functionality and aesthetics to create a serene and inviting atmosphere in your small space."
What counts as neutral in a small bedroom?
People often ask whether gray is a color, and if we can class cream as one too. "The best way to describe neutral colors is as colors that don’t appear on the color wheel," says Greenwood.
However, this does not mean they do not contain color. Gray for example, although achromatic (which means 'without color') is made up of other colors. This can define whether it's a warmer or cooler shade of gray.
What are the best neutral shades to use in a small bedroom right now?
We seem to have gone from stark whites to darker neutrals over the years. Now we are leaning more towards a warmer neutral era: "Back in the 90’s magnolia was the neutral tone of the decade, then we moved from clinical white over into grey tones neutrals," says Greenwood.
"Taupes, beiges, and greiges are en vogue as humans seek warmth and reassurance in turbulent times. The main aim of a neutral is to complement its primary counterpart, meaning they can be very complex in tone. So it’s always important to sample these colors in your space. Neutrals such as Honey Pot and Ginger Lilly have a yellow undertone that’s warming, or for those in warmer climates, you might opt for Moon Cottage & Glass Heart with a cooling blue pigment."
What colors complement neutrals in a small bedroom?
If you want to balance a neutral sleeping space with more colorful small bedroom ideas, Greenwood recommends some nice color pairings: "The magical properties of neutral paints mean they can pair with a plethora of colors and designs; bold navy blue designs such as Boreas Midnight or a seductive floral design such as Allure will work in harmony. Looking at current trends tonal use of color is huge in interiors at present, especially for that high-end boutique hotel look. Take a look at Stich Craze Taupe for a fun geometric or Reecho Neutral for a four-wall look.
What should you not do when designing a small neutral bedroom?
Though accenting a monochromatic scheme with a deeper shade of the neutral you are using could look beautiful, you need to approach mixing tones with caution in a small bedroom space.
"A big don’t when designing a neutral bedroom is to mix warm and cool neutral tones. Stick with either a warm taupe palette or a cool gray palette throughout the bedroom. These colors can clash if not used properly and in moderation within a small space," advises Cullum.
In a small neutral bedroom, it is important to add intrigue to the space, in a way that will not feel tiring to the eye — especially one that wants sleep. Incorporate texture, tones, and more via woven rugs, crocheted throws, sateen bedding, and cool artwork for a result you will feel proud of.