The Best Neutral Color Scheme – How To Get it Right

Hi Everyone,

I’m so glad you enjoyed Sunday’s post about Liz’s lovely home in Florida.

And, guess what? She read the post and wrote me back with a few more photos. Her home is very lovely.

However, get this. She USED to have a lot of red and gold but wants to keep things neutral now.


But, what does “neutral” mean?


Well, today, we are going to go over what I think makes for the best neutral color scheme. However, this one is really two posts in one. And, what the hell. It’s summer.  But, I have done some judicious editing and will save that one for Sunday.


Hold on; I see that Sue has a question.


Laurel, a couple of weeks ago, you shared some of your Dream Home plans with us. Are you going to continue with that?


Actually, I am. But, I’m still recuperating from last week’s Historic Deerfield post. I imagine that some of you are too! haha.

However, I’m glad you brought that up, Sue. And, that’s because I’ve been thinking about my dream home, a lot. And, the direction my life might be going in the future.


As I imagine a lot of us have been doing during this time of the great pandemic, I’ve been exceptionally introspective.


Since mid-May, when I arrived in Massachusetts, I’ve been thinking a lot about houses and where I’d like to live. However, this is to be continued…


We need to stay focused on the topic of my favorite neutral color scheme. Ack. I’ve been on prednisone for 10 days. (but am now tapering off, thank God!) I am sure it’s contributing to even more than the usual rambling, lol, I frequently subject you guys too. Please forgive me.


The Best Neutral Color Scheme.


Frankly, I would just spend my time looking at Gerald Bland’s and Steve Cordony’s Instagram accounts. And, Steve has a gorgeous website too. (I will be linking to those later because Steve is the star of the show today.)

For some of my favorite Gerald Bland images and why you should look at his work. Please go here. (the first three posts on the page probably have the most images)

However, that’s really all you need to do.

Good night.


Now, I’m going to have dinner with my son and watch TV.


No, not really. Well, we are having dinner and will watch a little TV.

However, you guys know that I wouldn’t just say, “go look at somebody’s rooms, goodnight.”

I’ve given this a lot of thought and over-all, if someone said to me, “Laurel, you have to pick just ONE color scheme, what would it be?”

And, I would say without skipping a beat, it would be a neutral color scheme.


But, again, what IS a neutral color scheme?


Here is my definition. Or, maybe it’s really more of a manifesto about what goes into a neutral color scheme.

A neutral color scheme devoid of saturated colors such as red, orange, blue, purple, yellow, and toxic-waste shades of green. A neutral color scheme is tied into the earth. It can be light and bright and dark and dark as night.


For me, at the heart of a great neutral color scheme is the color WHITE.

I’ve written much on the topic, everything from ceiling to floor, furniture, fabrics. White is my favorite color.

Yes, color.

However, when we are talking about a neutral color scheme, we are working with an entire home, not just one room. Some of the spaces might not have any white. Or, at least, very little white. In fact, some small spaces might be quite dark.


The next necessary color in a neutral color scheme is black.


After black, is brown.

And, then, every earthly shade of green there is. It’s like the Historic Deerfield post; all shades of green from the deepest forest to an olive-y-chartreuse veering on gold.

And, then in small concentrations are more of the earth tones. These range from a quiet celadon (pale, muted aqua), to olive greens, tan, cream. And, dark grays that lean towards green, brown and teal. It’s like a forest.

It’s the colors of the earth, the trees, grass, sky, water. That is the best neutral color scheme, in my opinion. It’s already been done for us.


Plus, in our interiors, a great neutral color scheme has small amounts of gold and/or brass.


Metals are usually also in black. And, of course, there can be bronze, silver, and nickel, as well.

But, these are for neutral rooms on land where there ARE trees and grass, shrubs, etc.

If your neutral room is by the ocean, it will have paler colors, most likely that mimic the color of the sea. But, for now, let’s stick to the land.


Laurel, aren’t you going to show us your dream home in Stockbridge?


You know, I was, but it needs to wait now, until Sunday. Otherwise, I will not sleep, and you’re going to be cross with me.


We need to stay the course with our neutral color scheme.


However, Laurel’s dream home IS going to be in this color scheme.

What’s interesting, is that my last home was also in this neutral color scheme.

I never got tired of it. Assuredly, I would’ve decorated the new place in the same colors. But, I decided to do something else, as the walls were already yellow.

In fact, the inspiration for my old home, I’ve mentioned before, was from Victoria Hagan’s incredible place in the Hamptons. That’s the New York Hamptons. haha.


Victoria Hagan - White linen gauze curtains - Neutral color scheme


Folks, can you tell when this place was decorated?


Well, I can’t. Therefore, I’m presuming you can’t either. There is nothing here that does not stand the test of time.

Would you like to take a guess?


This home was decorated over 25 years ago.


I’ll let you chew on that, for a sec.

I first saw this lovely back in 1995. There was the most gorgeous spread in Metropolitan Home. I stared at those images for HOURS. I was so captivated by the Henry Calvin linen cause draped over its lining, that I did the same treatment for at least a dozen clients. And, I used the same fabric as linen sheer Roman Shades in our townhouse in northern Westchester County.


It was about that time I became obsessed with small amounts of this color.


benjamin moore oregano 2147-10


And, variations of it.


And, now, to illustrate and inspire, I’m going to share some of the most gorgeous images of Steve Cordony’s incredible Australian Home known as Rosedale Farm.


Steve Cardony - gorgeous Rosedale Farm, Orange, New South Wales, Australia

However, it didn’t always look like this. Nosiree.


Rosedale Farm before Steve Cardony and Michael Booth put their genius hands all over it.

Here’s what the Rosedale Farm looked like a few years ago, before Steve and his partner, Michael Booth, got their genius hands all over it.


Steve Cardony - Rosedale Farm - front door

And, here’s just a little hint of what it looks like now. I will be linking to more later on. Like another power duo in England, Ben Pentreath (interiors) and Charlie McCormick (exteriors), Steve does the interiors and Michael the exteriors.

This image is about 2 years old.


So, who is Steve Cordony?


He is a young and exceptionally talented interior designer. But he earns his living as one of the foremost stylists on the planet. And, he is known for having Styled Ralph Lauren’s Flagship showroom, which you can see here.


Now, it’s time to go inside the house.


As you can imagine, the inside before matched the outside.

Not only did Steve paint all of the walls white, but he also added the appropriate dentil and other crown mouldings. As well as other applied mouldings.

I’ll bring you in gently.


Rosedale Farm living room - empty - gold framed mirrors - white walls - dark brown stain window casing
Like my dream home in Stockbridge, MA, which you have yet to see, this incredible beauty is filled with fireplace mantels. Above is the double-sided parlor. All that’s been added are those incredible mirrors and sconces.

And, coming up soon, is my collection of furnishings in a big, beautiful widget.


While we go through the rooms, I am going to select some of the corresponding Laurel Home Collection paint colors to come up with a palette of colors.


Please note, that my paint collection was created in 2015-2016. I had not heard of Steve back then.


Rosedale Farm - perfect neutral color scheme - white walls
And, there she is.

Now, here’s the thing. The furniture except for the sofas and center gateleg table and lamps are like a revolving door of change.


One of the things I love most about Steve’s decorating is his fantastic knack for editing. AKA: RESTRAINT.


However, you know, and I know that in Rosedale Farm, we have an architectural gem with I’m guessing 12′ ceilings, huge windows, fireplaces, mouldings.

This is the Paulina Porizkova of living rooms. Oops, sorry. Parlors.

Ummm… Did I say where Rosedale Farm is? I do see that I casually mentioned it earlier. But, yes. It’s in Orange, New South Wales– Australia.


Below are a few more shots of the living room with the perfect neutral color scheme.


I will also begin to interject the corresponding colors. The colors in the paint collection can serve as wall colors. Or, they could be the color in the curtains or a pillow. Or, maybe there’s a small box. That sort of thing. Just because they are paint colors doesn’t mean that they are all going on the wall or on a piece of furniture.


Okay, let’s begin our neutral paint colors, and of course, we’ll start with the white walls.


benjamin moore herb garden 434

Herb Garden (like all of the beautiful leaves Steve uses)





However, this does appear to be a beautiful crisp shade of white. It is unlikely to be Benjamin Moore. I don’t have the foggiest. Plus, Steve is in AUSTRALIA. Think the light isn’t different there? Of course, it is. After, all they’re standing upside down. ;] Yeesh!


Benjamin Moore chantilly Lace

Chantilly Lace


However, if I were going to pick my favorite, crisp white, it would be Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace.

benjamin moore decorators-white

Decorator’s White

This color is reminding me of the gorgeous, almost celadon shade vase on the end table.


Benjamin Moore Black 2132-10

As needed, black is used in small amounts throughout the room.



I bet you want to know what the print is on the pillows. Right? Some of you, I’m sure, could blurt it right out. I, too, recognized it instantly. And, I knew it was from Schumacher and I knew that I would remember the name, the second I saw it.


So, I jaunted over the Schumacher website.


And, blimey, I couldn’t find it. It’s there, but my search terms didn’t pull it up.


However, I did a search using a tiny image of the fabric. And yes, I found it that way.

That’s the Laurel-method for finding anything on the internet. It’s outlined in the back of Laurel’s Rolodex as a bonus chapter.

benjamin moore copely gray HC-104

Copely Gray hc-104


schumacher coconut grove aqua-tan colorwaySchumacher Coconut Grove in the aqua-tan colorway. You can get it here.



Farrow & Ball Cromarty


Quiet Moments


benjamin moore carter gray cw 80

Carter Gray



Benjamin Moore rolling hills 1497

Rolling Hills


Steve’s styling is so deceptively simple. But, I think it comes from having the right ingredients and the right eye. It’s a skill worth developing, for sure!


benjamin moore brown horse 2108 30

Brown Horse


Yes, that’s a Louis Vuitton vintage steamer trunk. And, guess where I found about a dozen of them? On Etsy! Isn’t that nuts? You’ll find one of them in the widget, below, as well. They are not inexpensive.


benjamin moore timson green cw 470

Timson Green

Timson is a little deeper than Oregano.


colonial verdigris sq cw 530


Even though there are lots of greens in my neutral color scheme, the green is usually an accent color. Please remember that the concentration of colors in any color scheme is never equal.


Best neutral color scheme - white walls - Steve Cordony - Rosedale Farm Living room - jute rugMany people have inquired about the incredible rug. Steve is so incredibly gracious on his Instagram account. I have read that the custom rug was fabricated in India. Oh, and they needed to use the bulldozer to get it up onto the deck. It looks to be made of jute.

benjamin moore carter gray cw 80

Carter Gray

Chimichurri CSP-810 green kitchen

Chimichurri *

*means that this color is not in the LH paint collection.


Brave Fine Art - Etsy - Original 1930s Vintage Painting, French School River Landscape With Trees, Oil On Canvas, Impressionism

Above are some of the colors from the neutral color scheme is a gorgeous antique painting. This is another source on Etsy and is linked to in the widget you see in a bit. (unless you skip ahead) ;]


benjamin moore newburg green hc 158

Newburg Green


Gerald Bland - neutral color scheme

Above, is another incredible shot from Gerald Bland. I think we must’ve been separated at birth. lol


Benjamin Moore Duxbury Gray HC-163

Duxbury Gray*

Benjamin Moore cleveland green 1525


my antique zuber screen

Part of my antique Zuber screen I purchased in New Preston, CT in 2001.


Chestertown Buff hc-9


LesLooms on Etsy 17th century verdure tapestry fragment (too small for a pillow, pretty much))

I found this remnant of a 17th-century tapestry in a fabulous shop on Etsy. You’ll find the link in the widget. Also, there are some ready-made pillows with new fabric.


I always love a touch of a verdure tapestry in neutral color scheme rooms.


Well, most any room. Those of you who own the paint and palette collection will see a lot of these gorgeous tapestry pillows on many of the mood boards.


colonial verdigris sq cw 530

Benjamin Moore Salamander 2050-10



Best neutral color scheme - white walls - Steve Cordony - Rosedale Farm - dark green and white kitchen

There has been a lot of press over Steve’s new kitchen. Please check this out to see how it looked before.


Here’s what’s funny. Well, to me, anyway. In my research, I found a quote from Steve:


“I wanted the kitchen to be a mix of classic American elegance and Shaker style.”


It struck me as so ironic since I’m often posting English kitchens. I guess we always think that something foreign is more exotic. But, great design is great design. It doesn’t matter where it is. I see a lot of similarities between his kitchen and those of the incredible Jean Stoffer we were looking at a few weeks ago.


Steve Cordony dark green kitchen


black forest green pm 12 - exterior paint colors - great for shutters and doors

black forest green pm 12*


The best neutral color scheme, here with wonderful gold curtains, is in his master bathroom.


benjamin moore henderson buff


Best neutral color scheme - white walls - Steve Cordony -

The sconces are from Visual Comfort. They are not in the widget because the image was HUGE, and it bugged me. Capitol Lighting as the best prices on Visual Comfort. You can get the entire line here.


Benjamin Moore Soot 2129-20


Steve Cardony - how to make a moodboard - via youtube

Steve Cardony is going to be teaching a master class on October 24th and 25th, 2020. I don’t know if it’s full or not. It sounds like it’s going to be incredible!


If you’d like a preview, please check out this video, where he shows how he derives inspiration and makes mood boards.


So, does Steve veer from this very neutral color scheme?


Yes, but, discreetly and also, still in keeping with neutral.


Best neutral color scheme - white walls - Steve Cordony - Rosedale Farm Living room - Steve Cordony officeHe incorporates small amounts of blue in his office.

And, then, the dining room has the most glorious wallpaper mural I’ve ever seen.


Steve Cardony dining room - mural
The dentil crown moulding is new. But, doesn’t it look like it was there all along? It should’ve been.


Best neutral color scheme - white walls - Steve Cordony - Rosedale Farm - officeThank you so much, Steve, for your brilliant designs, photography, and endless inspiration!

I’m a fan, and I know that y’all will be, too!

Best neutral color scheme - white walls - Steve Cordony - Rosedale Farm Living room - blooming branches-gateleg table

One last view of Steve’s gorgeous double-parlor looking in the other direction. Yes, I adore the brown trim. We’ll talk more about it on Sunday.


Please follow Steve here:


Steve Cardony on Instagram

Rosedale Farm on Instagram

And, also his gorgeous blog.

This link will take you to an update from 2018 on the progress of Rosedale Farm. You’ll see lots of before and after photos.

I am excited to see where Steve’s career takes him, as it’s clear that his great star is only just beginning to rise!




PS: If you’d like to see a follow up post about how to get Steve Cordony style and in some cases for less money, please go to this beautiful post.


35 Responses

  1. This is a gorgeous house and what I would want if I wanted neutral. But to me neutral rooms, even the most beautiful ones like these, lack cosiness. I feel cosier surrounded by saturated colour.

  2. Laurel, oh my gosh! Thanks for sharing Steve Cordony‘s home with us. His neutral palette is so restful, and yet there’s so much depth and texture, it’s just, “WOW!”

    Your “usual rambling” is what keeps us all coming back. You teach us so much, in such a relaxing, conversational way, and with so much research and prep. Thanks once again!

  3. What a fantastic post! Thank you so much! Wouldn’t argue anymore with my OH that I want to paint the wooden window trim. It looks gorgeous in the right settings.

  4. Yes!! This was the best post ever! Thank you for the careful attention to detail you took at every turn In this beautiful and informative post!. Im ready to buy Tickets to his class! Take me there! A one way ticket will do!

  5. This house is stunning. The natural wood windows juxtaposed against the white walls, molding, and curtains-wow. The simple framing on the walls adds so much to the elegance. I’m guessing the walls are all millwork sans drywall.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wow, this home is just incredible! I can’t stop studying each room. The architectural details are exquisite and contribute so much to the overall effect. I love the combination of white trim and natural wood, and the palette is beautiful, interesting, and colorful in its own subtle way.
    Who says that “brown” furniture is outdated???

  7. I’ve always understood that neutral meant monochromatic which to me is boring. The home in this article has so much life and warmth in it. Thank you for re-educating me! Also wanted to say you’re a kindred spirit. My house is decorated in blues and whites so I always look forward to your “boards” and recommendations to your clients. So glad I found your blog!!!

  8. Laurel: you are just the BEST!! Lady, you do an Incredibly awesome job at breaking down the elements of classic style. You are such a wonderful teacher. You have the most incredibly detailed and well researched blog on the net. Thank you for introducing me to amazing designers and explaining why their rooms work. Glorious photos and details. I appreciate all of the links and am perpetually surprised that many of the items are budget friendly. You make it much easier to plan and design my home. Thank you!!

  9. This is such a beautiful post! Steve Cardony is a genius. I love his style! Laurel, I appreciate how you showed us the various color swatches to help us understand what colors are present in his rooms. And I totally love everything in your widget. You are giving me some great inspiration. Thank you!

  10. Wow Laurel! What an awesome post and thank you for introducing me to Steve. His work is incredible. Can’t wait to see where he’ll go next. If only his Masterclass wasn’t an 18 hour flight away. A girl can only dream

    Thanks Laurel, I’m so grateful for your blog!

  11. Hey Laurel, this is a fantastic post! I really, really look forward to receiving them in my inbox : ) It is my wish that one day I see interiors the way you do LOL …. I’m studying your blog and working dutifully on it. Love your ideas, style and inspiration! Keep em coming : )

  12. Hi Laurel,
    This most certainly was a beautiful blog post.
    I can only dream to have a home like this.
    I certainly love the unpainted window frames. My daughter has a 70 year old home that has trim that’s painted white but her wooden doors are left in their natural state. It add such a sense of warmth.
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful home with your readers.

  13. Oh my gosh – I am in love with these rooms! And I thought I was tired of white walls – but not when they are done like this. Unfortunately, even if I could copy these rooms, I would have to wait until I no longer have dogs who think the furniture is for them to lounge on and wipe their tiny little faces on after meals – which will probably be like – never.

  14. I’ve been on to all the Etsy removable wallpapers and murals for a while. You should see how many are listed in my “Favorites”. It’s heartbreaking. 😉

  15. Gorgeous all the way around. I could do a space like this but not my whole home. Wonderful widgets. This is one of my favorite blog entries you have done Laurel.

  16. Wow….how up lifting at this time. Thank you for your up beat approach to decorating and life in general.

  17. Laurel,
    What have you done??????!!!!!! Omg!!!! This home is perfection! And now I’ll be trying to decorate my house just like this! The simple elegance is almost soothing. It’s perfect for my minimalist, OCD self, but classic and chic at the same time. Thank you for this blog! And thanks for sharing your talents (hysterical humor and gorgeous design sense) with your readers. We need them now more than ever!

  18. Thank you Laurel – had never seen his work. The house is fantastic and it showcases how to mix antiques/traditional items in a way that looks fresh.

    Interestingly, the (great) widget has a lot of the dining room items (mahogany table, crystal chandelier) that Liz from last week’s post already has in her dining room. If she wants neutral but fresh and modern she can just nab some of the other suggestions in the widget (some chartreuse accents/fabric, large jute rug, maybe that black Burke Designs cabinet, some large art with green in it and live plants, some earthy baskets and a pair of white chinoiserie lamps)…

  19. So much inspiration here!! Can’t wait to adapt these peaceful but interesting neutrals to my own place. Thank you!!

  20. Hey Laurel – Thanks for a great post. I wanted to share with you and your readers that I have a jute rug that was custom made in India that looks just like the one Steve Cordony used. It is a low profile jute. I have purchased 3 of them. My most recent was a custom size so it did take many months for it to be made and to arrive. There do have standard sizes available ready to ship.

    The company is Surya and it is called Continental Cot-1931 Natural. I just received my 2 emerald green velvet sofas and they look great on this rug. It is a very interesting time for decorating when you cannot really go any where and touch and feel things. I have been ordering everything on-line and crossing my fingers. : )

  21. Love this post. I tend to love a lot of color but this struck a cord with me. So classy and easy on the eyes. Restful really.
    Enjoy your site so much, Laurel, AND you humor! Keep it coming.

  22. Laurel,
    As you say, Gigagorgeous!
    I love everything about it…
    Except every time you show another beautiful home
    I want to redecorate, HaHa
    Love it!

  23. What can be said, but Thank You Thankful and thanks! Love the widget so unbelievably helpful, to those of us who scratch our heads and say “where do we begin, what do we buy and from where?”
    You really know how to take care of your readers!
    Just want you to know your the bestest ever!

  24. I love this post! So much to pore over. And Laurel, thank you for your description of ‘neutral’ – I’m going to print it out and keep it handy. It sums up what I have always thought of as the components of a beautiful room.

  25. Laurel, I haven’t read the post yet but wanted to let you know the title has a typo … getting should be get. Please feel free to delete my comment! Hugs, PatL

  26. P.S. the paint is by a local company called ‘Porters’. They have beautiful subtle colours and Textures. (

  27. Thanks, Laurel, for this post full of beautiful inspiration. Rosedale Farm is quite close to a farm I have. It needs decorating and the look at Rosedale is EXACTLY what I had in mind. The pictures will be so useful to convince Other Half.
    The light at the farm is eyeball searing bright. If I’m sitting inside gazing at the view I wear my Raybans.
    And yes, all of us in Australia walk about upside down. Clears the sinuses.

  28. Truly the most gorgeous post. I have never opened so many side tabs while reading! Thank you for introducing us to Steve, I am so excited to explore more. Your widget is just incredible as well, great detective work and the perfect blend of style. Seeing this post has made the design for a tough room click- I just needed to get back to basics…clean, elegant neutrals with a mix of earthiness, warmth, brightness, and depth.

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Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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