Whispery Neutral Zen Interiors With Sophisticated Tonal Chic Now

As the saturated energetic color of holiday decked halls fades with December, we’ll peek at more “clean slate” images. Inspiring us today are Whispery Neutral Zen Interiors With Sophisticated Tonal Chic. Think rooms with natural decor elements, organic, calm, mainly minimal style. Scandinavian design, California cool, Danish Hygge, slow living, modern rustic, warm minimal, and laid back warm contemporary spaces with natural woods and pale tones. Designers and sources inspiring me for today’s tone on tone aesthetic? Leanne Ford, Jersey Ice Cream Co, Remodelista and Jenni Kayne. Let’s chat about ideas to achieve this vibe in your own home.

Jeffrey Dungan and Beth Webb designed entry with pale stained natural rustic woods and sophisticated yet laid back decor.
Architect: Jeffrey Dungan; Design: Beth Webb – see more timeless inspiration HERE

Whispery Neutral Zen Interiors With Sophisticated Tonal Chic

Leanne Ford’s Inspiring Pittsburgh Guest Cottage

When I think of an “undone” zen look with comforting, pale tones and a luxuriously laid-back yet sophisticated vibe, I think of Leanne Ford.

The unique, unfussy interiors in her own home may just inspire you…not because you’ll copy her rooms, but because you’ll be inspired by her techniques, design courage, and insistence on ease.

Leanne Ford designed living room with zen feel and Ever sofab in her Pittsburgh guest cottage - photo by Erin Kelly for Pittsburgh Post Gazette. #modernrustic #vintagestyle
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Photo: Erin Kelly; Design: Leanne Ford

In this guest cottage on the property of her suburban Pittsburgh home, she reworked a carriage house with classic Colonial Revival style. She wanted the place to have Old World, English garden charm, and to achieve it, she:

stained first floor walls with coffee to give them age (see their rustic beauty above!)

Leanne Ford designed bathroom in her Pittsburgh guest cottage - photo by Erin Kelly for Pittsburgh Post Gazette. #modernrustic #vintagestyle
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Photo: Erin Kelly; Design: Leanne Ford

removed low drop ceilings

painted exposed beams and wood slats bright white

Leanne Ford designed rough luxe bedroom with exposed rafters painted white in her Pittsburgh guest cottage - photo by Erin Kelly for Pittsburgh Post Gazette. #modernrustic #vintagestyle
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Photo: Erin Kelly; Design: Leanne Ford

removed drywall in bedrooms before “grout washing” the walls

kept plumbing where it was and just painted pipes white

Leanne Ford designed kitchen with dusty rose range in her Pittsburgh guest cottage - photo by Erin Kelly for Pittsburgh Post Gazette. #modernrustic #vintagestyle
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Photo: Erin Kelly; Design: Leanne Ford

used humble butcher block countertop in the kitchen

tiled the backsplash with simple terracotta tiles found in a shed on the property

Leanne Ford designed entry and stairs in her Pittsburgh guest cottage - photo by Erin Kelly for Pittsburgh Post Gazette. #modernrustic #vintagestyle
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Photo: Erin Kelly; Design: Leanne Ford

patched the wood floors with clay tiles

hid a refrigerator behind vintage confessional doors

Leanne Ford designed bathroom in her Pittsburgh guest cottage - photo by Erin Kelly for Pittsburgh Post Gazette. #modernrustic #vintagestyle
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Photo: Erin Kelly; Design: Leanne Ford

As you can see, she stripped back the interiors to reveal their history and allowed the imperfect, aged, distressed and original materials to speak.

Leanne Ford designed bedroom with rough luxe walls and exposed rafters in her Pittsburgh guest cottage - photo by Erin Kelly for Pittsburgh Post Gazette. #modernrustic #vintagestyle
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Photo: Erin Kelly; Design: Leanne Ford

Are the wheels turning? Can you imagine uncovering layers of mystery, designing with freedom from rules, and even inventing techniques (i.e. grout-washed walls) as you go?

Need a Zen-like Bed?

The bedroom is often an optimal starting point if you’re thinking about bringing more calm to your interiors. Choosing a bed or headboard these days can be daunting since you’ll be living with your decision for such a long time. Here’s a neutral option:

Alpine Faux Fur Quilt & Shams - Ivory
Big Sur Upholstered Platform Bed – Neutral zen interiors with a cozy feel…hello lovely indeed.
Nietzsche inspirational quote about seeing. #nietzsche #quotes #seeing #inspirationalquote #wisdomequotes

Bathroom Design Inspiration

Let’s face it. Most of us don’t design our bathrooms with much mindfulness.

Modern rustic farmhouse bathroom with vessel sink, round mirror, and minimal toilet - Zenqhome.
@Zenqhome – A little bit country and also modern rustic, this laid back bath gets bonus points for texture.

Even though we know we’ll be spending a fair amount of time in the space, a bright white box is the common result. So it’s inspiring to imagine the possibilities…

Gorgeous and luxurious minimal zen bathroom with Italian marble tile and soft grey walls - Planetedeco.
Planete-Deco – In case you love a minimal luxe look in a marble bath.

If a luxurious new marble walk-in shower is not realistic, maybe a fresh green color is. While green tile can be beautiful…

Serene and luxurious zen shower with green tile walls - MandarainStoneOfficial.
@mandarinstoneofficial – Green can have a tone on tone moment too!

maybe green walls or a vanity will elevate the look you’re after:

9 earthy green paint colors from Benjamin Moore to consider - Hello Lovely. #greenpaint #paintcolors #earthygreen
PIN me! Earthy green paint colors as well as zen interiors to inspire!
Anne Lamott inspirational quote on Hello Lovely Studio. #quotes #inspirationalquotes #annelamott #lifequotes #encouragementquotes #grace

Living Rooms With Calm Zen Vibes

In my own home, a calm color palette sets the stage for tranquility.

My Belgian linen arm chair in living room with white oak hardwoods - Hello Lovely Studio.

Shades of white and pale stone don’t have to read cold…

Cozy comfy zen living room with white sectional, modern floor lamp and rustic wood coffee table - @visionityourself.
@visionityourself – In case a wabi sabi zen living room inspires you.

and just look at how two completely different looks can be achieved with neutrals. The space above with its curves and sculptural elements feels Scandinavian, laid back and informal.

The interior below with its straight edges and geometry feels more urban and crisp.

Cozy neutral beige living room in a Swedish home with modern art and calm design style - PlaneteDeco.
Planete-Deco – Zen can also be about the color palette in a space like this quiet living room.
Oscar Wilde inspirational quote about seeing. #oscarwilde #quotes #inspirationalquotes #seeing #humility

Inspiring Cozy Zen Kitchens & and Dining Rooms

My favorite kitchens are zen-like in that they are uncluttered, cozy, and natural.

Utilitarian kitchens can be awfully cold and industrial, and since we tend to live in our kitchens these days, why shouldn’t they be like inviting living rooms?

Athena Calderone Brooklyn kitchen with black cabinets, marble, and floating desk in front of window. #blackkitchens #blackandwhite #inteiordesign
Design: Athena Calderone (Eyeswoon) – see THIS for black kitchen ideas

As you can clearly see, a tranquil classic space doesn’t have one look or color story.

Jeffrey designed timeless breakfast nook with elegant architecture. #breakfastnook #bespokekitchen #braskfastnook
Jeffrey Dungan

A relaxed look can be sophisticated, earthy, classic, country or casual.

An open kitchen in Barcelona with calm, zen, natural modern style and black pendants over breakfast bar - Pia Capdevilla.
Pia Capdevilla – So many smart ideas in this open kitchen design; for example, seating at the counter comes with a fantastic view!
Beautiful bespoke kitchen with deep blue-gray Shaker cabinets (deVOL) and white marble counters - design by @clarenceandgraves. #Englishkitchen #shakerkitchen #bespokekitchen
deVOL – Design: @clarenceandgraves
Zen dining room with white walls, modern black chairs, and natural wood farm table exuding Scandinavian style - PlaneteDeco.
Planete-Deco – In case you love a mix of modern and vintage in a clean, uncluttered breakfast nook.
Anne Lamott inspirational quote on Hello Lovely Studio. #quotes #inspirationalquotes #annelamott #lifequotes #encouragementquotes #grace

Tranquil Bedrooms to Inspire

Beautiful classic bedroom design by Marie Flanigan Interiors. #bedroomdesign #interiordesign
Marie Flanigan Interiors…in case you love a calm bedroom and Zen interiors.
Iron Mountain (Benjamin Moore) on bedroom walls with board and batten trim, upholstered headboard, and animal print ottomans - Sherry Hart of Design Indulgence. #ironmountain #paintcolors
Sherry Hart
Cozy zen bedroom with white, tone on tone, beadboard, and modern minimal slow living style - JerseyIceCreamCo and BethKirby.
Design: JerseyIceCreamCo/Photo: BethKirby
Cozy Copenhagen egg chair with Belgian linen upholstery in a bedroom with grisaille wall mural - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

Annie Dillard inspirational quote on Hello Lovely Studio. #quotes #inspirationalquotes #anniedillard #lifequotes #encouragementquotes

To Inspire Sustainable & Thoughtful Decorating

If you’re seeking stylish ideas for sustainable living, this new book may be just what your soul is craving.

Serene rustic vintage zen bathroom with clawfoot tub, pink door, and white floors - design by Clare Lattin and appearing in HOME FOR THE SOUL by Sara Bird & Dan Duchars (Ryland Peters Small, 2020).
From HOME FOR THE SOUL by Sara Bird & Dan Duchars (Ryland Peters Small, 2020)
Home for the Soul by Sara Bird & Dan Duchars (Ryland Peters & Small, 2020)

Psst. I saw so many calm, dusty, rosy pink painted doors in 2021 (scroll back up to Leanne Ford’s guest cottage!) and they’re still popping up everywhere.

Ella Rose paint color by Magnolia
Ella Rose – Magnolia

Need a gorgeously gentle dusty rose paint color idea? The one above is a favorite of Joanna Gaines, and the paint below is a Leanne Ford recommended hue.

Romeo (PPG) paintcolor is a gorgous nude blush pink
PPG Romeo

Decor & Furniture Ideas to Get a Cozy Zen Look

An amazing start to a laid-back luxe and highly livable den? Leanne Ford’s Ever Sofa:

Ever Slipcovered Sofa by Leanne Ford (Open Larger View)
Ever Sofa – in case you admire Zen interiors and neutral colors for your calm room.

I love Pottery Barn’s Big Sur collection since the lines are so simple, and the timelessness of the sumptuous design won’t fall from favor.

Warm Winter Layers
Bir Sur Upholstered Bed

Chunky, cableknit throws are hard to beat for infusing your space with cozy factor.

Colossal Handknit Throws

But there are plenty of other gorgeous beds to create a cocoon of a retreat for your master bedroom or a guest bedroom RIGHT HERE.

Colossal Handknit Throws
Anne Lamott inspirational quote on Hello Lovely Studio. #quotes #inspirationalquotes #annelamott #lifequotes #encouragementquotes #humor

Mediterranean Inspired Pottery & Earthenware

If you’re lucky enough to find ancient pieces (try HERE and HERE), woohoo! For more friendly priced and sourced replicas…

Add a Cozy & Timeless Throw

Both my kitchen and living room are calm spaces with soft neutral colors common to European country inspired homes.

Luxurious, comfy and sophisticated this cashmere throw (Italic) is stylish in heather gray against the Belgian linen upholstered arm chair - Hello Lovely Studio. #cashmere #cashmerethrow
A Cashmere Throw (Heather Gray) from ITALIC is perfect for chilly mornings in the breakfast nook – Hello Lovely Studio.

I love how this heather grey cashmere throw offers contrast with the light linen and the combo feels gentle, not jolting.

My cashmere throw from Italic looks gorgeous anywhere I toss it in the living room! Hello Lovely Studio. #cashmerethrow

I also love how natural-toned throws like THESE work with light upholstery.

For a more tonal look (and splurge on a luxurious yet timeless accent!), this alpaca throw from Jenni Kayne offers lovely whispery dove grey beauty.

Alpaca throw - Jenni Kayne
Alpaca Throw

It seems wherever I toss this yummy luxurious yet not fancy throw, it looks just right.

Belgian linen upholstered chaise (RH) with a heather gray cashmere throw (Italic) in my living room - Hello Lovely Studio.
Inspirational quote for personal growth and self kindness - Hello Lovely Studio. #quotes #inspirational #courage #strength #selfcare #kindness

Could Your Pantry Use a Zhush of Zen?

Mine could!

Thinking of you as you recover from Christmas cheer and prepare for a promising new year. I hope to have time in my next post to update you on happenings ’round here and share more glimpses from around the house at Christmas.

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

Shop for items you already intended to buy on Amazon RIGHT HERE, and also find home decor here to keep decor inspiration flowing on Hello Lovely!

Hello Lovely is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

White Slipcovered Sofa
French Country Wicker Trunk Storage
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
Antique Chinese Wood Rustic Round Stool
French Country Bed
Tuscan Terracotta Urn Vase
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcoverd Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
Chevron White Quilt Set
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Vintage Collapsible French Laundry Basket
White Ruffle Bedding
White Linen Club Chair
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Wide Pine Sideboard
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
French Country Mirror
Faux Potted French Lavender
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
White Artichoke Lamp
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slope Arm Linen Chair Set
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Rustic French Confit Pot
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Rustic End Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing
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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Country Wicker Trunk Storage
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
Antique Chinese Wood Rustic Round Stool
French Country Bed
Tuscan Terracotta Urn Vase
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcoverd Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
Chevron White Quilt Set
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Vintage Collapsible French Laundry Basket
White Ruffle Bedding
White Linen Club Chair
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Wide Pine Sideboard
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
French Country Mirror
Faux Potted French Lavender
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
White Artichoke Lamp
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slope Arm Linen Chair Set
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Rustic French Confit Pot
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Rustic End Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing