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Looking to spruce up your living room walls?
Color is an essential factor that influences how your space feels and really pulls toegther thr design of your room. Choosing a color that will enhance the mood you want to go for is key, but also a challenge because the choices are endless.
But don't fret. We spoke to a ranger of interior design and interior paint color experts to pull toegther the best living room paint color ideas.
Meet the experts
To curate this guide, we spoke to a range of paint and interior design experts. In this guide on living room paint colors, you'll hear from:
The Best Living Room Paint Colors: 35 Designer Picks
White is one of the most traditional living room paint color choices. Crisp white walls are classic, simple, and clean. It creates a calming atmosphere and can be offset beautifully with eye-catching furniture pieces or accent colors. White was are especially good a small space and makes a space feel clean and modern.
Shoji White is a cool color developed by a heavyweight in the American paint industry Sherwin Williams. It contains white and beige pigments and is a full-bodied shade.
Jennifer Walter explains why it's a go-to color for many interior designers: "For those trying to escape grayish tones, it’s also a perfect choice. It also plays well with light and shadows, so no matter which direction your house faces, it looks fantastic."
Chantilly Lace is a popular white paint that has been used for years. Ashley Daubert nostalgically shares her thoughts on the color: "Chantilly Lace from Benjamin Moore remains not just a classic and historically top-selling color for the brand, but the most used in Beam designs overall,”.
This decadent white paint was developed by the Jolie color range and its founder designed it for walls and cabinets. It's pure white paint that contains warm neutrals to give off a cozy glow in any room in your house.
Like its name suggests, Whipped is a pure white paint that is meant to be as smooth as whipped cream on your living room walls. It is a great color for rooms facing north. It is an adaptable shade that works well with various architectural elements.
Cream and Beige
These two neutral paint colors can transform any space into a tranquil oasis. These lighter, almost taupe shades create a welcoming, spacious and relaxed atmosphere to any living room design.
Sugar Cookie is a creamy off-white paint color often used for living rooms. It contains warm apricot notes that brighten up any home. Maria DeCotiis features this color at home herself: “I have Benjamin Moore Sugar Cookie in my living room and it is the perfect warm white. It looks great with all the wall paneling,”.
This is a warm off-white paint color that transforms any room into a sanctuary for deep rest. “Greek Villa has a soft and warm neutral tone that is easy to adapt to any atmosphere and design aesthetic,” explains Karen Rohr.
This off-while paint from Benjamin Moore comes with hints of buttery yellow. It is a feast for the eyes and is similar to the Sugar Cookie shade. This hue is ideal for north-facing rooms as it neutralizes the incoming light.
Darker shades help to add a touch of elegance to any space. Black compliments a lot of colors and it makes a room seem more spacious. It also distributes light beautifully. However, remember to use black in a space that has many windows as you don't have a room that feels claustrophobic.
Tricorn Black is a classic black paint color that adds class and elegance to any living room. “I love Tricorn Black from Sherwin Williams behind the tv on the wall so I don't have to see the giant black screen,” Jennifer Guerin adds.
This is a light charcoal-colored paint that adds warmth and a sense of depth to any living room wall.
Gray is a versatile color. A darker shade can add warmth to a living room whereas a light, cool gray can make a small seem more spacious. Gray is excellent for homeowners who prefer a minimalist color palette. They can jazz up their spaces further with bold decorative accessories that help accentuate walls painted pure white.
This is a white and pastel paint color from Sherwin Williams. It contains specs of twilight intermixed with lavender and is one of the market's most popular light gray paint options. Karen Rohr adds: “Quicksilver is a bit cooler, perfect for keeping the room white and airy but opens up the space to make it feel larger”.
Charcoal Linen is a dark gray paint color that contains elements of indigo. It is a more saturated color that pairs well with true white and off-white colors. Karen Billman says Charcoal Linen is one of her go-to colors: “I’m in the middle of renovating a small living room for one of my clients and we chose Charcoal Linen by Benjamin Moore for an accent wall."
Comfort Gray is a bit of an interchangeable color. It is neither blue, gray, nor green. It changes color depending on the angle of the light it gets. “Comfort Gray is one of the neutrals that will slightly add some kind of a cooler tone to the space, perfect to open it up and make it feel larger,” feels Karen Rohr.
This paint color is a mix between beige and gray. This rich shade can add cool tones to a room that already has depth or add warmth to a space that sorely needs it. This is one of the colors of the year in 2022.
Blue and Navy
Blue walls exude a sense of serenity and peace. Blue also adds a cooling effect to a room. It tends to be a flexible color that can work with most home decor styles or funiture colors, so whether you go for a deep blue, navy blue or lighter shade, it should work well with your existing furniture.
Hail Navy by Benjamin Moore is a darker shade of blue that is closest to black. This color is velvety in texture and has gray undertones. Karen Billman talks about why this navy blue is so popular among interior designers and architects: "It works very well with darker wood baseboards and white paint and provides an elegant backdrop which allows bold prints to stand out."
Interesting Aqua by Sherwin Williams is a light blue shade that can be paired with grays to give any living room a burst of color inspiration. "This is one of the colors I like to call ‘unusual’ neutrals; that's because it is still a muted tone but enough to create an impact in the space and add more personality,” adds Mackenzie Collier's Interior Designer, Karen Rohr.
This paint has a royal blue tone to it and this hue of blue helps to reflect light proportionally in a room. Formentera adds space to smaller rooms and makes larger rooms feel more intimate.
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Green is a bold color used to promote creativity and improve productivity in a living space. It has a soothing effect when used inside and outside the home as well as on living room walls.
"Many designers are using green as a neutral in their designs, working within a wide range of greens from deep forest greens or olive to cooler minty shades,” says Overstock.com style director Amber Dunford.
If you are looking for a shade that is a cross between yellow and green then Retreat by Sherwin Williams is your best bet. It is a neutral cool tone that can be paired with neutral furniture. "With the popularity of green in full throttle, we love this color because it’s rarely too dark in a room, which can be trepidatious for homeowners," says Jennifer Walter.
Benjamin Moore's Courtyard Green color gives you the feeling that you are in a foliage-covered forest; green walls give off the sense of being in nature. It blends wonderfully with less saturated colors and comes highly recommended by Ashley Daubert.
This is a cool paint color that contains blue and green pigments. It blends well with creamy white colored design features. “Rainwashed adds more color for those who want to keep the space neutral but are looking to incorporate slightly more color without compromising too much,” says Karen Rohr.
Add this shade to your color palette if earthy dark peach is what you're looking for. This color adds depth and an air of sophistication to any living room.
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What Should You Consider When Decorating a Living Room?
Mood and Atmosphere
Jennifer Guerin and Ashley Daubert both advise to first think of how you want to feel as you enter the room: "Is your main goal to relax and to regain energy?". If so, you should make use of bright and fun colors to generate an energetic feeling.
Jennifer adds: "but if you need to chill out at the end of the day, less is more with color!". In this case, she advises going with texture instead of harsh colors, but to always follow your gut: "Go for what you love!".
"Light colors make a room feel more airy and spacious, while dark colors can make a room feel cozy and intimate."
Less saturated paint colors give off a sense of calm and serenity in any home, and they can also be useful to make a room look bigger. Brighter colors are used to ignite energy and spark creativity in a living room space. Karen Rohr adds: "Light colors make a room feel more airy and spacious, while dark colors can make a room feel cozy and intimate."
Your Personal Style
Personal style plays a big role in how we choose to decorate our homes. Our home is a reflection of our personalities and how we would like the world to see us. It is also an opportunity for anyone to show off their individuality.
Karen Billman says she sometimes has intense sessions with clients to find out what their specific tastes are: "I always ask what colors do you and don’t you like? I also look around the house at paintings, wall coverings, and fabric on their sofas, etc. to get a sense of direction, color-wise".
Your existing furniture and architecture
Before choosing your perfect paint color, you need to determine if your paint shade will match your existing furniture and the interior style of your home. Do you have to invest in a few key furniture items or maybe get rid of any outdated pieces?
Becc Burgmann says that the theme of your architectural interior design style will determine what works best in your living space: "For example, if the space is an industrial style space with exposed brick and polished cement, paint colors such as blacks, charcoal gray, and shades of green will look stunning."
There are several details to consider when deciding on an appropriate hue to paint your living room's walls. One of these is lighting. Some colors look great in natural light while others swallow up the entire room.
“Lighting has a huge impact on how colors appear. A medium-toned color might appear much lighter in a space with great natural daylight."
Ashley Daubert said you need to take into account the natural and artificial lighting in any room: “lighting has a huge impact on how colors appear. A medium-toned color might appear much lighter in a space with great natural daylight,” as per the interior designer.
Living Room Paint Color FAQs
Does Room Size Make a Difference to Paint Choices?
Yes, it does — wall paint can have an impact on how big or small a room feels. According to Becc Burgmann: “The smaller the space the lighter the room should be, however, this isn’t always the case. Just because a room is small, doesn’t mean you should shy away from dark accent walls, especially as a feature wall."
What Colors Brighten a Living Room?
Colors such as off-white, blues, and greens help to add extra space to any room. Paint colors such as grey and blue also add a lot of warmth to a living room. Stay away from darker colors as they can be all-consuming.
If you want to brighten a room you can also create some complimentary color combinations like matte white with a bright accent wall color. To add an extra punch you could opt for a high-gloss finish, but shinier finishes can highlight wall imperfections more.
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.
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