Living room paint colors drive the style and vibe of your space. Choosing paint colors for this room will define the impression it makes on your guests.
Sure, the family has to feel comfortable spending time in the room, but it also has to be impressive. To set the right mood for the space, paint color is key.
Depending on your personal style, the hues can be bold, earthy or serene, but what is the best color for a living room? Trends come and go and you don’t want to be constantly repainting and redecorating. Instead, choose a color that you can live with long-term.
Feng shui paint colors
Lots of people like to consider feng shui when arranging furniture and you can do the same when picking paint colors. You can enhance good energy in a room or counter negative energy with the best color for living room walls. It all depends on where in the house your living room is located.
Specific colors for feng shui
Get a compass and see which direction your living from is located within the house.
- A living room that faces east or southeast is all about the wood element and water nourishes wood. The best living room paint colors here are blue or black because they are water element colors. You can also use green and brown, which are wood element colors.
- Fire dominates the energy for southern living rooms so red is a great choice. Or, tone down the energy with a pale orange-like melon. Browns, greens and other earthy colors like tan are the best living room paint colors.
- Metal elements are the dominant ones for a northwest living room. Choose colors like gray black and white for paint colors. Accent colors should reflect stronger metals such as gold, yellow and bronze.
- Water also rules a living room in the north, so color combinations can be the same as those in the east and southeast. Those are black and blue, along with some woodsy colors like green and brown.
Create a color palette
When you choose the best color for living room walls, you’ll also want to create a total color palette. This guides your color choices for other things in the room.
Ultimately, you want to choose three hues for your living room color scheme. The wall color will be the dominant one and it should account for 60 percent of the room. A secondary color should account for 30 of the space. Finally, an accent color will be the boldest and should be about 10 percent of the room’s color.
This is called the 60-30-10 rule and actually, you can use it for any room.
If you’re still not sure what the best living room color for walls is, we’ve pulled together a selection of hues that strike the right note.
For those who really want to work with a blank slate, white is one of the best living room paint colors. It lets the furnishings and other decor items take center stage.
Lest you think that white walls are boring, they’re the perfect backdrop for changing up the colors. You can swap out throw pillows, throws and rugs for different looks.
More than one white
Moreover, white no longer means one single shade. A wide range of white hues is available. They can complement your furniture, create a warmer mood, or emphasize a cool minimalist vibe.
For the longest time, people considered white the best paint color for a small living room. That’s still true, but you also have other options for small living room color schemes.
Depending on the color of the undertone, different shades of white can make your living room look completely different. This living space in the Naked Fox Hotel in Sydney, Australia relies on white to highlight the architectural doors and windows. In fact, white may be the best color for a living room in 2022.
You might think of yellow as a trendy color — which it has been lately. Actually, yellow living room paint colors are also found in very traditional homes. A good example is this Philadelphia Georgian manor house by E.B. Mahoney.
The best yellow paint colors for a living room strike the right mood. Buttery hues create a warm or subdued feeling. On the other hand, bright, sunny golden yellow versions in cottage chic spaces or retro designs are lively. Also, earthy yellows are the best colors for a Tuscan living room.
For a less bold version, light buttercream yellows are among the best light paint colors for a living room. In any case, the boldness of the furniture and rugs will either emphasize or moderate the strength of a golden yellow hue.
Most often associated with hip coastal decor, turquoise is the best color for a living room to add a touch of glam. More subdued greenish hues, like in this living room photographed by Mary Prince Photography, create a serene space. It brings a wash of calm over all who enter.
Layer shades of color
Layering a range of paler turquoise hues also creates interest while emphasizing the mood. Of course, for more vibrant living rooms, saturated versions of turquoise are an option. These tend more toward the blue hues and have a “Miami” vibe. They will create a very bright space.
For the longest time, black was almost taboo when it came to interior paint. However, contemporary designs and fresh takes on traditional decor using black. It can be a creative and up-to-date option for the best color choice for a living room.
Dark wall color
While black is the most obvious example, any super dark color was discounted for living room walls. People thought it sucked in all the light and made the room feel like a tomb.
Modern interior designers have found that black can be the best color for a living room color scheme.
Of course, the balance between the dark and light elements has to be right. Although this living room by Architecture Outfit is very traditional in architecture, the black elements create a design-forward yet relaxed space.
A bold version of purple was recently the color of the year. But, subtle tones of purple like the 2022 Very Peri can be some of the best options for living room paint color schemes.
The walls of this Sydney, Australia living room are almost a gray tone. It is among the best neutral paint colors for a living room go with the modern black leather sofa.
Light neutral shades
You might think that a light purple, almost lavender hue, would be very feminine or even cloying. By contrast, this design shows how versatile it can be. The underlying purple color adds a soft brightness to the room. It creates a mood but is hard to identify as strictly purple.
Gray has been trending as the best neutral color for a living room for some time. That’s not surprising given the range of shades available and their versatility.
There are those who say that it is now “out” as one of the popular living room colors. Actually, it’s not really fading in popularity as a neutral backdrop.
Still going strong
This room by Harrell Remodeling shows how modern and up-to-date gray still feels. You can create a range of moods with gray living room color schemes. The best light grey paint color for a living room gives the space an airy feel.
Deeper hues like this one make is a wonderful contrast with the shiplap ceiling and brown furnishings. Dark grays are particularly nice paired with crisp white trim.
Not really yellow, but definitely not pink, peach straddles these traditional colors. It creates a warm and sunny vibe all its own. In fact, this is the best color for living room walls for creating a serene but happy space.
Go bright or light
As with any hue, the more saturated, the brighter the vibe. Peach is also a color that pairs well with a range of other popular living room colors. These include brights like the turquoise in this room by Decor RX. This color works well with any decor style, from the most traditional to ultra-modern minimalist living rooms.
As PPG Paints says, blue is “America’s favorite color” so it’s no wonder that it is the choice for many a living room. This is truly a color that works in any home and in any style of interior.
It can be a challenge to choose the best blue paint color for a living room. From pale powdery shades to mid-range gray-blues, all the way to bolder dark choices, there are so many options.
Neutral shades of blue
This mid-century living room in a Sydney, Australia rental home is painted in a blue that has a gray undertone. Even though it’s a bolder choice, it still blends well with the other colors in the space and is a wonderful counterpoint to the warm hues of wood in the room.
This and many shades of blue can work as neutral tones.
When considering what is the best wall color for a living room color scheme, most people stayed away from dark cobalt blue. Because it’s similar to black, it fell victim to the general fear of very dark colors.
A fresh look
Now, homeowners are finding that a bold statement hue can be the best color for a living room. Painting the walls in a dark cobalt blue is among the boldest living room design ideas that don’t overwhelm the space.
This eclectic room by Sarah Greenman feels light and airy even with the dark walls. By using lighter, warmer neutrals throughout the room, the vibe stays casual and comfortable.
Just as a navy blue blazer is right for any occasion, navy blue walls are always a great choice. Among the best living room paint colors, navy blue is a classic choice that may have arisen out of traditional decor but is also ideal for more contemporary spaces.
Striking color palettes
The deep blue color is the perfect backdrop to highlight mirrors, metallic elements or standout light fixtures. This transitional London living room photographed by Alex Maguire shows how to do it right.
Lightened by the crisp white trim and fireplace, navy blue walls can be paired with other pieces that are saturated with color. Here, that is the velvet sofa. Or, you can also highlight it with other bright colors.
Bold in a way that navy blue is not, peacock is as attention-getting as its namesake bird. that said, it might not be the first thought when searching for best color for living room walls. However, paint a living room in this rich color and watch it come to life.
Peacock has often been used for pops of color with accessories. By contrast, it has been less frequently used on the walls but really does belong there. In this south London Victorian living room, photographed by Chris Snook, peacock sets the perfect scene. It’s the best color for a living room that mixes up styles and decor genres.
If you already have an eclectic space, this is one of the best living room color palettes for bringing life to the room.
Cream is definitely among the best light paint colors for a living room. Moreover, it’s without compare when you want to achieve a certain level of sophistication with timeless neutrals. You can mix it with soft colors, bold ones or other accent colors.
Most versatile color scheme
An all-cream living room is like the chic look of a monochromatic designer outfit. Outfitting the space with neutral pieces in natural tones creates a glamorous, high-end feeling.
This room from Dana Pope Designs has that covered “interior designer” look. Paired with rich-looking metallic elements like lighting, mirrors and frames, it makes a very inviting space.
And, just as with shades of white, there are quite literally hundreds of choices for shades of cream. This allows you to play up a certain feeling or color undertone when choosing the best color for living room walls.
Whether you call it salmon or coral, this paint color is the perfect shade of orangey reddish pink for adding a lively note to a living room. Salmon is definitely a happy color, no matter if it’s bold or pale, invigorating and energizing.
Good color combinations
This living from paint color is ideally matched with shades of white or other neutrals. Other bright colors are best left as accents when the walls are painted a vibrant salmon.
This Dulux living room uses the boldest salmon shade for the accent wall and a paler version on the other walls.
Red is a powerful and unexpected color choice for the living room. Once again, the choice of hues ranges widely. From the more brick-red color of this room by Achille of Paris to more vibrant red jewel tones, the boldness depends on personal taste and design goals for your living room color scheme.
Balance a bold color choice
Of course, if a whole room done in red is a bit too bold, then opting for an accent wall is a good choice. This room balances the red with complementary sofas and lots of white, making it the best wall color combination for a living room.
On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with going all out with four walls of red if that is appealing. For drama and impact, red is the best color for living room walls.
Millennial pink has faded as a trend but more vibrant pinks are increasingly common choices as the best color for a living room. In fact, a bolder pink was Pantone’s color of the year in 2010. Once relegated to girls’ bedrooms and the occasional bathroom, it’s now a popular color scheme.
A fresh color scheme
This design by Joni Spear keeps the color fresh and vibrant by combining it with apple-green accents. A white leather sectional sofa makes the colors pop.
Pink has so much potential that this bright color is moving from trendy to a permanent choice as the best color for a living room.
In the past, green was most often considered appropriate for accents and furniture. It was not necessarily thought of as the best color for living room walls.
This hue has now broken out of its box and is on walls everywhere. This is especially true when it’s an earthy green that helps create a cozy and casual living room.
The muted shade in the Chicago room by Jennifer Harris Interiors ties together the other elements. The wall color makes a unified decor scheme without seeming contrived. Although it’s not a pastel, it still evokes a serene feeling and is the best color choice for a living room that’s serene.
Another color in the green family of hues is olive. This is far earthier than the previous shade of green. In fact, it trends much further on the spectrum toward yellow. For a contemporary living room, like this Elliot Kauffman design, it’s a decidedly chic choice for a living room color scheme.
Great warm tones
Olive-colored living room paint is an ideal backdrop for today’s largely neutral color schemes that are still very popular among homeowners. Natural materials and plenty of texture are important elements for a neutral environment to have the most interesting arrangement.
One of the most attention-getting living room paint colors is without doubt chartreuse. It’s that hard-to-define, acidy yellow-green that stands out no matter where you apply it.
Conventional wisdom was that chartreuse is best paired with muted colors. However, times have changed and now it’s used alongside other bright hues in living room color schemes.
This Katie Ridder room is great for color inspiration.
Brave color choice
The combination is not for the meek but the assortment in this room creates a colorful, sophisticated and unique interior. Part of the reason the color works in this room is that the wall art is neutral. In addition, the accent colors are confined to the sideboard, chairs and accents.
Similar to peacock but less saturated, jade green is another rich but muted option for adding a good bit of color to a space. Jade green living room paint colors vary, as do their namesake gemstones. In fact, this bold shade of green is the best color for a small living room with some drama.
From more vibrant greens to pale pastel minty hues and more bluish-green tones, there are lots of options for jade green living room colors. The walls in this Acquire Boutique room are a great example.
You can mix jade in a color scheme with all sorts of hues, like the leaf green chairs, blue rug and floral footstool. Altogether it makes for an eclectic and comfortable space where you can feel relaxed.
Brown was once the most maligned color for fashion as well as home decor. This is probably because of the horrible styles that emerged during the 1970s.
Now, the current penchant for a neutral living room color scheme changed the situation. Brown is on the list of the best paint living room paint colors.
Not your grandmother’s brown
This transitional living room by Carolina Design Associates uses a rock brown on the walls to serve as a counterpoint to the off-white sofa and lighter armchairs. The darker walls also help highlight wall art as well as the large armoire.
For a soft and gentle mood, lilac is a perfect, if not unexpected, choice among the best living room paint colors. Lilac paint provides a hint of color without dominating the space. It’s the ideal choice for a room that is either a little frilly or eclectic where you want a bit of color but still have pieces that need to stand out. A good example is this room in San Francisco, where the highlight is the painted cupboard.
Soft and gentle, lilac is a perfect, if not unexpected, choice among the best light paint colors for a living room. Lilac paint is a neutral that provides a hint of color without dominating the space.
Living Room Paint Colors For 2022
Pantone’s Very Peri put lilac into the spotlight. It’s the ideal choice for a room that is either a little frilly or eclectic. It works in living room color schemes where you want a bit of color but still have pieces that need to stand out.
A good example is this room with cool tones in San Francisco, where the highlight is the painted cupboard.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
What color should I paint my living room?
When it comes to the best color for a living room, there are many things to consider. Take a look at what colors are already in your space. Unless you plan on buying new furniture, you need to work with their colors.
Also, what colors do you like? A certain color might be among the best light paint colors for a living room but if you don’t like it, don’t choose it. Finally, pick a living room color scheme that creates the mood you want for your space.
What colors make a living room look bigger?
In general, a light paint color will make a living room look bigger. That said, you’re not limited to a crisp white or a creamy white. Just about any color in a pale shade will do the trick. Everything from a soft yellow to a cloudy gray or pale blue makes a space feel airy and open.
What colors go with gray walls in a living room?
If your living room has gray walls there are many color choices. Obviously, white is a classic pairing and looks very crisp. Otherwise, consider colors like dusty pink, bright red, cobalt blue, yellow, and shades of green. All of these colors will pair nicely, whether they are bold or pale tones.
Should a hallway be the same color as a living room?
Opinions may vary but unless your living room is all neutral, the answer is probably no. Generally, hallways should be neutral so that they can pair with any other rooms that connect to them. On the other hand, if you have a large opening to the hallway and want it to blend together, then yes, make it match. Much of this choice comes down to personal preference and what you think looks best.
What color paint goes with a beige tile living room?
Many modern living rooms have beige tile and the colors that go best are usually earthy, warm tones. Colors like ash grey, soft blues with warmer undertones, soft pinks and even mint greens work with a beige tile living room. Also, true-earth tones are also a good choice for a cozy family room. In general, you want a color that has a warm feel.
Now, all these great color choices should have you inspired to paint your living room. Just remember that the best living room paint color is the one that you love and that looks good in your space.