How to Choose Paint Colors

Why choose wikiHow?
When you see the green expert checkmark on a wikiHow article, you know that the article has received careful review by a qualified expert. If you are on a medical article, that means that an actual doctor, nurse or other medical professional from our medical review board reviewed and approved it. Similarly, veterinarians review our pet articles, lawyers review our legal articles, and other experts review articles based on their specific areas of expertise.

How to Choose Living Room Colors

Three Parts:

You've heard thrilling tales of excitement and relaxation, set between walls of taupe and accented beautifully with maroon or a deep royal blue. These stories keep you up at night, dreaming of the perfect color scheme for your own living room. Whether guided by the mood you’re hoping to create or a tendency to surround yourself with tried and true thematic influences, you’ll benefit from an understanding of how to match colors and determine dominant, secondary, and accent hues. You can choose the perfect paint, furniture, and accent colors by following a few simple guidelines.


Deciding on the Ambiance You Want

  1. Develop an idea of the mood you want to create.Ambiance refers to the tone, character, and atmosphere of an environment.Ambiance can strongly affect the mood that a room imbues. Think about the role you want the room to play in your life.Among the most important factors to consider are the following:
    • What do you use the room for (watching TV, entertaining, reading, etc.)?
    • What time of day you tend to use the living room?
    • Are you hoping for the room to energize or relax you?
    • Do you usually allow sunlight in through the windows?
  2. Take advantage of natural light.There are certain color combinations meant for supremely sunny spaces. If the living room will be occupied during the day and is particularly well-lit by the sun, color the walls with saturated jewel tones or earthy shades.
    • Bright tones, like a sapphire blue or emerald green look great in the sun.
    • Similarly, dark earthy shades only work in spaces with a lot of natural light, since the light prevents the living room from looking too dark.
    • Note that these colors tend to be overpowering in lower light, and should not be used in rooms that are not well lit.
    • Keep in mind that if you put up wallpaper in a room with lots of natural light, it will fade over time.
  3. Lighten up a dark room with sunny hues.If, on the other hand, your living room doesn’t get a good amount of sunlight, or you’ll spend more time in your living room during the evening, there are certain colors than can help brighten the space up.
    • Ivory and buttercup yellow can make a living room that does not receive much light look brighter, especially when these colors are prominently used.
    • A space with low light can be made to look bright and cheery by using light greens and blues as well.
  4. Create a warm space with warm tones.A similar, though distinct, aspect to consider is a room’s warmth. Deep reds, burnt oranges, and nearly all shades of gold and brown can be used to create a cozy, glowing space that is especially appropriate for a living room.
    • These combinations are great for living rooms that are used both during the day and in the evening, as they emphasize comfort over energy, but aren’t too dark for daytime use.
    • Avoid using bright shades of red or orange as dominant or secondary colors, though, since these colors tend to carry too much energy and may seem overwhelming in excess.
    • Earth tones, such as deep yellows, browns, and rusty reds, can warm up the space and look great in every light.
  5. Relax the room with cool tones.On the other hand, blues, cool violets, and grays are especially useful in creating a calm atmosphere capable of soothing you, your family, and your guests.
    • If your living room tends to have occupants predominantly in the evening, cooling tones may be best, especially if you tend to relax in this space.
    • Green is a good choice if you want to create a grounding and calming effect.
  6. Use light colors in a small room.Light colors tend to open up a space and can make it seem larger. If your living room is small, opt for light, bright colors like white, cream, and beige.
    • You could paint the walls a light color and add accents in richer colors.
  7. Opt for darker colors in a large room.Darker colors make a space seem more enclosed, so they shouldn’t be used in small rooms. If you have a large, open space, however, feel free to choose a deep hue, such as navy blue or plum.
    • Generally, you should avoid painting an entire room a dark color. Stick with a single accent wall instead.

Sticking with Proven Palette Approaches

  1. Follow the 60-30-10 rule.Regardless of the colors you choose, it’s helpful to plan how much space each color will account for. As a rule of thumb, 60% of your living room should be a dominant color, 30% should be a secondary color, and 10% should be an accent color.
    • Choose dominant and secondary colors you're especially comfortable with. Know that your dominant color choice will greatly impact the room's feel. Don't choose a dominant or secondary color that you are not absolutely sure of.
    • Only use bold colors as accent colors. A punch of powerful color can do wonders to the energy and character of a space. Make this sort of impact with your accent color. For a sense of vitality, make your accent color the brightest of your palette.
    • Ensure that all 3 colors coordinate well with one another. Group your chosen colors together in a small trial area before committing to painting and decorating the whole room.
    • You might want to use a neutral color as a base, like beige or gray, as they are versatile and classic.
  2. Match the color scheme of your furnishings.For instance, if you have modern furniture and decorations, you will probably be better off with a modern color scheme of white, black, and gray than you would be with a traditional color scheme filled with rich hues.
  3. Stick with white for a simple, clean option.White is the safest bet there is.While some may prefer a more interesting dominant color, there’s no denying that all-white or mostly-white color schemes can create a very clean, crisp living room.
    • You can choose from a wide variety of “white,” such as off-white, cream, eggshell, grey-white, or antique white.
  4. Use subtle shades for a contemporary color theme.Contemporary colors include subtle, muted shades of natural colors that can help create a calm atmosphere while still allowing you to inject a bit of personal style into the space.
    • Light browns and soft grays can readily serve as dominant colors, and slightly darker shades of the same colors make great secondary and accent colors.
  5. Opt for neutral colors to modernize your living room.One popular approach when updating a living space is to make it feel more modern. Certain colors combinations help facilitate a more modern feel. In general, create a modern living room by using neutral colors.
    • White acts as the dominant color in most modern living rooms. Black or gray make great secondary colors.You can also add an intense, bright hue as an accent, such as a bright green or fire engine red.
  6. Combine neutrals and rich colors for a traditional color scheme.Traditional living room designs use deep shades of elegant colors to invoke an almost formal classiness in your living room. Use neutral colors for walls and other dominant swaths of space, but weave in secondary and accent hues in rich shades of red, blue, or brown.
    • You can even make the room seem more regal and traditional by choosing a “historical” color like colonial yellow, hunter green, pearl gray, or Prussian blue.
  7. Employ a transitional color scheme if you enjoy traditional and modern decor.A transitional color scheme combines the colors commonly found in both contemporary and traditional spaces.Incorporate contemporary shades of tan and vanilla with rich hues like maroon or navy blue.
    • Taking a transitional approach is a great option, as it imbues a sense of both fun and class. If you like both traditional and modern decor, transitional might be the best choice for you.

Going Your Own Way with Color Selection

  1. Familiarize yourself with the color wheel.In order to know how to balance colors, you should have a general idea of where they are in relation to one another on the wheel. Typically, complementary colors—colors found on polar opposite ends of the wheel—coordinate well with one another.
  2. Pair complementary colors.Since complementary colors are effectively opposites, they play off of one another in order to make one another "pop" or stand out.Examples of complimentary colors include; red and green, orange and blue, or yellow and violet.
    • Due to the vibrant nature of complementary colors, you may want to consider using muted shades of the colors you favor. Bright shades of complementary colors have a tendency to assault the eyes, but muted shades can add a pleasant buzz of energy to your living room.
  3. Compare swatches before painting or buying furniture and accents.If you feel uncertain about how a prospective color scheme might look, look at paint cards, swatches of fabric, or other color samples side by side. Bring swatches and paint cards home to your living room, and hold them up in the spaces you’re considering using them.
    • Take advantage of this mini test run before you invest time and money in paint and furnishings.
    • Paint cards are readily available at both hardware stores and paint suppliers, while fabric swatches can be found at furniture stores. Either can be sent directly to your home by manufacturers.
  4. Stick with the colors you love.Instead of trying to create a living room that looks impressive, create a living room that feels comfortable. It’s your living room after all, and should be decorated according to what you like. Further, the more comfortable you feel in it, the happier you’ll be showing it off.
    • Go with your gut. If a certain color makes you feel happy or peaceful, use it!
  5. Get inspiration from a prominent piece in the room.If you’re having trouble deciding on a color scheme, look no further than the objects you intend to keep in the room. Prominent pieces of art or furniture can greatly complement (and be complemented by) the color scheme you choose. Planning for what you intend to have in the room will also ensure that your color scheme coordinates with the most noticeable pieces in your living room.
    • If you have a patterned couch, for instance, snatch colors from that pattern to create your overall color scheme.
    • If you have a piece of artwork that you want to dominate the space, play to its prominence with the colors you choose. You might match your accent color to a prominent color featured in the piece, for instance.
    • You could also get inspiration from a sculpture or accessory. Bring the item to the store with you to help you match paint, window treatments, or other furnishings to it.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    What color for walls will match a beige marble fireplace, beige carpet, and pewter and silver suite?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    A light blue or other pale color would look good. Or, if you're looking for a more neutral color scheme, maybe a darker gray or light brown.
  • Question
    Which color is the best accent for a black and white living room?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can choose your favorite color because just about every color goes with black and white. I would choose turquoise but it really depends whether you want a dark or light finish.
  • Question
    How do I choose a color?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Go to a local hardware store that sells paint and speak to a professional that works there or explore the paint section.
  • Question
    My lounge has magnolia-colored walls and we want to change everything inside. What color sofas, carpet and curtains would go well with cream walls? Might have a 1-color sectioned wall, too.
    Top Answerer
    Most colors go nicely with magnolia. Stronger, darker colors contrast well. You could consider dark red, navy blue, forest green or chocolate brown. Caramel shades and neutral stone and beige shades also work well. Pick a carpet, curtains or sofa that you like and build your color scheme around it. The only shades that won't work are pastel shades and off-whites, such as ivory.
  • Question
    I have a charcoal grey sofa and white teak laminate. What color would be suitable for the one wall and the curtains?
    Community Answer
    Your neutral color pallet will work well with almost any scheme. I would choose a white or light colored curtain and use the wall for a splash of color. I would suggest something bright, like a rich jewel tone to liven up the space, or something like olive if the room gets lots of light and you want a classic calm feeling.
  • Question
    I have a greyish beige couch, light beige carpet, and maroon curtains. What should be my advent colors for small decorations?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    For small decorations, a dark green or blue would look good -- or some white and black. With those colors, do a combo of light and dark colors.
  • Question
    I have a large living room; the new carpet I have choose is mellow mocha. What colors would work well?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    A nice soft blue or mellow yellow will go very well.
  • Question
    How do I make my living room modern?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Modern living rooms tend to use white geometric colors with the occasional splash of another lighter color in harmony with the white. A lot of modern living spaces have silvers and golds, giving the room a more modern feel and a variation in texture.
  • Question
    What color cushions should I have with a light grey sofa?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    With a grey sofa, you could use pretty much any color. If you want to maintain a neutral/dark look, I would get either white or dark grey pillows. If you'd rather add some colors, maybe a light brown or dark green would look good.
  • Question
    Should the colors of my bedroom coordinate with the living room colors?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Choosing a coordinating color, like a different shade of the same color, will create a cohesive look throughout your home.
Unanswered Questions
  • I have a pearl colored sofas set. What colors would be nice for wall decorations and curtains?
  • How do I pick the right furniture color for my home?
Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.
  • Check your closet for ideas. People tend to wear clothes in colors they favor, without thinking too much about it.
  • Color the living room from floor to ceiling, dark to light. Use darker colors near the floor, medium shades on the walls, and lighter shades on the ceiling. This can create a comfortable setting that mimics the natural world. In nature, the rich hue of soil is darker than the flowers, trees, and structures seen at eye level, and on a sunny day, the sky provides substantial brightness.
  • You don’t have to switch everything up at once. Whether you’re redesigning an existing room or starting from scratch, bring in one color at a time. See how you like it before adding a few more colors. This will allow you to create a color palette you truly love.

Video: How to Choose The Perfect Wall Color | Southern Living

How to Choose Living Room Colors
How to Choose Living Room Colors images

2019 year
2019 year - How to Choose Living Room Colors pictures

How to Choose Living Room Colors advise
How to Choose Living Room Colors advise photo

How to Choose Living Room Colors images
How to Choose Living Room Colors pictures

How to Choose Living Room Colors How to Choose Living Room Colors new pictures
How to Choose Living Room Colors new foto

picture How to Choose Living Room Colors
pics How to Choose Living Room Colors

Watch How to Choose Living Room Colors video
Watch How to Choose Living Room Colors video

Forum on this topic: How to Choose Living Room Colors, how-to-choose-living-room-colors/
Forum on this topic: How to Choose Living Room Colors, how-to-choose-living-room-colors/ , how-to-choose-living-room-colors/

Related News

NHS Talk Before You Walk’ Policy Could See Patients Without A Referral Banned From AE
Edun SpringSummer 2014 RTW – New York Fashion Week
9 daily habits of stylish women
6 Original Wedding Centerpieces
40 Masterpiece Undercut Designs
How to Wear White Wide Leg Pants – 10 Outfit Ideas with Wide Pants
Sofia Vergara Bra Size, Height and Weight
User: PinkStar
Watch Jeopardy’ Contestants Tackle an All-BeyoncéCategory
We Need to Talk About The Passion’ Star JencarlosCanela
2015 Fashionable Work Outfit Ideas with Checkered Pieces

Date: 13.12.2018, 14:31 / Views: 75362

Back to Top