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How to
Choose a Wall Color in the Living Room

As the social center of the home, the living room plays many roles. It is a busy place where families gather and guests are entertained, a focal point for seasonal celebrations and decorations, and a quiet refuge for relaxing and reading. The wall colors for this multipurpose space should provide a flexible backdrop to this ebb and flow of activities.


Pick up the natural
stone colors of the
hearth when
choosing a paint
color for living
room walls.


Simply because of their scale, the sofa and flooring should play a major role in the choice of living room paint colors. Generally, it's best to let one of them take the lead. If the sofa plays a neutral role, choose a paint color that plays off of the room's accents. A warm neutral picks up colors found in a natural stone fireplace and highlights reds in the carpet and pillows.

Paired with brown or softened with gray, mellowed shades of blue and green work like neutrals. Taking its cue from the kilim–inspired pillows, a cool blue, accented with crisp white trim, can show off sandy neutrals and darker woods with effortless grace.


Minimizing the contrast between trim and walls has a way of calming down a space and making it seem larger. This is put to good use in living rooms, which are prone to busyness or clutter. Instead of painting the bookcase and French doors the same soft color as the walls, give them a slightly lighter shade to preserve their character and keep the whole effect understated.

In a room where living moves easily from indoors to out, draw on the palette of the landscape outside to dissolve the transition and visually expand the space. With dark wood keeping a room grounded, a pale green creates a restful airiness throughout the space.