living room color ideas

10 Living Room Color Ideas for a Perfect Interior Design

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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A living room is called the living room for a reason. All life emanates from this part of the house, and it is where guests will feel the energy of the house. For this reason, the living room must be vibrant and full of character and life. Here are living room color ideas to try out for a great interior design and good vibes to make this a reality.

Tips on Using Colors in the Living Room

Tips on Using Colors in the Living Room

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When working with color, it is more about how you use the color than the color itself. If you use too much color, you might miss out on making the living room look good. I try to balance the vibrant hues with neutral colors to avoid clashes. Here are more ways I use colors to make them practical in my living room.

1) Color Away from the Wall

The mistake most people make is that when they think of color, they think of painting the wall. I do not limit myself to the wall. There are other things to take advantage of that are not limited to the wall. I have seen some great designs where the wall barely has any colors.

 Color Away from the Wall

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Once you eliminate the notion that color has to be on the wall, you will start thinking more creatively, and ideas will start flowing.

2) Balance Color Energies

Balance Color Energies

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Colors give off particular energy that you need to take advantage of. If you are going for a warm feeling, you need to know which colors will work for that situation. If you are going for a vibrant outcome, you will gravitate toward other colors.

3) Represent Your Personality

When I say you should balance out the energies, I mean that you should pick colors that make you feel one with the space. If you love pastel hues, do not force yourself to go with a very hot color scheme.

Represent Your Personality

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The color scheme you pick should work for most people in the house. There is no need to have a dark or black living room for a family that is not gothic. The color scheme you pick should make everyone in the house comfortable.

4) Understand the Color Wheel

A color wheel is a useful tool to match the colors. I use the color wheel occasionally to avoid clashing the color scheme. The color wheel points you toward where you should go and where you should avoid it.

Understand the Color Wheel

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The color wheel has different types of colors, like complementary and analogous colors.

When you understand the color wheel, you will know that you can match color with its shades and not necessarily with other colors. There is a strong case for minimalism when you use this approach. Matching colors becomes way easier when you approach it this way.

5) Be Neat

It does not matter the type of colors you use; they will not look good if you do not match them neatly. Even a rustic interior has to be neat. If you are going for colors off the wall, you need to pick items that will make the house look good and in order.

Be Neat

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I have an eye for art deco, and if I am having trouble finding something that works, I look for an interior designer to help me out. Neatness plays a huge role in the outlook of the living room and how the colors you have used will be perceived.

6) Use Lighting Well

No one will see no point in having a good color combination. First, however, you must take full advantage of the lighting, whether it is paint color or colors you have distributed in deco.

Use Lighting Well

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Remember, you see color through light. If the light during the day is a white light from the sun, yellow bulbs will emit a different vibe in the house. You need to know how to use lighting for a consistent feel of the colors during the day and night unless you are going for something different.

Do not pick the same lighting as the main theme color. For instance, why have a blue light in a room full of blues and purples?

7) Represent Your Energy

I talked about personalities and colors earlier. However, I try to represent my energy when using colors. For example, do I want a masculine or feminine vibe in the living room? Once I know the kind of energy I am going for, it is easier for me to start distributing the colors more appropriately.

Represent Your Energy

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If there are kids in the house, having playful colors will make it easier for them to feel welcome in the living room. A thing with colors determines how the person occupying the space will feel and interact with the space.

8) Less is More

This is not a call for minimalism. However, there is a thing about restraint when doing anything. Do not try everything out all at once, whether it is decoration or just using colors. Go with one color scheme, and that is enough. There is no need to try out a color scheme on the floor and a different one on the walls and furniture.

 Less is More

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The one mistake I have seen people make is having different shades on different walls, which is not bad. However, it is tricky because one small mistake in matching the colors will have huge outcomes that everyone will see.

For instance, if I want to match green with pink and use pink on a whole wall and green on the other, I might mess up easily. If I do not hit the color combination correctly, I will end up with an ugly wall.

9) Neutral Color Schemes

Neutral Color Schemes

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A neutral space allows for space to use other colors on other things. I try to have neutral walls as much as possible to allow me to play with colors in other places. This way, I can easily change the colors in the room without bringing anything down. Using a neutral color brings a lot of freedom to an interior designer.

10) Theme

The theme you pick for your living room is only reflected in the colors you will use. For instance, if you are going for a vintage theme, there are shades that you will use and some that you will avoid. You might need to understand the color combinations of such periods to know what works best.


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If you are going for a royal theme, you need to know what royal colors look like and what you are likely to feel when you have them in the room.

Color Ideas

I will not focus only on the walls because the living room consists of other things that have nothing much to do with the wall. If the living room were empty, we would extensively discuss the walls. While it is true that we can not limit colors only to the walls, how we use color on the walls plays a huge role. Therefore, the wall is our first color decision.

a) The Wall

The wall sets the tone for the whole room. Therefore, the color we choose for the wall will determine how we use colors throughout the house. I prefer my walls to be neutral to allow me to use other colors in the house at will. Also, I avoid restricting myself to a color on the wall as I would have to bring it all down to change the vibe in the room.

The Wall

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Neutral colors work well

for me whenever I choose the color scheme for the walls.

b) Wall Art

wall art

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The wall art is a huge part of my living room. The best thing about wall art is that I can change them however I wish to. Wall art is not limiting, and they create the atmosphere I need. Wall art will match your personal style and bring out the inner personality that everyone can enjoy in the house.

c) Green

I use green in very subtle ways and rarely on the walls. Whenever I use green, there is a chance I get it from things like plants. Green is a very strong color that I would not commit to using in the whole living room.


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The colors to match with green make green look graceful and have a calming vibe.

For instance, olive green and champagne pink will work magic at any time.

The main way I use green in my house is by having plants in the house. Having plants makes the green look natural and accounted for.

d) Mustard Yellow

Mustard yellow does look good on the sofa. Having mustard yellow on the furniture works better for me than having it on a wall. Mustard is a special color that should not be over-used. Therefore, I pick and choose specific spots where I use mustard yellow.

Mustard Yellow

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Some places I have successfully used mustard yellow are on the lampshade, couch, bookshelf, and dining table. Mustard is a color that works not as the background color but as the main character.

e) Blue Hues

There are many ways blue tones make the living room look good. Blue is a strong color that will work for any living room color scheme. For example, a blue Chester couch will never go wrong. My house has one, which is the first thing most people comment on.

Blue Hues

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If you have blue undertones, matching other colors will be a walk in the park. For example, you can have a mustard yellow lampshade beside a blue couch. Likewise, you can have a red carpet that will work perfectly with the blue hues.

Blue works well for a wall color scheme as well. When used as wall curtaining, blue gives off a royal vibe.

Powder blue can work for curtains to give off the freshness coming from the windows. In addition, blue creates some lovely color palette ideas that hardly go wrong.

f) Gray Tones

Gray tones are an interior designer’s playing field. Having a gray couch means you can play around with the patterned throw pillows and have them in different colors. Gray works well for the family room, which is bound to have a lot of activities, especially if you have kids and pets. Gray becomes an easy color to maintain.

Gray Tones

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Gray works well with the natural light and the lighting you have at night. The color will blend in without much trouble. Gray works perfectly with white walls, and you have enough visual space to add anything else you feel like adding without messing up the color scheme.

g) Orange Accents

Orange is not a color scheme that I prefer on living room walls. There is something about orange that makes it a color that should be on the forefront, not the background. What will you do with the furniture if you have orange on the walls? There is a chance that living room color schemes run the risk of mismatching colors.

Orange Accents

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That said, orange works perfectly on curtains, lampshades, and centerpieces. Do not get me wrong; there are good ways to use vivid orange as a wall color. However, I would not recommend it.

h) Natural Materials

Instead of worrying about which living room color scheme to go for, I let nature do the job for me. This is because I have rocks in my house, which bring beautiful energy. Also, I have a sunny living room, which means the living room color scheme during the morning and evening is already established. Therefore, I can not afford to have a lot of yellow undertones because the sunrise and sunset already take care of that.

Natural Materials

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Plants are a huge part of my living room, making my soft gray sofa look relaxing in the background.

i) Contemporary Furniture

Contemporary Furniture

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Most contemporary furniture has a modern artwork feel to them. This is because they are semi-finished, and if it is wooden, it is left rugged and with their natural color. In addition, most contemporary art and furniture have a minimalist approach, which makes any color used on their stand out. For instance, having a simple dark gray chair with white cushions in the middle of an open space with large artwork on the wall makes for a great modern feel.

j) Calming Atmosphere

What is the most calming color palette you can use as your living room color scheme? I only approach color based on how it will make me feel. For example, crisp whites make a room feel cold, especially if the lighting is not worked on properly.

Calming Atmosphere

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Imagine having white walls with a dim white light at night. It will not work. Living rooms deserve a good balance of everything to create an inviting space. Soft colors balanced out with a darker color will never go wrong. Natural elements are an excuse to throw any color in the mix. For instance, no one will complain about mixed-color seashells.

Final Thoughts

You can create the perfect backdrop for soft tones or strong hues if you use colors correctly. From window treatments to the wall, floors, and furniture, getting the right living room color schemes has become an art and a science to be mastered.

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While there are a lot of living room color ideas in interior design, you have to personalize your space to feel welcome in it. I would not have a hot pink color in my living room, but maybe it works for you. Colors are versatile, and that is what makes it all beautiful.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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