Home:Living Room Ideas: Living Room Color Schemes

Living Room Color Schemes

Often, we find ourselves living devoid of color because we're too afraid, too stressed, or too busy, to make color choices.

We get used to our white walls, and hang pictures or buy knick knacks, instead of doing what really makes the space come alive ~ choosing inspired room color schemes.

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Designers often use paintings to come up with living room color schemes, as in this photo, courtesy of Sheila Reilly Design.

Chances are, that's a good start, because if the client chose the painting, rug, or collectible, they must like the overall 'feeling' of those colors.

Now, it's time to get busy planning living room color schemes.

Get To Know Yourself Through Color

Some of your likes and dislikes when it comes to color can be traced back to childhood memories ~ which is why you should not be persuaded into using living room color schemes just because someone says it's the 'hot' new trend.

Nor should you be using all neutral colors if you find them boring, just because a so called expert says it's refined, tasteful, or in style. Baloney!

I believe that color can be appealing to the majority of people, when it is done well, and works with the overall design.

deisgner help with living room color schemes

When planning room color schemes, Interior designers often assemble swatches of fabric, wood, tile, paint, and samples, to view them as a group.

Since our tastes are constantly evolving, it's a lot easier to know what you don't like rather than to figure out what you do.

One way to get a feel for what you do like, is to look through fabric sample books and find color combinations, patterns and textures that speak to you. Pulling living room color schemes from your favorite textile, painting or collectible can also inspire you to try a new decorating theme.

If you're not comfortable making all these decisions by yourself, then you may want to hire a professional to help you. Or it may be that you need time to assimilate room interior designs by thinking and feeling your way through all the possibilities. You'll get better results if you don't rush.

The New Home Dilemma, Where To Start?

When moving into a new home, we have a tendency to leave it alone until after we've settled in. This is especially true in new construction where everything is usually painted white by the builder.

This two story living room uses a neutral color scheme blanced by

Due to an open floor plan, and the fact that they want to sell in five years, this homeowner decided to keep their white walls. Then came the task of finding other ways to enhance living room color schemes. (besides wall paint)

By adding crown molding, window trim, and built-ins, then painting all (including doors) an accent color, (mushroom in this case) they were able to add more architectural interest.

Getting rid of builder grade white carpeting and replacing it with Travertine floors, was a great way to add color and movement, while increasing the home's resale value.

And finally, furniture, rugs, and tall living room window treatments, pulled this living room color scheme together.

If you don't have cash for new living room furniture or flooring, then paint is the more frugal option. Beside walls and trim, you can also paint furniture, accessories, or wood floors.

If that advice turns out to be 'neutral', and you love color, why not get colorful with your furniture, rugs, and accents as the homeowner above did? At least you can take those with you.

What Color Should I Paint My Living Room?

When choosing paint for living room color schemes, your decorating theme plays a large part in that decision. Modern, Tuscan, French, Country, or Cottage styles can all have very different "expected" color palettes. Some decorating styles are better suited to vibrant colors, while others would feel better with earth tones or pale tints.

darker living room color schemes such as this one in greens and browns with red accents, are better for light flooded areas

Other details that can affect your color choices are how much light the room gets, room size, ceiling height, furnishings, etc.

Darker living room color schemes such as this, with greens, orange browns, and red accents, works well in this light flooded area.

Notice the difference in the two photos above, the first appears cooler in temperature, while the other warm, using a saturated color scheme. Which are you more attracted to? Cool or Warm?

You want to be aware that dark paint colors in a large room, may appear even darker, because there's much more of it. You may want to go a shade or two lighter than what you see on the paint chip, or alternate darker and lighter shades as they did above.

Also the more sheen a paint has the lighter it will appear. Using gloss or metallic paints is a great way to reflect more light in smaller or enclosed spaces like hallways.

Unless you're starting from scratch, or repainting and reupholstering everything, you'll need to have colors that work with what you already have.

You can go with a pre-planned color palette from a book or magazine if you see something that strikes your fancy.

living room color schemes made easy with the use of a color wheel

In room color schemes, I talked about 'warm' vs. 'cool' colors but just about any color can be mixed to suit your tastes. Color is a chameleon of sorts, as different types of light will change the way it looks, and so will adding a complimentary, or opposite, to your color scheme.

Even 'cool' colors like: purples, blues and greens can appear 'warm-er' if mixed with yellow or red.

Complementary color schemes use opposites on the color wheel and can vary in hue. Green complements red nicely, as do blues with orange or yellows with violet. This works best when you pick one color to be the primary room color and one or two complementary colors as accents.

Analogous color schemes sit side by side on the color wheel and look good together because they are related.

Monochromatic color schemes use just one color but different tints of that color to keep it interesting.

Room Color Schemes ~ Living in a Neutral Zone

Lastly, your living room color schemes don't have to match the rest of the house. Mixing ~ rather than trying to match ~ will give you greater flexibility, and in the case of open floor plans, repeating a color from one room to another, can help tie the two rooms together.

In this open floorplan, neutral room color schemes of warm browns, white, and black were repeated throughout

This is super easy to do with colors like black, white, gray and brown, which are more neutral, and lean to the warm or cool side depending on what other colors you pair with them. And just as there are many different shades of white, there can be warm grays and cool browns.

In this open floor plan, neutral room color schemes of warm browns, white, and black were repeated throughout.

It may not be your cup of tea with it's restrained elegance, but it may be what buyers in this price range and style of home expect.

Focal Points In Living Room Color Schemes

Fireplaces can be a negative focal point if they're boring, dated, or don't reflect the rooms interior design or color scheme, but you'll find lots of remodel ideas for fireplaces on this site that can help you fix that.

You can also turn a whole wall into a beautiful focal point with Venetian plaster techniques, or faux paint finishes.

Once you start painting over those white walls, you may find you just can't stop! You'll want to keep color flowing through your home and your life.