How to Pick Paint Colors for a Living Room

Written by amy davidson
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How to Pick Paint Colors for a Living Room
A good colour scheme can pull a room together. (living room interior image by leafy from

Picking a paint colour for your living room can be hard to do, with all the many different shades available. However, with a few easy steps and tips for picking out colours for your living room, the process can be made much simpler. Choose a colour scheme for your living room that fits in nicely with your home and personal style to guide your paint colour choice for the walls.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Focus piece
  • Colour swatches

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  1. 1

    Find a focus piece that you like for your living room that can serve as the basis for the rest of your colour choices and design options. This can be a sofa, a wall hanging or even something small like a colourful pillow or table.

  2. 2

    Go to your local hardware or paint store and look for four or five colour swatches that have similar colours and shades as your focus piece. These swatches will help in the future when shopping for other pieces in your room.

  3. 3

    Place the colour swatches next to your focus piece and against the walls to decide which swatch you like best. Typically, your best choice will have at least one colour in the swatch that matches a colour in your focus piece exactly.

  4. 4

    Consider one of the lighter shades on your swatch for the walls. Unless you have a very large living room, you'll want to stick with lighter shades for walls, as the lighter shades can really open up a space. If you have a large living room, especially with lots of windows and light, you can choose a darker shade.

  5. 5

    Check the contrasting colours on your swatch. For a larger room, you can opt to paint two walls opposite each other with the contrasting colour. For a smaller room, painting one accent wall a contrasting colour can add a bold effect without making your room seem enclosed.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don't have any furniture or pieces to use as your focus piece, choose a fabric that you love. You can then use it to make a focus piece--for example, a throw pillow--or frame it for a different twist on a wall hanging.

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