Most popular paint colors for a living room

Updated July 20, 2017

The easiest thing to change in any room, giving you the most bang for your decorating buck, is paint. With 7 million colours discernible to the human eye, however, selecting the right colour, shade and hue for your living room can seem daunting. Nonetheless, if you stick to the most popular paint colours for living rooms, you can't go wrong.

Cool Colors

Cool colours tend to make people feel calm and relaxed. Painting a living room a cool colour invites your family and guests to sit and stay a while. To put one's feet up and grab a book or work on some needlework. To slow down, sit and enjoy a cup of tea and a conversation with a good friend or family member. The most popular cool colour for painting a living room is sage green. Sage's dusty appearance, particularly when painting in a low sheen, is warm and inviting. Choose true sages, those lacking a lot of grey, for added warmth. For a more modern look, choose a sage green heavy on grey. Throw in a touch of red, green's complimentary hue on the colour wheel, for a punch of drama or added warmth. Select a soft red such as watermelon or deep geranium red for a diffused, blended look, or a brilliant, clear, Christmas red for drama. Ceilings in sage-green rooms invite the use of a slightly tinted white paint. Add just a slight amount of pink for an "Is that ceiling white or coloured?" look. This maintains the soft, dusty look while creating additional warmth in your living room.

Warm Colors

Warm colours bring warmth, energy and vitality to a room. Paint your living room a warm colour to bring it to life, invite lively conversation, nights playing games with friends and family, television and movies. Red in all its shades is a popular warm colour for a living room. Deep, rich reds speak of elegance while turning the heat up without touching a thermostat. Reds run the gamut from browned reds such as flannel long johns to deep burgundies, from dusty watermelon hues to shades reminiscent of wines. Each hue evokes different feelings and emotions. Bring paint swatches home to narrow down the search, then purchase sample jars of paint to be sure you get the shade selection right. If your room will not support all red, paint an accent wall a shade of red to highlight your fireplace for an added punch of drama and warmth to your room. When painting a room red, consider painting your ceiling a not-quite white, tinted with just the smallest amount of pink or coral, depending on the red you're using. This white will appear white with just the barest hint of colour visible when shadows interplay. Yellow is another popular warm colour. Select a clear, soft yellow that almost serves as a neutral. Angles and accessories in your room will serve to vary the hue throughout the room. Avoid yellows that are too gold or too green, as most people tire of these quickly. When painting a living room yellow, stay with bright white ceilings for a fresh, clean look.

Neutral Colors

By far the most popular colours for living rooms are neutral buff, cream, tan and taupe. These hues warm up your room while creating a neutral background for your furniture, draperies and accessories, and are mainstays in decorating. Consider shades when selecting neutral paint colours. Taupe is one colour that's often misread, available from warm, rich shades through cold grey-toned hues. While cool, greyed tones are fine for modern, contemporary looks, but be aware that in the midst of winter, with the leaves off the trees and the lack of natural light, they may feel and appear cool and stark. Bring lots of paint swatches home from the paint store and choose your neutral colour carefully for years of enjoyment. You can quickly change the look and feel of neutral-painted living rooms by swapping out accessories and draperies, making it the most versatile room in your house. Clear white ceilings generally work best with neutral walls, opening up your space and giving the illusion of lots of elbow room.

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About the Author

Marge Burkell is a professional artist that has been writing since 1985. Specializing in home and garden, quilting and crafts, her work has appeared in "Quilting Today," "Art to Wear" and "Craft & Needlework" as well as her own line of sewing patterns. Burkell authors multiple blogs and has written for iVillage, among other Internet sites.