Best Color for a Living Room

Beth Asaff

Color is an important part of redecorating, and often the best color for a living room can be found in the room itself.

The Role of Color

Color can quickly transform a space, adding personality, life and interest to any room. There are several ways to inject color into your living room design, from the color of the walls themselves, to throw pillows, rugs and wall art.

When properly used, color can do even more to a space; it can change the way the room is perceived. Some colors move toward you or away from you visually, which can change the way you view the shape or size of a room. If you have a living room that is long and narrow, large and echoing or simply high or low ceilinged, color can go a long way toward making the most of the space.

The Best Color for a Living Room

There is no one best color for any space; some living rooms will look better with a lighter, cooler tone while others will benefit from a dark, warm color. Personal taste of the homeowner, overarching theme or style and the accent colors already in the room can all effect what the best color for a living room will be.

When deciding what color to paint your living room, begin by accessing the room's size and shape to find the color groups that will work best in the space.

Small or Narrow Living Rooms

If your goal is to visually enlarge your living room, consider using colors that have a cool tone to them. Cool colors like grays, whites, blues and some greens recede from your eye when you look at them. Using cool tones can help open up a small room.

Large Living Rooms

If the goal is to make a large room look homier, cozier or more inviting, consider using a warm color on the walls. Warm colors contract when you look at them, making the room look smaller. This is why many people find colors like gold, yellow and red to be "cozy". If you want to create a conversation area in one section of the room, consider using a warm colored accent wall against three neutral walls to set the area apart and give the room depth.

High Ceiling Rooms

If your living room has very high ceilings, anchor the room with dark or medium dark colors on the walls. Paint the ceiling itself in a lighter version of a color in the same family to help bring it down visually.

Low Ceiling Rooms

Keep a room with low ceilings painted in light neutral tones to give the room visual height. Make the ceiling color itself a cool toned white or light gray to visually push it away.

Lots of Natural Light

If your living room has a lot of windows, sky lights or other sources of natural light, consider using a dark color on the walls to give the room richness and depth. Keep your accent colors lighter to balance this effect.

Dark Rooms

Keep paint colors in the pastel family if the room is dark or does not get a great deal of natural light. Light colors reflect any natural light that comes toward them, helping to illuminate the room.

Choosing Your Living Room Color

The best color for a living room in your home is one that reacts to the needs of the space and ties in well with any accent colors already in the space. Be sure to take a look at your drapes, rugs, pillows and wall art for inspirations when you choose your living room colors. Look to the other rooms nearby as well, to help create a color story as you move from room to room. By paying attention to what your living room is telling you, you'll be sure to find the best color for your living room.

Best Color for a Living Room