Family room paint ideas – 10 best paint colors for informal living spaces

It's where we enjoy the comfort of home, so our family room paint ideas should embrace the bold and the beautiful

Family room paint ideas
(Image credit: Future)

Beautiful family room paint ideas are a quick and easy way to add personality to a family room, no matter the size or style. 

Whether your family room is an oasis of calm or home to a house full of children, nothing can transform a space like carefully-chosen paint ideas. Take a look at these brilliant family room paint ideas to inspire your own decorating scheme.

Family room paint ideas

When you are looking for family room ideas, paint should be the first thing to consider. Ensure your chosen hues work well in your room by applying testers of paint onto sheets of white paper, then tacking them onto each wall you’re thinking of using that color on. 

If you’re not confident in choosing a scheme, go with a pre-selected paint ideas palette already picked out by the paint brand you’re using, or take inspiration from the color wheel on working with tonal, harmonizing and contrasting colors.

1. Build up a layered palette

Family room paint ideas with yellow color scheme

(Image credit: Tim Salisbury)

When you typically consider using paint to create impact in a room, the first thought tends to be drenching the walls in a bright hue. While this is a tried and tested way of creating a statement, there are more delicate ways to achieve just as much of an impact. Mood-lifting and warm, yellow room ideas bring confidence and optimism to a space, so it is a no-brainer for this energetic room.

In this family room scheme from interior designer Anna Spiro, a high-gloss white paint on the walls bounces around light, making the surfaces nearly appear liquid with shine. Architectural details have been picked out in a beautiful deep yellow, adding not only color, but an excellent grounding element. Living room furniture ideas and accessories in similar but not quite matching tones create a warming spectrum of sunshine across the space.

2. Embrace the 'color drench' trend

Family room paint ideas with blue color scheme

(Image credit: David Butler)

Color drenching is the process of choosing one color and painting it across multiple surfaces in one space. The result is beautifully bold and thoroughly modern, though its appeal extends beyond its fearless aesthetic. 

I like painting small rooms in a dark color to make them feel cozy,’ says interior designer Amelia McNeil, who designed this scheme. ‘I even painted the window and architrave in the same blue so that the Phillip Jeffries wallpaper could be the main focus.'

Interior designer Rachel Chudley agrees: 'The trap that people fall into is that they consider dark rooms to be wrong and just paint them white. I like to lean into the darkness and explore the depths of color. Go for a very deep shade but in a high gloss paint and this will reflect the light around a family room.' 

3. Create contrast in a dynamic family room

Family room ideas with built-in cabinet storage

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)

Using an interesting paint color pairing, such and blue and orange, in a family room will alter the atmosphere in the space, explains interior decorator Nicola Harding, founder of Nicola Harding & Co. 

Orange is a color that many of us shy away from, but when paired with blue – the color diametrically opposite on the color wheel – it can create a vibrant yet welcoming scheme. Also referred to as complimentary colors, this combination is guaranteed to add drama to any room.

‘The greater the degree of contrast there is, the more drama there is in the room and when there is less contrast, the space is calmer.’ As a general rule of thumb, you want to include high contrast when you want a dynamic, high energy feeling. ‘That of course includes kids’ bedrooms and family rooms which are naturally more energetic anyway as they are filled with their toys, books, artwork and a TV,’ says Nicola.

4. Spark joy with a vibrant color scheme

Family room paint ideas with green color palette

(Image credit: Jonathan Bond)

Vibrant and impactful, emerald green is a joyous hue that can deliver different looks – think upbeat and modern and even classic and regal. 

‘Don’t fight a room being small and dark: often it works really well to embrace strong colors instead,' says Katharine Paravicini, founder, Katharine Paravicini Interior Design. 'A striking yet warm green on the walls will have the effect of creating an intimate and cozy family space.’ 

Here, Katharine Paravicini embraced a strong, jewel-like hue in a small and narrow family room, broken up by a bay window to create an illusion of space.

Color specialist Annie Sloan agrees: 'Don’t overcomplicate schemes with this paint shade and let it take center stage. Purples, lilacs and pale blues would make wonderful tonal companions because it’s a true green. Pastel pinks will contrast fabulously and could be used to suggest a brilliantly Instagrammable, Wes Anderson-esque, grand millennial space.’ 

5. Take it down a notch with grey paint

Grey living room ideas

(Image credit: Future / Jonathan Gooch)

Grey paint ideas that straddle the boundaries between blue, green and grey can be many things: front and center or a background to show off art and objects. Easy to live with, grey living room ideas look beautiful in west- or south-facing rooms while being suitably moody in family rooms with less light.

‘I love using this sort of color on walls in family rooms as it allows paintings and portraits to really sing out,' says Anna Haines, founder, Anna Haines Design. 'It feels both calming and quiet and also works as the ideal backdrop for a range of rich textiles, decorative antique rugs and furniture.’ 

6. Keep it simple with a calming neutral

Family room paint ideas with pale neutrals

(Image credit: Future)

In these unsettled times, embracing colors rooted in nature can be both comforting and grounding. 

‘Not to be confused with cold and bland palettes, new neutrals are warm by nature,’ says Charu Gandhi, founder and director of Elicyon. ‘Typically matt in finish, they have the ability to flex, and so it’s possible for them to suit any type of home, be it traditional or contemporary – in fact, their elasticity is the reason we’re calling them “new”.’

One vital aspect to consider when decorating with neutrals is bringing in as much texture as possible, as it creates interest and layers – important factors when strong paint colors are out of the picture.

7. Warm up with burgundy 

Family room paint with burgundy color

Wall in Nutkin Claypaint, £47 for 2.5ltr, Earthborn X Country Homes & Interior

(Image credit: Earthborn)

Rich and nuanced, an earthy pink has a depth that lends sophistication to a scheme. A verstaile hue, it can veer into burgundy or brighten into a deep coral. 

‘This tone works perfectly in a family room that is rather dark, or which suffers from a lack of natural light,' says Elizabeth Hay, founder, Elizabeth Hay Design. 'Not only does it inject a space with brightness and cheer, but it will also bring out and highlight any accent colors in the room.’ 

‘We love to use dark pink in more formal family rooms, like drawing rooms, as it can actually add quite a masculine feel, especially when paired with olive greens or earthy browns,' adds Nicole Salvesen & Mary Graham, co-founders, Salvesen Graham. 'Simple classic shapes on upholstery also stop pink from feeling too fussy and overpowering.’ 

8. Take inspiration from nature

Family room paint ideas with green

(Image credit: Gunter & Co)

Inspired by the natural world, olive is restful with a touch of heritage. Strong yet soothing, it brings an enveloping feel but can also sit quietly and allow bold furniture to shine. 

‘This is a wonderful paint color that works well all through the year and is ideal if you are trying to bring an element of nature or a heritage feel into a more contemporary city home,' says Emma Sims-Hilditch, founder and creative director, Sims Hilditch. 'It’s a restful and calming shade which not only works well on cabinetry but also looks great on walls in a family room.’ 

Here, the warm tones in the deep olive on the walls give this family room by Gunter & Co a cosseting feel, while the absence of pattern keeps it calm. 

9. Introduce atmosphere with red

Red living room with red chimney breast, neutral alcoves, and neutral flooring and upholstery

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

Choosing a family room paint ideas can be complicated but there are a few basic principles to help steer you in the right direction, explains Patrick O’Donnell, brand ambassador for Farrow & Ball. 

‘Red is linked with passion, energy and action. The color is also associated with increasing our metabolism, hence its popularity in dining rooms but at the darker end, especially a reddish-brown shade, it can look elegant and dramatic for a family room. Its warmth, the ability to make a room feel cocooning, and its appearance under artificial light makes it the optimum choice for this family space.

10. Be drawn to quiet sophistication with a heritage pink

Pink family room idea

(Image credit: Future)

Pink is the new decorating neutral – it has a natural ability to deliver warmth and interest without overwhelming a space. But choosing the right shade can be a thorny task when you’re faced with everything from soft rose pinks to peachy tones. The key is to pick a serene hue from your family room paint ideas. Muted pink walls are a perfect backdrop for a rich palette – introduce crisp whites for breathing space.

How do I choose a color scheme for a family room?

Getting the color right in a family room can be a tricky business. Even with all their experience, it can take time for professionals to make a decision. There is a lot to consider – the size and shape of the space, the available natural light and its direction, who it is for, etc. ‘A large space can often handle a blanket of color that works with both north- and south-facing light,’ says Tom Morris of Morrisstudio. ‘If wall colors are strong, I tone down the colors in the furnishings, or vice versa.

Decorators will often say they don’t follow rules when it comes to paint ideas but something that is helpful to bear in mind is that colors never need to match, they just need to work together.

Throwing something unexpected into an interior helps it to look considered and confident, adds Nicole Salvesen, co-founder of Salvesen Graham. ‘Choose colors that come from the same tonal family or have the same depth of color, even if they are different ends of the spectrum, this will help them work together. Also choose bolder colors such as rich greens and yellows and raspberry reds as they can be easier to work with, rather than paler candy colors that can sometimes come across as insipid if they aren’t quite right.'

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.