Which color is best in a living room? Interior designers always pick these fail-safe choices

Revamp your living room with these experts' color picks for an easy-going space

A warm beige living room with two facing sofas and a central fireplace, a caramel brown section has been painted above the fireplace / Green room, armchair, vintage rug / A light cream living room with two opposing sofas and a purple feather art piece hanging centrally above a fire place
(Image credit: Little Greene / Paul Raeside / Benjamin Moore)

Given that we spend so much time in our living rooms, it is of little wonder that so many people ask which color is best in a living room. 

When it comes to living room color ideas, the options are endless. Often room color ideas are subjective and are left to personal taste, however, there are some colors that experts claim are the ideal shades for an easy-going, versatile living room. 

Here, paint experts and designers have shared their paint opinions with Homes & Gardens, so that you can create a timeless living room to relax and impress.  

Which color is best in a living room?  

There is no one color that is best for a living room, however, experts suggest that neutrals and green tones are the perfect shades for both entertaining and winding down after a long day. 

'Living room paint is the perfect way to transform a space quickly and easily, defining an area, adding personality and character to create an inspired interior,’ explains Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene. ‘The first thing to consider is how you would like the space to make you feel: is it calm and cocooned or energetic and vibrant? 

‘Living rooms are a wonderful space to embrace color. By using multiple colors on your walls you can introduce colors to a single space, without it being overwhelming. Pair contrasting shades in different strengths for an interesting and dynamic combination and a striking finish that really frames the features of a space, or choose tonal colors such as those in our Color Scales collection for a calming harmonious approach.' 

1. Calming neutrals  

A warm beige living room with two facing sofas and a central fireplace, a caramel brown section has been painted above the fireplace

(Image credit: Little Greene)

When it comes to living room ideas, using neutrals is a safe and popular choice and can be beautiful when the right tones are used. ‘The living room is a space for socializing and relaxing with family and friends so it’s important to opt for a color scheme that fits with the mood or atmosphere you’re looking to create, as well as establishing your signature style,’ explains Helen Shaw, UK director for Benjamin Moore. ‘Non-clinical whites continue to be a popular choice for people looking for an uncluttered look for their homes, providing the great backdrop for personalizing the space with statement furniture and accessories.’ 

When considering neutral living room ideas, it is best to stay away from stark whites as these can throw up shadows and make the room feel cold. Instead, opt for shades of ivory or other warmer tones of the pale range. Dark woods and vintage pieces stand out well against these shades, as well as the cleaner lines of Scandinavian-style furniture. It is a truly versatile scheme. 

A light cream living room with two opposing sofas and a purple feather art piece hanging centrally above a fire place

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

‘Living rooms tend to be spaces where you entertain, sit to watch tv, or read a book, but you want it to have a bit of character,’ adds Tash Bradley, director of interior design at Lick. ‘The colors I always think look really good in living rooms are beiges, like a really warm soft beige – our Beige 01 (a light caramel) and 03 (a soft, earthy color) are really good examples of this. These colors are really comforting, they are very stable, and they look really amazing with stronger furnishings so if you wanted to go for a navy blue sofa or a green velvet cord sofa or if you wanted to add black in there.’

When decorating with neutrals, it is important to add pieces such as these for pops of color and a variety of textures to prevent the room from blending and becoming uninteresting. Introducing layers of texture in neutral room ideas through soft textiles or interesting vintage pieces that contribute a distressed, aged texture to an otherwise clean space.

2. Organic greens 

Green room, armchair, vintage rug

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

Unsurprisingly, decorating with green is the other best choice for a living too. Declared one of the most relaxing colors by paint experts and color psychologists, green living room ideas instantly relax and rejuvenate. 

‘Green is the color of nature – it's nature’s neutral,’ says Tash. ‘In a living room, your eye doesn't have to adjust to the color green so you instantly feel relaxed. Our Green 13 (an optimistic sage green) is one of the most popular greens because it is quite zesty and full of life and looks awesome if you have a pink sofa. If you want to go a bit more traditional you can also have a more neutral sofa and make the color the star. I always encourage adding lots of plants too.

‘Funnily enough, our best-selling color of all time is Green 02 (a soft sage green with a hint of blue) and that looks badass in a living room.’ Green room ideas are incredibly versatile given the large range of shades. Choose a deep forest or mossy green for a dramatic scheme that instantly soothes and speaks to quiet tranquility. Alternatively, use a more vibrant shade like a purer bottle green to emulate the colors of fresh leaves and tree tops. 

‘Look at doing a contrasting ceiling so maybe do Green 02 on the walls and Beige 03 on the ceiling – that’s a lovely combination,’ recommends Tash. 

What colors are in for living rooms 2022?  

Some of the most popular colors for living room trends in 2022 are greens, greys, and blues. Some of these bolder choices are breaking the trend of plain white, colorless living spaces and introducing more soothing yet dramatic schemes into the home.  

What colors brighten a living room? 

While there are many ways to make a dark room look brighter, using paler shades such as warm neutrals, light blues and greens, and warmer shades such as yellows and oranges can all help to brighten a living room as well as make a small room look bigger.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.