Living room paint ideas: 18 colour schemes to switch up your space

Looking for living room paint ideas? Have a scroll through these gorgeous colour schemes – including Dulux's Colour of the Year 2020 – and get inspired...

Living room paint ideas
(Image credit: Debenhams )

On the hunt for living room paint ideas to brighten up your space? Well, you'll find plenty of inspiration here! Whether you are starting a new living room colour scheme from scratch in a brand new room or are just looking for a quick, easy (usually) and cheap way to spruce up your space, keep scrolling for loads of gorgeous living room ideas... 

1. Be bold with a multi-coloured living room paint ideas

Want an on-trend look? Combine pastels with colour blocking to create a feature wall. Simply use the paler tone as an easy-to-live-with backdrop and paint different shapes in similar tones and a single, contrasting bolder colour on one wall. It’s a very effective - and quick - way to add interest to an existing scheme, too. 

Recreate this look by using the same colours: Pashmina wall; Tropical Ocean woodwork; Chance pale teal spots; and Quick Kiss accent spot; all Crown

Find out how you can master the colour blocking trend

(Image credit: Crown)

2. Create an accent wall with teal 

Who says blue has to be a cool tone? Turquoise is fresh and inspiring, yet warm, too, making it the perfect living room paint idea for rooms that face north or south.

Mrs Booth by Fired Earth is a beautifully versatile colour that was named after a seaside landlady whose house had stunning views over Margate harbour. Its rich turquoise tones look great with accents of colour like a cheery yellow, tangerine and crisp white. Team it with mid-tone coloured wood as shown here for a warming look. 

(Image credit: Fired Earth)

3. Create depth with one bold shade for walls and doors

Painting walls a deep colour might look a tad too traditional for your taste, but this kind of colour scheme can be given a contemporary twist if the paint shade is carried through to the woodwork – doors, skirting and picture rails – too. Balance it with furnishings in paler colours, and add texture to the scheme with wooden flooring.

Make the scheme practical by using emulsion on the walls, but a wipeable paint on the woodwork. These Grenache 372 walls in Pure Flat emulsion and woodwork in Architects’ eggshell look great against the Lady Char’s Lilac 368 Architects’ matt that sits above the picture rail. All Paint & Paper Library. 

(Image credit: Paint & Paper Library)

4. Living room paint ideas with a difference? Tackle the ceiling

The hottest paint trend for the year ahead is to paint your ceiling a colour. Yes! So, swear off the white emulsion, and pick up a bold shade, like Farrow & Ball Citron instead. Carry the shade down to picture rail level to create a cohesive feel, and pick a light but warmer tone, such as this Soft Wool,  for walls. Team with accessories and soft furnishings that have touches of your chosen ceiling colour to complete the look. We should probably mention too, you can easily paint your ceiling yourself, just check out our step-by-step guide. 

(Image credit: Clive Nicholls)

5. Pick tonal pairings for space-enhancing living room paint ideas

Painting a room with two tones of the same colour is an easy way to add interest while maintaining a feeling of space – but always use the darker shade on the lower part of the walls and the lighter one above if you want to make your ceiling feel higher than it is and your room seem larger.

‘Heart Wood’ was Dulux’s Colour of the Year 2018; it's an earthy pink with a hint of lilac that's warm and cosy, and perfect for a creating a relaxing feel in your living room. Here, it has been used with the lighter Pink Parchment on the upper part of the walls, with a thin stripe in between the two called Sapphire Springs 1, which adds still more detail to the scheme.

(Image credit: Dulux)

6. Make it monochrome

Black isn’t often a colour we consider for decorating living rooms, but take a tip from the Scandinavians: it works. Here, it looks fabulous contrasted with crisp off-white paint, but bear in mind that the key to getting the finish right is balance. In other words, break up the black with plenty of white: on ceilings, flooring, and other walls. Introduce texture and warmer tones, too, with accessories. In this living room, pendant lights, the artwork on the sideboard, and the white and wood tones of the sideboard itself all provide relief. 

Monochrome living room with large wooden coffee table, cow print rug and leather sofa

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

7. Experiment with darker shades

Darker, dramatic paint colours are increasingly popular in living rooms, especially in spaces that are mainly used during the evening. But, if you want your living room to feel warm, bright and welcoming during the daytime, too, contrast furnishings and flooring in lighter colours with the paint colour on your walls. If you love this look, go and find more inspiration in our dark and atmospheric decorating ideas

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

8. Looking for calming living room paint ideas? Try a deeper shade of blue

Reminiscent of denim blue, this lovely Niagara Blues 2 wall colour is the perfect shade for a room with good natural light and high ceilings. Its blue/grey quality has a warming tone and it looks fabulous with white flooring, ceilings and accessories.  Accents of chartreuse, blush pink and gentle grey will look great with this colour and use pattern too – it creates a decorative element against the chalky blue of the wall. 

Similar shade: Eco Friendly matt paint, £45.75 for 5ltr, Lakeland Paints. All items shown, from George Home. See more inspiring blue room ideas in our guide.

deep blue walls in a living room from George Home

(Image credit: George Home)

9. Choose on trend grey living room paint ideas

There’s something very classic about grey and white together and it’s a colour scheme that works brilliantly for both modern living rooms and traditional living spaces. There are many different shades of grey to choose from; some have blue tones, others are pinker. Not sure which to choose? Err on the side of caution with pinker tones, which will make your room feel warmer. Obsessed with grey interiors? Yep, us too, so we wrote a whole feature on grey living room design ideas

Living room by John Lewis & Partners

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

10. Pep up soothing green living room paint ideas

Green is soothing colour – perfect for a busy family living room – and one that's ideal for merging indoor and outdoor spaces, so a great choice if your living space overlooks the garden. The key is to pick the right tones to suit your room. Yellow-greens will add warmth to east- or north-facing rooms, and greens with a hint of blue, like Little Greene’s Pea Green 91, are great for rooms that get lots of sunlight as they will cool the room down. 

For a contemporary twist, combine a pale green with bolder shades. The bright pink, Leather 191 makes a dramatic contrast, while the dark woodwork in Obsidian Green 216 adds a touch of formality. The cornicing is painted in Slaked Lime 105

Get more inspiration from these green living room design ideas

Green living room by Little Greene

(Image credit: Little Greene)


Pink isn't always super-girly. Your living room needn't look like the inside of a Polly Pocket house. Pair these sugary hues with a simple monochrome scheme for a grown up take on the trend. The bold print of the rug and the dark fireplace surround really work to ground the room, stopping it becoming too... pink. 

You can find a similar rug to this one at Wayfair

And if you love pink interiors as much as we do, we have dedicated a whole feature to pretty pink room designs

Pink living room with fireplace and bold monochrome rug

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

12. Or go for a pastel pink living room paint 

If pastel pink is a bit too saccharine for you, choose a more muted, plaster toned pink. If you are after a shade that's more... mature, pick a living room paint idea that has a warmer, duskier undertone. Something like Farrow and Ball's Sulking Room Pink, which has been used in this living room. Keep the look fresh by pairing it with bright, crisp whites.  

Sulking Room Pink Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

13. Go bold with a coral coloured living room paint

Since Living Coral was named at Pantone's Colour of the Year 2019, there has been a surge in orangey hued interiors. We admit that at first we were dubious, but now we can't get enough of this bright and versatile colour! You could be brave and paint all four walls or, for you commitment-phobes, try out just painting one feature wall. If you just want a pop of peach, pinch the idea from this living room and just paint your shutters or pick out a coral window treatment instead for a more subtle nod at the trend.  

For more Living Coral inspired interiors check out these 10 ways your can bring the bold colour into your home. We've got shutter buying advice, too.

Shutters in a living room by California Shutters

(Image credit: California Shutters)

14. Or opt for more muted honey tones

Living Coral just a tad too bright for you? Turn instead to Dulux's Colour of the Year 2019, Spiced Honey. This paint is pretty much exactly how it sounds: warm, spicy and inviting. Though perhaps not a four-wall colour, inject pops of Spiced Honey by painting three quarters of the way up your walls and contrast it with cool neutrals like a grey or stormy blue for a modern look. 

For more tips on how to style your home with Spiced Honey check out our design feature. 

Dulux colour of the year Spiced Honey

(Image credit: Dulux)

15. Paint the floor boards in your living room 

Much like the neglected ceiling, we often forget to look to the floor when it comes to decorating our living rooms. Painting floorboards is a great way to update a room on a budget – especially if you have the time to tackle the job as a DIY project. Ideally, you should use floor paints for a long-lasting finish, but most good quality paints suitable for woodwork will give you a surprisingly tough floor. 

Check out our guide to how to paint floorboards

Living room with black wooden floor, blue sofa, monochrome cushions, rug and houseplant

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

16. Add a pop of colour to an alcove

Go for a twist on the feature wall and add some interest to your living room by painting an alcove. In this living room, even just the small pop of yellow adds some sunny vibes to the space and gives the otherwise all white living room a lift. Also because you are only painting such a small section you can afford to be pretty bold and brave with your colour choice. You could go dark, or if you want to pinch this living room paint idea, go for something like Dulux Lemon Punch

For more yellow room ideas, check out our full feature. 

Alcove painted yellow

(Image credit: Future/Alun Callunder)

17. Go for an all white colour scheme

Can you believe we have got all the way to number 17 and not mentioned white paint! White living rooms, while perhaps not the most practical are really dreamy spaces, so if you've got a lifestyle that can hack it, go for it. Paint the walls white, paint the floors white. Just give it a bit of a lift with some house plants, wooden accents and a few pieces of darker furniture. 

There's plenty more where this came from in our white living room design ideas feature, so head there next. 

living room with a white scheme by debenhams

(Image credit: Debenhams)

18. Decorate with Dulux's colour of the year 2020

Paint your living room with Dulux's Colour of the Year and you know you're on trend. For 2020, it's Tranquil Dawn, a hazy pale green that is guaranteed to create a room that's relaxed and, well, a haven from that crazy world out there.

Dulux Colour of the Year 2020

(Image credit: Dulux)

For more tips on styling with our favourite colours, check out The Real Homes Show

Every fortnight our in-house stylist, Anna Morley explains the best ways to style with a signature colour, be it mustard, forest green or blush pink

Looking for more living room ideas?