1 Living Room, 4 Color Schemes

When Better Homes and Gardens made over this New York state living room, interior designer Elaine Griffin considered multiple color schemes. Griffin decided on a vibrant scheme of green and tan with red and blue accents, but we wondered how the living room would look in the other hues! See the three additional palettes she considered, and learn how choosing different colors for the walls, accents, and furniture can transform the look and feel of a room.

By Veronica Toney


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Oregano Walls
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Scheme 1: Fun and Fresh Living Room

    When planning to make over this living room, designer Elaine Griffin wanted something sophisticated yet durable enough to handle four boys. The result is this fun and fresh look that features a color scheme of vibrant green, watermelon red, blue, and tan. "This is a rich green with yellow undertones," Griffin says. "It's a great neutral and goes with everything." In a room with bold walls, keep other colors less intense. In this living room, sofa upholstery and window treatments are neutral, but the accents are bright.

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Try Tan Trim

    To set off the bold wall color, designer Elaine Griffin chose a light tan for the trim and ceiling. "The era of bright white trim and ceiling is over," Griffin says. "You only need white trim with ivory walls." Instead, she recommends tan, beige, ivory, or a soft gray. The home's foyer, which can be seen from the doorway, is wrapped in easy-clean mocha-color vinyl grass cloth.

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Bold Accents

    The boys' homework station adds a modern flair to the traditional room. Desks lacquered in dark watermelon add a punch of color, and the sleek pieces conserve space. Clear acrylic chairs are fun yet keep the focus on the desks. A daybed upholstered in neutrals separates living space from work space. French blue and yellow accent pillows add more color. "You can't go wrong with a fun yellow throw pillow in any room," designer Elaine Griffin says.

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Message Center

    The homework station includes a message center on the fireplace wall. Magnetic metal strips in the same watermelon color as the desks connect the spaces and add color to the area. Each boy has his own corkboard and metal strip to keep his work organized.

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Scheme 1 Product Guide

    Walls: Green Jalapeno 6005-6C; Valspar from Lowe's

    Trim and Ceiling: Softer Tan SW 6141, Sherwin-Williams

    Window Treatments: Pinch Pleat Drapery, theshadestore.com

    Sofas: Manchester sofas, balladdesigns.com

    Daybed: New Canaan Daybed, balladdesigns.com

    Desks: Strut Tables in Watermelon, bludot.com

    Foyer Walls: Anguilla Weave grass cloth wallpaper in Mocha, thibautdesign.com

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Color Scheme 2: Luxurious Living Room

    Griffin considered red walls for the living room. A red wall color creates a sophisticated and elegant living room. "We didn't see red for a long time, but it's coming back," designer Elaine Griffin says. With four boys in and out of the room, Griffin didn't want the look to be too sophisticated, so she would have kept the accent colors fresh and modern.

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Darker Trim

    With red walls, the trim and ceiling color can be a little darker than it was in the green scheme. A rich tan complements the sophisticated wall color.

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Fresh Color Choices

    Griffin would have used blue accents to tone down the drama of red walls. To keep the same green, red, blue, and tan color scheme, blue and green accent pillows would add fun pops of color to the neutral sofas and daybed.

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Connect the Spaces

    Using the same blue hue on the metal strips and desks would connect the message center to the homework station.

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Color Scheme 2 Guide

    Walls: Raspberry Truffle 2080-10, Benjamin Moore

    Trim and Ceiling: Macadamia 6142, Sherwin-Williams

    Blue: Roadster Blue 4006-6B, Valspar

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Color Scheme 3: Classic Living Room

    "Blue is the perfect backdrop for everything," designer Elaine Griffin says. To keep the wall color trendy, she considered a dramatic blue with green undertones.

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Complement the Walls

    Light tan for the trim and ceiling would keep the room fresh.

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Bright Work Station

    Dark yellow desks would add a playful feel to the homework station and room. "Rooms always look good with a citrus color as an accent," designer Elaine Griffin says.

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Functional Workstation

    Yellow would keep the homework station youthful -- just how a space for four boys should be.

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Color Scheme 3 Guide

    Walls: Hotel St. Francis Spirit Blue 5010-10, Valspar

    Trim and Ceiling: Softer Tan SW6141, Sherwin-Williams

    Yellow: Stuart Gold HC-10; Benjamin Moore

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Color Scheme 4: Neutral Living Room

    If bold wall colors are too daring, play it safe with neutral walls and bold, easily changeable accents. Griffin contemplated painting the walls a rich tan color to keep the neutral color fresh and trendy.

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Choose Lighter Trim

    With light walls, choose a lighter color for the trim and ceiling. Griffin considered a light tan that's just a few shades darker than white.

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Be Bold with Accents

    The same accents that worked with the green walls would work with the neutral walls. The watermelon desks could add a bold punch to the room without being too daring. Blue and yellow accent pillows would maintain the green, red, blue, and tan color scheme.

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Bold Work Area

    Red accents in the message center and homework station would add a fresh pop of color to a largely neutral living room.

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Color Scheme 4 Guide

    Walls: Relaxed Khaki 6149, Sherwin-Williams

    Trim and Ceiling: Softer Tan SW6141, Sherwin-Williams

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