Living Room Color Schemes

Use color to give your living room personality and style.

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Color schemes
The Sunny Colors of Provence

    Sunny yellow and warm red team up to evoke the countryside in Southern France. The proportions in this room are nearly equal: Glazed walls, draperies, and upholstery fabrics splash the yellow of mustard pots and sunflowers around the room, and the carpet and upholstery supply a balancing amount of red.

    In this setting, the moss green sofa and ottoman work as a cooling neutral. Bright green pottery on the mantel is a lively accent.

Shades of White and Gray

    Shades of white, cream, and pale gray create an airy feeling in this living room.

    To keep the color temperature fresh rather than chilly, warm and cool colors balance each other. Creamy walls and bright white shutters play off of cool blue-white and silvery gray upholstery and table. Warm gold tones in the rug and stone balance deep blue accents in the antique trumeau mirror and decorative pillow.

Butter Yellow and White

    Pale butter yellow on the walls gives this French-inspired living room gentle warmth--not the hot sun of Provence, but the aged pastels of a Paris apartment. White upholstery, painted furniture, and trimwork enhance the atmosphere.

    The pale blues and greens in the antique rug repeat in the draperies, antique Italian buffet and trumeau mirror, and vintage fabrics on accent pillows. The rug's touches of red repeat as accents on book covers and pillow trims.

Cocoa Brown and White

    To give your living room quiet elegance, consider neutral colors, which include brown, white, gray, and black. Cocoa and white bring sophisticated warmth to this light-filled living room. Color cues come from the woven rug, with its rococo scrolls, and play out in stripes on the chairs and a solid on the ottoman.

    Choosing white upholstery rather than striped for the largest seating piece ensures that the scheme doesn't overwhelm. Ivory draperies soften the architecture but don't distract from the view.

Chocolate and Lime

    Brown is back but it's not the earth brown of the 1970s. The dusty chocolate of this faux-suede sectional communicates a sophisticated attitude. The ottomans wear soft yellow green linen velvet that brings the color of the pear painting into the room. A canvas color rug and chaise and oatmeal-hued walls create a light neutral backdrop.

Yellow, White, and Blue

    Yellow and white with touches of soft blue make a no-fail combination for living rooms. In this hall and living room, a saturated yellow on the glazed walls repeats in the draperies, while white trimwork repeats in the sofa upholstery. The armchair brings the three colors together, and blue and white china provide cool accents.

    A sea-grass rug provides a neutral ground for the scheme, pulling together the seating pieces without calling attention to itself.

Maize, Gray, and Avocado

    After a 40-year absence, avocado green is respectable again, but for a modern look, it's paired with maize yellow and lavender gray instead of harvest gold and brown.

    Pairing the muted yellow with this shade of lavender gray smartly combines complementary colors--yellow and purple lie opposite each other on the color wheel, which means they intensify each other when used together in a color scheme. The mix-and-match patterns in the pillows add accents with retro-inspired yellow, rust, brown, and shades of green.

Blue and Tan, Plus White

    Soft robin's-egg blue, sea-grass tan, and white produce a relaxed, I'm-on-vacation feeling in this living room. Blue walls and a white vaulted ceiling provide the cool, restful backdrop for light tan furnishings. Woven grass chairs, the upholstered sofa, and the window blinds share the same hue.

    Layering a blue accent rug over the sisal carpet brings the wall color to the floor. White draperies, accessories, and table breathe freshness into the setting.

Cream with Mulberry and Sage

    Walls, floor, and upholstery share a similar creamy hue in this living room. Color accents come from the green leaves on the upholstery and the sage green draperies, whose floppy header sports a mulberry pink lining. A pink lampshade picks up the color of the header lining.

    Take the hue of furnishings into account when planning your color schemes. Use high contrast to call attention to important furnishings. Here the settee's dark wood and the antique screen's leather contrast sharply with the fabrics and wall color, ensuring that you notice the pieces.

Garden Greens

    Evoke the serenity of a garden with cream-and-green-toile fabrics and soft green walls. Soft greens are calming and easy to live with. A painted yellow table adds a warm accent.

Eggplant, Moss, and Red

    A bold scheme of eggplant purple, moss green, and red springs up from the custom-designed rug. The walls and ceiling are stark white, focusing attention on the furnishings and accessories.

    While this threesome doesn't match a prescribed color wheel scheme, it is satisfying because green and red are complements, intensifying each other, and purple and red are related hues. Combining them with lighter shades of the same colors produces a living room that feels lively and contemporary.

Space-Expanding Whites

    An all-white scheme makes a small living room feel larger. Dark wood furniture, warm brown floors, and medium tan accessories ground the white scheme and give it richness and warmth.

Warm Neutrals

    Inspiration for the living room's color scheme came from the floral pillows tossed on the sofas. A range of neutrals from oatmeal to cream and taupe covers the walls, windows, and upholstery with quiet color. The result is comfortable yet restrained.

Coral and Brown

    A coral orange hue gives this room a decidedly modern look with geometric patterns and color everywhere. Boldly patterned pillows add a bit of daring to the solid brown sofa and chair.

    Orange is said to stimulate conversation, so if you like to entertain, an orange living room--even if it's a softer shade, like this one--could help guarantee lively parties.

Butterscotch, Yellow, and White

    Horizontal stripes of wallpaper and vertical stripes on the window treatment frame this living room in butterscotch hues. White trimwork and ceiling and a white band around the top of the walls balance the warm colors.

Red Plus Neutrals

    The rich red of the library walls was achieved with a custom glaze over a red base paint. The vivid color is a striking backdrop to the art collection, which adds its own color elements throughout the room.

    To keep the room from red-hot intensity, the soft furnishings stay cool with neutral fabrics. A creamy cotton covers the Bridgewater sofa, while armchairs slipcovered in an ivory-ground floral pull the room together with splashes of red.

Mauve, Gold, and Blue

    Out of fashion after the Victorian revival of the 1980s, mauve gets a new look with a slightly metallic pink cast and some new partners--a muted yellow gold and a grayed blue. The unexpected combination was inspired by artwork.

    Brassy striped curtains, a yellow Nepalese rug, and yellow cushions on the chairs balance the cool pink tones with a dose of warm color.

Citrus Colors Plus White

    An exuberant color palette of fruity orange and yellow brings youthful energy to this condo. White furniture breaks up the saturated color palette and stays true to the light, bright scheme. Touches of a chic accent color, in this case apple green on a vase, add visual interest and enforce the dominant color scheme.

Color Blocks

    In this midcentury modern ranch house, blocks of color create focal points and help move you through the space. A warm yellow canvas on a deep blue wall in the living room grounds the space, while the red door draws you toward the hall, which is entirely white.

    When using color in large blocks, pair warm and cool hues to take advantage of the push-pull effect that results. Warm colors (reds, yellows, oranges) seem to come forward while cool colors (blues, purples, greens) appear to recede.

Navy and White

    Navy walls in this living room make it a favorite spot for cozy nighttime television watching. White slipcovers and a light berber carpet keep the dark walls and area rug from making the space too dark.

Well-Lit White

    White slipcovers, white walls, and white trimwork create an airy, cool interior set up for gorgeous seaside views. A pale tan area rug over ebony floors and an espresso-stained coffee table provide balance and contrast to ground the ethereal room.

Timeless Blue and White

    Periwinkle walls, blue-and-white pottery, a floral rug, and pillows create tranquility in this living room and soften the masculine brown furnishings.

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