Living Room Painting Ideas

You want living room painting ideas that add visual interest, build comfort, and express your personality. 

Living Rooms are the entertainment centers of the home. Guests and family congregate there. Holiday gatherings cluster around the comfortable furnishings and television. Smiling family photos are taken there and posted to be shared with the world on social media.

The living room and its personality and décor may be the primary impression a guest carries away from your home, so it’s important that it speaks of welcome, comfort, and YOU! 

Whether your style is elegant and urbane or rustic and simple, you want your living room painting ideas to reflect your home as a whole. 

Warm & Welcoming Living Room Painting Ideas 

The single most important thing that your living room must feel is WELCOMING. It must first feel welcoming to you and your family, but it should also feel welcoming to guests. 

Cold, sterile, cluttered, overly stiff & formal – a living room should never be any of these.

COLOR is needed in a living room, if the space is to feel warm and friendly. That said, color doesn’t have to come from the walls. Neutrals and whites can make for a warm and welcoming space, if color is introduced in some other way – décor, furnishings, flooring, artwork, plants.

Dark & Rich

If you ARE looking for a room that works well with dark and rich wall colors, the living room often fits the bill.

Navy Blues, Charcoal Grays, Hunter Greens, these all can work well with lighter furnishings and natural woods – or contrasting white trim – within a living room setting.

Things to consider: how much natural light is present? What colors are in your furnishings (if you plan on using your current furnishings)? What other décor (artwork, curtains, flooring) might you want to draw inspiration from or contrast against?

Dark colors can be very cozy and welcoming, but they work best with good natural lighting (lots of south, east, or west-facing windows) or sufficient warm interior lighting (and preferably both).

Consider utilizing an accent wall or walls in conspicuous parts of the space. For example, the wall behind a couch often makes for great focal point in the room for an accent wall utilizing a dark color, while maintaining lighter or neutral color tones on the other walls.

Having trouble deciding on which dark paint color will suit your space? Look in your current décor or furnishings! Often a small detail in a fabric, or a throw pillow, or a piece of artwork will give you the direction to help you choose!

Bring the Outside In!

Very few living room painting ideas are so comforting as bringing the hues of nature into the home! Earth tones are a fantastic, and very warm, choice for a living space.

Light & medium greens, earthy browns, and terra-cotta reds can be great choices for a living room. These colors, because they occur frequently in nature, tend to help us feel relaxed and at ease. 

A natural color scheme is a great choice if you have a lot of natural wood tones in your space, such as hardwood floors, heavy-grained wooden furniture, or antique wooden furnishing or décor.

Red in particular should be used with discretion, as reds can be easily overwhelming in a space, and are often best used as an accent – such as a single accent wall, half-wall with a chair rail, or décor & trim color. Red, is used, is often better in a more formal setting such as the dining room. 

Cottage Seaside

Cottage chic is one of those living room painting ideas that is timeless, bringing brightness, simplicity, and an uncluttered maritime feeling to your space that maximizes sunlight and feels almost weightless.

This style often involves natural woods, especially light woods, and lightly colored or brightly painted walls. Whites and off-whites are predominant wall colors, but their glare can be softened by textural fabrics and colorful décor.

Light seaside blues and blue-greens (such as Benjamin Moore’s WYTHE BLUE or Sherwin-Williams’s COOLED BLUE or OCEANSIDE) make great accent colors in this space, either through painted details, trim, or ceilings, as well as through décor and furnishings.

Antique woods such as old trunks and rocking chairs contrast beautifully with the brighter walls, as do textures such as wicker furniture.

Consider utilizing a chair rail or wainscoting partway up the wall in your space. This makes for a natural divider, allowing you to utilize a cottagey color such as a blue or a pale green on part of the wall, while maintaining some “white space” on the other half. 

Painting furniture can be a great way to bring color into the space as well without applying color to the walls. Rescue an old wooden item from the attic or a thrift shop and paint it to suit your space. Have a look at our how-to instructions on painting furniture if you need guidance!

Urbanize It!

Rustic and cottage styles are not for everyone! Your decorating and design style may tend more towards clean lines and a modern feel.

There are living room painting ideas to suit every style. Urban decorating typically incorporates sleek lines, sometimes exposed brick or industrial elements. 

Also dark, sexy accents such as deep navies, charcoal grays, or blacks.

Light gray (or greige) walls with a single charcoal gray accent wall and dark furnishings or pillows makes a sleek and elegant statement.

Whites and off-whites tend to be heavily used as wall colors in urban decorating, but work best when heavily contrasted by dark furnishings and accent colors. Consider utilizing a dark gray, navy, or black accent on trim in an otherwise lightly painted room.

A color washing paint technique can be used to blend two colors (such as a light gray over a dark base) to give the textural look of rough or unfinished plaster, creating an industrial feel.

Rusty browns, bronzes, and pewters also make great urban accent colors.

Get Creative!

A living room is a great space to let your personality speak! After all, as I said previously, it may be the single impression a guest carries away from your home.

My first home was an old Victorian farmhouse with tall ceilings. The living room had tan walls covered in grass cloth wallpaper nearly all the way to the ceiling, capucchino carpeting, and a white ceiling. Bland. But I didn’t want to remove the wallpaper because we feared it was rough, unfinished plaster beneath.

Instead, I painted the ceiling Peacock Blue, a bright blue-green color taken from a tiny accent in the room’s furnishings. My husband thought I was nuts. I thought I MIGHT be nuts.

The final effect was incredible. I was so pleased that I took a risk and it worked out wonderfully. When we sold the house a few years later, it was the first thing the buyer mentioned as one of their favorite details.

Paint is unique in that you are never “stuck” with something you don’t like. Living Room painting ideas are intended to be fluid. After all, it has to tell YOUR story, not someone else's!

If you go out on a limb and try something unique, or something that speaks to you, there is not a point of no return. Any room can be repainted!

It would be impossible for me to cover even a small part of the Living Room painting ideas out there, but I hope this page has given you a running start toward imagining your new space.

If you need more help selecting colors for your space, hop over to our Interior Painting Colors page for some instructions and help on where to start with your color selection.

Also, consider browsing decorating or home improvement magazines or follow That Interior Painting Girl on Pinterest for more images and ideas.

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