As the space where everyone in a home spends much of their waking hours (whether that’s a single property dweller or a family of 12), the living room has a demanding job. From play-date central to weary evening lounging or a weekend get-together, this room has to perform many tasks. With all these roles and as a focus for the house, it still needs to seem like a decorating success – less it seems like a chaotic thoroughfare.
This room needs two core planning elements to make it work: Strong paint schemes or colour combinations with lots of storage and multi-use furniture to allow the room to adapt as the day does. For example, as evening approaches toys can be popped away in large drawers in shelving units whilst the cocktail cabinet is revealed, and multi-use furniture such as ottomans with space inside for laptops and papers will allow the space to be successfully flexible. And giving the room a strong personality through confident décor and colour ideas is the surefire way to ensure this home-hub is a design asset rather than an afterthought. So we’ve pinpointed the best colours for your living room to blend that much needed flexibility as well as bold design oomph.
A mid tone grey living room is a very on-trend choice, and if you choose a tone with a yellow rather than blue base it can be surprisingly welcoming and warm. Grey handles well British light that can vary from cold and hard on a dull winter’s day to vividly bright in hot summer sun, and also reflects evening lamplight beautifully too. Surprisingly neutral, it can handle most decorative periods from mid-century modern bold prints to classical Georgian wooden simplicity. It’s also a shade that can take you from play-date sticky fingers to evening drinks party as it shows less marks than white. Even if you decide on a chalky hue, consider a modern paint formulation that is wipe-able and tough for the rigours of everyday busy life.
Green living rooms benefit from the influence this colour naturally has on the nervous system; according to colour theory, green is the colour with the most calming effect. A great way to introduce it is through house plants. As well as the benefits of creating a healthier space from improved air quality, they create interesting natural shapes which break up most rooms’ boxy structure. Rather than dotting the odd plant around a room focus on a set of shelving to create a mini living wall, or on side tables of different heights. Avoid too many different coloured flowers and use strong bright green leaves such as indoor palms, ferns and Aloe Vera plants varying size and form. Pair with accessories such as cushions or blinds sporting the hot botanicals trend for extra chic points.
White living rooms have a timeless quality making them one of the perennial design favourites. The challenge with white is to avoid being tempted to make your surfaces too perfect and bland or it can create a soul-less office feel. The irregularity of an exposed brick wall painted in a soft tone and paired with white wooden blinds will create a very restful space and lend some calm island style. To avoid any starkness, look for white with a yellow, rather than a blue base. Natural materials work well here, such as rattan or wood, and woven fabrics as window coverings or flock-covered Venetian blinds with linen tapes add subtle texture. Whether in white or earthier tones they will add richness and depth to the scheme.
To ensure a blue living room seems serene rather than cold choose a rich navy or a paler teal hue. These deeper shades will keep the look cocooning rather than chilly, although the addition of white here is a timeless combination that, with good lighting, can be marine-fresh in daylight and grownup indulgence at night. Don’t just think in terms of standard paint colours; a blue lacquered wall can add a huge amount of drama whilst also feeling classical and restful. Try breaking up solids with patterned throws for sofas or large checks on armchairs. Burnished wooden trays sporting art books or large gilt frames on walls should be used to break up the effect of this dominating shade and to add some New England elegance.
A red living room has a very old English country house feel to it when used in a deep hue on walls or in old leather furniture, but red living rooms can also be modern when the shade is used more as an accent colour, for a burst of energy. It works well as a wallpaper print, especially as a feature within a monochrome scheme. Whether as decorations – like glassware and vases – or as a main detail in a painting or print it can add richness, contrast or a ‘pop’ to stop a scheme looking too serious. For those who want to test the water, try using it as a ground on a velvet sofa with complimentary throws over it; in a deep red shade, some bohemian gypsy style that quietly improves with age.
A yellow living room may seem a rather bold choice, but when used carefully with hints of black or brass it can be a very sophisticated and confident colour scheme for living rooms. Primrose yellow works well with an updated bold floral for a modern country feel or a stronger yellow in geometrics with grey can make this look feel very sharp. (Alternatively, simply try one wall against a neutral sand tone for a calmer effect). It lends itself to a bit of whimsy as a colour and has the advantage of adding instant warmth and humour. Try using fake panels as wall décor to create a classical sitting room or pair with oversized leather sofa. After all, who wouldn’t love to recline in such a cheery yellow room? Instant good mood.
For inspiration on using living room blinds to add colour to a scheme, see our full product ranges.