When it comes to decorating the living room, choosing the right color for the walls is one of the most important decisions. The color of the walls sets the tone for the whole room and has a big impact on how the space looks and feels. But with so many paint color options to choose from, how do you determine the most popular color for living rooms?
How Color Affects Mood
Before diving into the most popular living room colors, it’s helpful to understand how color can affect mood. The shade and tone of the walls make a big difference in the ambiance of a room. Here are some of the emotions and feelings associated with common paint colors:
- White – clean, fresh, open
- Gray – calm, sophisticated, modern
- Beige – warm, cozy, inviting
- Blue – tranquil, peaceful, cool
- Green – balanced, renewal, natural
- Yellow – cheerful, bright, energetic
- Red – dramatic, bold, lively
- Brown – earthy, stabilizing, traditional
- Purple – creative, spiritual, luxurious
- Black – sophisticated, moody, intimate
So the color chosen for a living room should match the style and feeling you want to create in the space. The most popular living room colors often evoke feelings of relaxation, comfort or coziness.
Most Popular Living Room Colors
According to leading paint companies and interior designers, the following shades tend to be the most popular choices for living room walls:
- Off-white – Various shades of off-white, cream, or very light gray are enduringly popular. The neutral palette provides a clean backdrop that allows other furnishings and accents to stand out.
- Light gray – From soft dove grays to blue-toned grays, light grays give a living room an upscale, sophisticated look.
- Navy – Deep navy blues lend a cocooning, enveloping feel to a living room and when paired with whites or neutrals can feel beachy and casual.
- Forest green – For a natural, earthy aesthetic, forest greens complement living rooms with lots of wood, plants, and natural light.
- Light tan/beige – Warm, inviting tans provide the perfect cozy, relaxed backdrop for living room furniture and decor.
These versatile, livable colors work in a range of home decor styles from modern to traditional. Let’s dive into the specifics on why these hues tend to be living room favorites.
Various tones of off-white and creamy white dominate the most popular paint colors for living rooms. Designers and homeowners love white for its versatility and clean appearance. White reflects light well, making rooms appear more open and airy. It provides a neutral backdrop that lets other furniture, art and decorative elements stand out.
Whites give a bright, fresh ambiance perfect for small spaces. Different shades of white and off-white can impart subtle nuances: pearl white for brightness, almond white for warmth, antique white for vintage charm, and so on. Simply White and Swiss Coffee by Behr rank among the top choices for white living room colors.
Light grays are another top contender for living room walls. Cooler grays with hints of blue offer a relaxed, soothing effect. Warmer grays with beige or taupe undertones have an inviting, cozy feel. Popular gray paint shades for living rooms include Revere Pewter, Edgecomb Gray, and Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore.
Grays provide an upscale, sophisticated look in contemporary and modern homes. They allow accent pieces to stand out against the neutral background. And lighter shades keep the room feeling open rather than dark and dreary.
For a bold, dramatic flair, navy blue is a living room color trend that endures. Navy evokes feelings of coziness and introspection. Paired with white trim, furniture, and decor accents, navy walls create a classic, nautical look.
Deep blue hues add striking visual interest in a minimalist gray or white room. And the darker color helps ground airy, all-white rooms. Just steer clear of bright, primary blues which can feel overwhelming in a living area. Popular navy paint choices include Hale Navy and Boardwalk by Benjamin Moore.
Vibrant forest green evokes a natural, earthy feel that’s on trend for living rooms. The color gained popularity in home interiors thanks to biophilic design, the concept of connecting people with nature. Forest green conjures up images of lush greenery, trees, and the great outdoors.
Pair green walls with eco-inspired decor such as reclaimed wood furniture, jute rugs, rattan accents, and plenty of houseplants. Try pairing forest green with warm neutrals like cream or tan on trims or accent walls. Favorite green living room paint colors include Backwoods by Behr and Sutton Green by Sherwin-Williams.
For a relaxed, inviting ambiance, it’s hard to go wrong with beige walls in a living room. Light tans offer a warm, welcoming backdrop. The earthy neutral works well in casual, rustic, farmhouse, traditional, or coastal decor styles.
Beige is associated with comfort and stability. And it provides a cozy foundation for sectionals, slipcovered sofas, and overstuffed chairs. Popular light tan paint colors for living rooms include Accessible Beige, Edgecombe Gray, and Classic Linen by Sherwin-Williams.
Most Popular Paint Finishes
In addition to choosing a shade, the paint finish impacts a room’s look and feel. Here are some top paint finishes for living room walls:
- Eggshell – With subtle shine, eggshell offers durability and easy wipe-ability for high-traffic areas.
- Satin – With a smooth, velvety appearance, satin finishes reflect some light to add warmth.
- Flat/Matte – Flat provides no shine and hides imperfections well but is harder to clean.
- Semi-gloss – Durable and reflective, semi-gloss works well for trims and accents.
Eggshell and satin tend to be the most popular paint finishes for full living room walls. Semi-gloss is often used for moldings, windows and doors. While flat finishes minimize flaws, they show stains and scuffs more easily than paints with a sheen.
Factors that Influence Living Room Color
While the above colors represent popular trends, the “best” living room color depends on several factors unique to your space:
- Existing decor – Coordinate wall color with furniture, flooring, and window treatments
- Room size – Darker colors suit larger spaces, lighter ones open up smaller rooms
- Natural light – North-facing rooms need energizing hues; south-facing spaces look great in bold shades
- Personal preference – Choose a color that suits your style and makes you feel happy and relaxed
You’ll also want to take into account the color undertones of furnishings, artwork and accessories. Cool-toned grays suit blue and green decor while warm peachy undertones complement reds and yellows. Always sample paint colors on the wall before fully committing to the color.
Most Popular Living Room Colors by Region
Home decor trends also vary by geographic region. Here are some of the most popular living room wall colors by city according to paint company Dunn Edwards:
|City||Most Popular Living Room Colors|
|Los Angeles||Natural Canvas DE6220, Silver Strand DE6219, Hale Navy DEC740|
|Phoenix||Foggy Day DEC733, Edgecomb Gray DEC746, Balboa Mist DEC711|
|San Francisco||Grey Cashmere DEC761, Silver Strand DE6219, Point Reyes DE6227|
|Seattle||Knight’s Armor DE6215, MOD Gray Matters DE6226, Hale Navy DEC740|
Populous cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle favor versatile grays and blues which offer livability and sophistication. Regional preferences provide a snapshot of what’s trending across different U.S. markets.
Most Popular Brands of Paint
When selecting a shade for your living room, you’ll also need to pick a specific brand of paint. Top national paint brand leaders include:
- Behr – #1 brand at Home Depot, known for affordability and color selection
- Benjamin Moore – Top-rated for durability, quality and custom colors
- Sherwin-Williams – Leading brand among painting professionals, premium quality
- Valspar – Popular mid-range option carried at Lowe’s home improvement
- PPG – Manufactures budget-friendly Glidden and Olympic brands
Review paint reviews to compare the coverage, finish, and durability by brand. While more expensive doesn’t always mean better quality, Behr, Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams paint tend to rate well for touch-ups, uniformity, and washability.
Tips for Choosing Paint
To settle on the perfect living room color, consider these tips:
- Decorate first – Paint colors look different alongside your real furniture.
- Understand undertones – Warm or cool can impact how a color looks.
- Lighten up – Lighter colors reflect more light to brighten a room.
- Experiment with samples – Paint large swatches to see the color throughout the day.
- Use color psychology – Choose a color to create your desired ambiance.
- Snap photos – Look at colors in a photo to see how they’ll really look.
- Start neutral – It’s easier to build on a neutral palette over time.
- Complement architecture – Work the color into moldings for a cohesive effect.
Take your time testing out paint samples before deciding. And pay attention to how the shade changes at different times of day and in artificial versus natural light.
Blend Old and New Colors
Updating living room wall color doesn’t mean you have to overhaul everything. Blend new paint shades with existing furnishings and decor by:
- Repeating cohesive colors – Green walls with green accents
- Choosing analogous colors – Blue walls with analogous purples and greens
- Balancing warm and cool tones – Cool grays with warm wood tones
- Grounding with neutrals – Pops of color balanced with beige and white
You can freshen up a room without a jarring clash of old and new elements. Include some continuity for a collected, evolved look.
Most Popular Paint Color Combos
Playing off more than one color on walls, trims and accents yields depth. Popular living room color combinations include:
- Navy blue walls with crisp white trims & accents
- Warm gray walls with bright white trim
- Forest green walls with neutral beige furniture
- Beige walls with black and white prints & decor
- Light yellow walls with white and wood accents
Contrasting yet complementary paint colors add visual interest while keeping the palette cohesive. Neutrals like white and beige flexibly pair with bolder accent walls and decor.
Most Popular Wall Paint Colors By Decor Style
To keep your living room color scheme cohesive, choose a wall color that suits your overall room decor style. Here are leading wall color choices for popular decorating styles:
|Style||Most Popular Wall Colors|
|Contemporary||Whites, grays, charcoal|
|Modern||Bright whites, beige, gray, black|
|Farmhouse||Neutral tans, warm whites, navy blue|
|Rustic||Beige, sage green, brick red|
|Traditional||Antique white, beige, powder blue|
|Coastal||Light blues, seafoam greens, tans|
|Eclectic||Bold accent walls, contrasting colors|
Choosing a wall color aligned with your living room’s overall design scheme ties the look together. The most popular wall colors complement furnishings typical of that style.
At the end of the day, the “best” living room color comes down to your personal style, goals, and space. While lighter off-whites, grays and tans represent popular, versatile choices, don’t be afraid to get creative. Forest greens and navy blues inject personality. Accent walls in bold shades make a statement.
Look for hues that complement your existing furniture and architecture for a cohesive feel. Understand how colors affect mood and choose tints that inspire the feeling you want to cultivate. With some thoughtful experimenting and paint sampling along the way, you’ll land on living room colors that make this important gathering space distinctive and welcoming.