• Today's living room design schemes include color of every description, from bright and vibrant tones to refined pastels. A walk down the paint aisle of your local home improvement store yields a seemingly endless array of shades. The sheer range of available options can seem overwhelming, but focusing on your decorating objectives will help you make a decision.

    Choose a Theme

    How do you envision your finished living room? Do you want a warm and intimate space? Are you interested in clean lines and modern works of art? Do you picture an open floor for dancing at parties? Retro-1950s, Old World elegance and shabby chic are just a few popular decorating options. The theme that you choose is the basis for all decorating decisions, including the color palette. Dark colors and warm tones make the room feel smaller and more intimate, while light colors and cool tones open up the space. If your room is themed to a particular time period, select colors that were popular during that era.

    Consider Existing Colors

    If you are not redoing the room from scratch, consider the colors in the furniture you already have. A monochromatic room can be boring, but choosing complementary colors creates balance and harmony. Ask an employee at your local paint store to teach you how to read a color wheel. As long as the tones are similar, even sharply contrasting colors can work. Alternately, if your furniture or throw pillows are patterned, consider using colors taken from the pattern. Paint the walls one of the pattern colors, and the trim a contrasting color from the same pattern. If the pattern is bold and bright, consider using a slightly softer shade on the walls to avoid a closed-in feeling.

    Take a Look at Your Furniture Style

    Eclectic decorating is in, so you need not limit yourself to a single style, but your furniture can provide a starting point for choosing colors. Heavy wooden pieces, particularly in dark woods, denote a traditional European flair. Elegant Venetian plaster or Italian-style faux finishes in terra cotta work very well. Rough-hewn pieces suggest a shabby chic or Early American style. Consider a color wash in pastels. Sleek pieces with little flourish, particularly in metal frames, denote a contemporary flair. If you have contemporary furniture, stick to cool colors with dramatic accents.

    Trust Yourself

    One of the best ways to choose a living room color is simple experimentation. Collect paint chips from your local home improvement store. Walk up and down the rows and select the chips that appeal to you. Take home a handful and hold them up to the walls, the ceiling and your existing furniture. Mix and match different chips to find colors for the walls, ceiling and trim. Tape your favorite chips to the wall and live with them for awhile, noting how the colors change in different ambient light. Over time, you favorites will emerge.


    Room Decorating and Color

  • any color

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