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Living Room Color Palette

last year
I am trying to spruce up my living room with paint, art, and accessories. Everything feels beige and blah. Unfortunately, I have to keep the couch until our kids and puppy grow up a bit. Any recommendations? My taste lean towards traditional and scandinavan design. (There are paint swatches on the wall)

Comments (160)

  • mateymom

    Everyone has made their suggestions regarding colors for walls and furniture, how to arrange, and what to use and not to use. I only have one suggestion--go to art festivals in your area and buy the art that pleases you. After you have collected a few pieces, you will start to notice that you have an art style. If you don't notice an art style, that is actually your style. You will most likely be drawn to certain colors or shapes. Just let it evolve naturally. Trust yourself. I am not just talking about paintings but pottery, glass, mixed media. You can put small one-item shelves on the walls for that special pot or sculpture. You can do whatever you want. In one house, I had so much art that my decorator niece told me to leave the walls white. In another house, I had so many wall colors from the previous owner that I felt encouraged to make things more tailored and coordinated rather than as eclectic as before. Let the things you collect be the influence on your overall color palette.

  • carhous

    You posted a photo of a warm-cool room, so I assume you love the look and feel of the cool white and blues in contrast with the warm earth-iron reds. Working with your existing room: wood window & door frames are warm browns, the warm beige sofa, and rug work in contrast to the black spice accents in the rug and the black fireplace. You also desire for a Scandinavian look which is typically characterized by structural emphasis - either metal or wood legs and arms spiced by colorful upholstery. Your sofa does not contribute in that minimalist structural Scandinavian style, but I have also seen Scandinavian style emphasized with sumptuous comfort - which your sofa does offer.

    I love the warm yellow and orange colors of the painting which could be repeated in pillows and floor lamp shades as accent colors in concert with the black spice in the the rug and the focal fireplace. Hurrah to arranging the room around fireplace! Grover's photos using various wall color hues shift the backdrop subtly; and I echo the preference expressed by others in favor of Grover's third and the last photos, both of which are slightly deeper hues creating a contrast backdrop which immediately forwards the beige sofa, the wooden door & window trim and the fireplace. I imagine a lovely Scandinavian style coffee table in black spice, orange, or yellow. And if you want curtains - those described neutral color with thin stripe - black spice!

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  • Annie Hartig
    If you want to add graphite gray and blues ( do you have both in rug.) with beige caramels and browns, this inspiration room is beautiful and IMO these tone would work with. Your existing pieces ....
  • sandeedee

    I know I'm late to the gate here but you already have good suggestions, I just want to add a few: Whatever color you paint your walls and (definitely!) the woodwork!) paint your fireplace a few shades darker- or a whole lot of shades darker! Your room needs both texture and contrast to get away from beige blahs. Get rid of the current painting- there must be another room to stash it- and buy something oversized that you LOVE to go on the opposite wall to the fireplace. Whatever colors are in your new art will give you cues for the new wall color and accessories . Texture comes from throws for the couch, patterns on throw pillows, and the way you layer accessories. Contrast comes from looking at a gray scale (from your photography store) and hitting ALL the 7 or 9 values with the things you add. You NEED a bit of black here and there, not something big, just perhaps a lampshade or a B&W photograph on the wall where you had hung the orange painting. Move that couch so its opposite the fireplace with the shorter end extending into the room. The hassock can act as your coffee table until you find something perfect- just add a large flat basket perhaps with a beautiful cloth under it peeking you can put down a coffee cup. Control chatskes- get rid of anything that you don't LOVE in the room, edit down your possessions. For curtains, use sheer linen panels hung near the ceiling to the floor. Measure the width and buy enough panels to at least triple the measurement (I'm being conservative here- you want them full!)

    My basic rule I've stated here already is to LOVE everything you do or own- if everything is a reflection of you, it will work together. Second rule- shop all theme- you have fabulous online resources, you have contemporary furniture stores around you, but best of all are consignment shops, estate sales, auctions, flea markets, etc. There you may find something old or needing some work that is perfect for your room. Scandanavian? Keep a grandfather clock in mind. Contemporary? Look for an old table or big shutters or an old door to cut down for your coffee table. Chipped paint and distressed finishes add more texture and are very easy to live with. Good luck, but most of all do NOT be afraid- nothing you can do is irreversible, especially paint!

  • Janet Calhoun

    Try a color on your walls like Sherwin Williams Alpaca, it's a nice warm grey. I also enjoy a minimalist, yet warm approach, that Scandinavian decor brings. Use wood to warm the space with accessories. We wanted to keep the dogs out of our carpeted rooms, and started off with baby gates. They were so high to step over, so we custom made our own little barriers. We went to Home Depot & had some shelving material cut to perfectly fit in the doorways, resting on the jam. We added little strips of Velcro to secure. The wood shelving matches our trim, and is much easier to step over.

  • Wendy Thomas
    I would do the fireplace wall with that darker gray that is in your rug would add some drama to the room and highlight your fireplace
  • PRO
    Grand Finale Design

    Have you thought of slip covering the sofa? If it were a different color, do you think choosing a wall color would be as challenging? Do you want to keep the area rug?Pay attention to fixed furnishings...such as flooring and fireplace. They will speak the loudest. Looks like you have good natural light in the room so wall color will appear to be much lighter during the day than at night. Have you thought of removing all the furnishings from the room, so there's nothing visually interfering with your creativity and thought process? Have you thought of using the services of a professional color consultant? I believe that would be very helpful to you. There is lots of detail, questions, rhyme and reason and process that goes into a 2 hour color consultation and you would learn a lot going forward with any future decorating needs. Color is complicated and it's going to be a huge part of the room and you want to love what you choose! You can also choose an inspiration piece such as art or pictures from magazines to help you select your main color as well as accent color(s). I can't see what the other rooms look like but when rooms are open to one another, you need to have a common color denominator from room to room for smooth visual flow. That could be in flooring, painted or stained wood moldings, or wall color. Accessories are the icing on the cake and the easiest to choose once you've selected wall color and have good furniture placement for the shape and function of the room. Hope this helps. Have fun!

  • Chuzz Bot

    How many times do I have to unsubscribe from this spam farm? Stop harassing my inbox Houzz!

  • lynda0624

    I've always chosen colors from an object that I love and plan on keeping in the room, it could be art, a rug, a throw or pillow, etc. If it makes you feel good when you look at it, you will like those colors (or color) on your walls.

  • tippingpoint

    Choose your favorite color in the room and paint the fireplace that color. Make it a statement. Everything is very vanilla... some deep colors would be helpful to solidify the room.

  • Robin Carlos
    I have a king size cherry bedroom set that I'm placing in my new master bedroom. I want to use a lite green, maybe a seafoam
    Also, we built trayed ceiling in half of the room we here the bed will go. I have pecan color hardwood floors. Do you think the color will look ok in there. Open for suggestions.
  • PRO
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  • PRO
    Finishing Touches Design Service LLC

    Yes, this is a neutral palette, so you have great options to redesign and refresh the look. Starting with color to bring the biggest impact at a reasonable cost is a good step forward. I see the wall colors you've selected are in the rug medallion. I would go with the darker color on the lower area of the fireplace. That blue/gray has a coastal, airy feel. It's not a heavy color but one that will make a pretty impact and accent your beautiful fireplace and wall moldings/trim. From there, add accent pillows with pattern, texture ... and yes, color that works with the pieces in the room. Maybe, you can also refresh the wall art by moving pieces around from another part of the house (or a new purchase) to bring in a fresh look. Coffee table book and a beautiful tray with a succulent and fragrant candle ... or ... well, you get the idea ... will tie things together. Paint is just the spring board!

  • Susan
    I would try a beige tone leaning toward peach but still beige. It will blend rug and couch. Then use the thin dark brown look like the mirror and candle holders and repeat, like in the frame on the picture, can you paint some of it to reduce the dark color? Paint a light tone.
  • Jennifer
    For any of you still following, I have news. my husband just accepted a job offer and we are moving. So after so much thought and hemming and hawing, I don't have to change this room. Thank you for so many wonderful ideas. I wish I could bring you all to my new questions I will for sure have for my new house!!!
  • Mary Kennedy

    Best of luck in your new place. I think we will all be expecting to see all of the suggestions incorporated into your new digs:) . Share pics!

  • Jennifer
    Mary...I already posted a question and we don't even move in for 2 weeks Just so excited to get started!
  • Lynn Dibartolomeo

    between the painting, woodwork and tile around the fireplace, you seem to have alot of undertones of yellow whichever color you choose, make sure it also has yellow undertones, not grey

  • Lynn Baxter

    Please google lists of plants that are poisonous to dogs, as being a puppy, he/she might just eat them!!!! Choose good fakes till puppy is older. :)

  • Lynn Baxter

    I think the problem with the existing wall colour is that it has a touch of lemon about it. I would change the wall colour to a warm white with a hint of peach in it to relate to the undertones in your couch and the warmth in the floor. This would also relate to the scandal feel you like. If it is an option I would paint the architraves and window frames to match your fireplace surround. Then bring in new scatter cushions in peach, a light soft turquoise and a mid toned warm charcoal colour in linens, slub texture fabrics with maybe a large format knit or fur fabric to add texture and a lush feel. One or two of the cushions would look good in a co-ordinating simple geometric print to also bring in the scan feel. Add a lovely turquoise throw for contrast. Sometimes you don't need more colour, just more contrast (hence the warm charcoal and soft turquoise accents). I would relocate the artwork (which is lovely but has too much yellow and red in it to fulfil your brief, to another room or if you want to have it in this room - reframe it with an off-white mount and a charcoal, less classical style frame and make it a statement and hang above the fireplace). Soft sheer linen drapes in a similar tone to the suggested wall colour would work well with the existing blinds and create a restful ambience. Good luck.

  • easvvxmn
  • easvvxmn
  • sueschus
    Put the picture leaning on the mantel. Mirror on opposite wall reflecting the fireplace and art. Separate the sectional with a corner plus a single facing each other perpendicular to the fireplace. If the hassock isn’t on wheels, put it on wheels with a large copper tray on top - voila, coffee table.
    Paint the walls and crown molding Behr “Copper Mine”, a rich rust. It will pop the picture and warm the room. No, not Swedish, but it’s not a Swedish room.
    Drapes with a beige background (sofa color) in a medium sized print to complement the rug. Hang the drapes at the ceiling.
    I, too, went thru the greens, grays, beiges and finally realized I needed to be bold. Sitting room (was tiny dining room) and dining room (was nice size living room) are now inviting and stunning!
    Optional: Paint the fireplace something other than white. Maybe charcoal.
  • louise811

    You’re onto something good with the Behr Wabi Sabi, full-strength, though it doesn’t come through in your photo. On the Behr website, it plays very well with the similar warm wood tones and sofa color in the illustrations. Key to making scheme lively would be a white ceiling to contrast and brighten the room, and some richer green accents, similar to Behr Clary Sage (seen on one of the color palettes shown with the Wabi Sabi), or darker greens, gray, black, which you can achieve with pillows, mantel objects, and if you like, plants.

  • Christie Thompson
    Definitly paint ceiling to match that trim so itdoesnt break up the lines
  • Christie Thompson
    Definitly paint ceiling to match that trim so itdoesnt break up the lines
  • PRO
    Susan Knox Designer

    You have a beautiful space with great natural lighting. I would recommend changing the wall color to something a bit cooler in tone but still fresh and neutral such as Sherwin Williams Kilim Beige. I would bring in some color with a new rug, pillows and art work. I have attached a collage of inspiration for you below. If you would like to chat more about your space and other recommendations please feel free message me.


    Susan Knox


  • Susan
    Same color as couch only lighter tone
  • Lynn Baxter

    HiJennifer, just noticed your post about moving house - good luck with your new projects in your new place. :)

  • HU-858797363
    Just a simple thing like changing out the beautiful rug with one that has richer, warmer shades would make a big difference in adding color to the room.
  • nitemareontaftpl

    Hey Houzz, any chance you can delete this thread--the poster said she moved and its no longer relevant!

  • niccidhg
    Jennifer, where can we find you for the new question you posted . Much happiness to you and yours in your new home. Would love to see it .
  • niccidhg
    Jennifer, where can we find you for the new question you posted . Much happiness to you and yours in your new home. Would love to see it .
  • niccidhg
    So embarrassed - not only forgot my ? Mark - but, inadvertently , posted it twice , no less ! LOL - not the first mistake today either . Better get some rest tonight !!!
  • KateF

    Bm Elmira white paint! Perfect light greige. Try a sample I think you’ll love it in that room. Keep the rug! Get rid of the flowers art. See photoshop pic. Where the art was I put a sample of Elmira white. Perfect warm but less “lemon”. And big pink flower art since you like flowers. Just ideas... but I think Elmira white then adding some mauvey pink and grey accents would be lovely.

  • Jennifer
    nicci....I'm not sure, but I think you can hit my name and see my activity? I only posted one thing so far. I'm in the midst of unpacking, but I'm sure I'll have more questions soon!
  • Jennifer
    nicci....I'm not sure, but I think you can hit my name and see my activity? I only posted one thing so far. I'm in the midst of unpacking, but I'm sure I'll have more questions soon!
  • lonnalee

    If its wasabi on the wall and orange in the picture , you have earth colors. Are you keeping the couch? if so just pops of color with comfy cozy ( I would go with some large pillows ) on couch, since your rug does have black, a cool pattern black and another color, or black and white. I would not go over 2 of those, Home Goods had some big comfy ones, Also decorate the other wall. Cool shelves either free standing - bring eye up if you can- or a built in look, will also give you a chance of color. With the color of the couch, I would go white or off white frames for possible family photo s

  • watsonleona

    The rug is pretty and the room has great potential. I would put some energy into the room with color such as rusty red, celery green and some purple. These colors would make you and your family feel better and youthful. Think outside your usual likes and you maybe surprised at what you can do with the brown sofa. Some celery green walls or a plaid rust rug with green and purple and yellow stripes would make the whole room peaceful and a place you would enjoy with the puppy and family. The light colored rug is not a friend of a puppy or children. You could use some art with color too such a picture and other objects. Sorry the room makes me feel tired and old.

    PS if you don't like green use blue in any shade; a sea foam is good with these other colors. This is strictly my two cents worth of input. Go for what makes you feel HAPPY!


  • Jennifer
    For anyone still following this post, or invested in my living room , I posted a question about my new house in Design Dilemma, because I always need help. I think the title is New House. Decor suggestions or something like that. Thanks again for all of the replies!
  • Carol Ann

    Doreen Le May Madden - Lux Lighting Design said what I was thinking. That neutral pink is fabulous and looks very forward-thinking. Be brave! I don't recommend dark wall colors - they get depressing after awhile. Keep a lighter happier palette.

  • Carol Ann

    Doreen Le May Madden - Lux Lighting Design said what I was thinking. That neutral pink is fabulous and looks very forward-thinking. Be brave! I don't recommend dark wall colors - they get depressing after awhile. Keep a lighter happier palette.

  • graycee6210
    I think light grey tones. Farrow and Ball paint color “Dimity” is wonderful. I have it in a small bedroom that has only one window and the room feels very fresh and inviting now.
    I would use Farrow and Ball “all white” for crown and base molding, the fireplace mantel, and also on the door frame shown in the photo.
    I would use Annie Sloan chalk paint for the table beneath the artwork. Maybe go darker with that table. Consider the frame color of your painting, or the frame color of the mirror over the fireplace as inspiration for that table.

    I think slip covers for the existing couch could work well, and adding pops of color with throw pillows that have the colors shown in your beautiful art piece hanging on the wall behind the couch.

    Fireplace mantel:
    Consider clear vases with interesting shape holding some fresh flowers or having plants to bring in color that way. Maybe also add some candle holders that are glass and bronze.
  • keepthe529

    I love the rose color in the top left of your painting. It would pop our your rug and couch and be warm and inviting. And yes clear vases with flowers and a few throw pillows on the couch.

  • cit dec

    Neutrals don't have to be boring! Mix it up with more textures and metallic accents. Here is a nice neutral living room look that is a mix of traditional and Scandinavian styles. If you want to find similar looks to this or where to buy these items, check it out atCitizen Decor.

  • Shoshana Bloom

    Lovely room. I would paint the wall behind the picture an orange in the picture and maybe also the fireplace wall for some pop. and add some pale grey and orange pillows to the couch. I would move the couch to face the fireplace if that is viable. And use the ottoman as a sofa table with a grass tray and some beautiful articles on it and definitely a plant or some flowers. Enjoy

  • jbtanyderi
    Put a pure white or Farrow and Ball’s BORROWED LIGHT on the ceiling. Lighten the walls.
  • tartanmeup

    Interesting to see this thread revived. One of those rare posts where the initial wall colour was just perfect, imho. I would have simply changed the pillows and added plants. Wonder what the OP ended up doing. Jennifer, if you happen to catch this revival, would you share your initial wall colour if you know it?

  • Jennifer
    Hi! We actually moved, so now I have new design dilemmas :). Feel free to check those out and give advice!!!! I think in hindsight, I'm glad I never changed it. I saw the new owners painted it light blue and I didn't like it as well. When I went to the Sherwin Williams store, they looked up my address and were able to find that the previous owners had used a custom shade of Navajo White. I think it was a bit lighter than the original Navajo White.
  • tartanmeup

    Thanks for the update! I recall Navajo White being mentioned a lot in shelter mags. Truly a lovely colour.

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