Selecting a paint color for your living room is no easy decision. It's a room full of contradictions—you use it for socializing, drinking, and eating, but it's also a place of respite and relaxation, a stomping ground for a lazy Sunday. So clearly, not just any shade will do. If you find gray to be too plain, maybe a bold blue will fit your vibe or even a playful pink. However, don't write off classic colors just yet.
Those you might've deemed too boring for the family room have popped up as designers' favorites, too. Shades of the creamiest whites and warmest beiges can work in your favor, and rather than hinder a space, they provide the perfect backdrop for a flawlessly styled living room.
Below, you'll find a handful of stunning colors worth considering. These have all been recommended by interior designers and stylists and will instantly spruce up the walls of any living room.
Sherwin-Williams "Gossamer Veil"
"This is a perfect fusion of a light, foggy gray with a tan base. It is a soft and fluid transition for any rooms that incorporate grays and browns," says interior designer DuVäl Reynolds. "We use this color often when we’re designing for larger applications–like where large foyers and hallways meet. It’s the most flexible color foundation to use for any new space." "Gossamer Veil" is such a winner in his book that Reynolds ended up painting the first and second floors of his own house in this exact hue.
Farrow & Ball "Pink Ground"
Neutral is not synonymous with bland, especially when you opt for something like pink. "I've recently come to accept that I love pinks more than I used to admit. But the truth is, pinks—soft shades, in particular—have always been of my go-to 'neutrals' for family and living rooms," admits Boston-based interior designer Liz Caan, who often gravitates towards Farrow & Ball's "Pink Ground." "It’s soft and serene, with the same calming qualities of a good white but with more low-key drama (which I think a living room always calls for)."
When it comes to picking complementary shades, Caan recommends saturated reds and dark emerald greens.
Dunn Edwards "White Picket Fence"
White can be a powerfully stark color, and people either love it or find it too overbearing. Amala Raj of Amala Raj Interiors makes a case for why this color shouldn't be underappreciated. She personally admires the power of Dunn Edwards' "White Picket Fence." "It's clean, crisp, and inviting without feeling too sterile. It's the perfect shade of white to pair with both warmer furniture tones as well as more modern, cool tones."
Benjamin Moore "Simply White"
Ariana Lovato, owner and principal designer of Honeycomb Design, is another person who deeply believes in the power of a good white paint—"Simply White" in particular. "It's the perfect amount of warmth in a white, and it goes with your cool and warm tones. I love it because it's a great backdrop for colorful artwork and furniture."
Benjamin Moore "Swiss Coffee"
Molly Machmer-Wessels, co-founder of Woodland Design Company, finds that "Swiss Coffee" is grounding, yet adaptable. It sets the perfect foundation for nearly any color palette and works as a gentle neutral.
"It gives your home a deeper, more relaxed feel than a basic white or off-white paint. White can often feel sterile and be tough for people to select. Lighting plays a major role in how whites look in a room, so from space to space, the shades can change," she says. ""Swiss Coffee" is truly a more creamy white that has a beautiful consistency, even beyond the living room. It has a forever feel. When you paint your living room with "Swiss Coffee," it doesn't feel like new paint—it just feels warm and fresh."
Sherwin-Williams "Pure White"
White walls open up a whole new world for experimenting with saturated hues. "Sherwin-Williams' "Pure White" is my go-to paint color for a living room, especially since so many homes these days are designed with an open-concept floor plan," says Abbe Fenimore, designer and founder of Studio Ten 25. "We use this color often for our clients that want a modern look and the ability to work with bold colors and patterns."
Behr "Nocturne Blue"
Casai's Head of Design, Alexa Backal, explains that blue can be incredibly calming and relaxing, especially in the spaces where we need it most. "It is a sophisticated color selection and contrasts with neutral furniture," she says. While any blue—pale, bold, or dark—will do, Backal likes more saturated shades, like "Nocturne Blue." "Deep blues work perfectly with low and mid wood tones. I love this palette for a living room since it is a great way to highlight the room with an elegant touch."
Benjamin Moore "Decorator's White"
Another love letter to white paint comes from New York-based interior designer Timothy Brown. "As boring as it sounds, I love Benjamin Moore's "Decorator's White." I think it is a great neutral white and goes very well with almost any décor," says Brown. "I love the color with warm neutrals or cool grays. It is a great background for any type of art."
Benjamin Moore "Wickham Gray"
Interior designer Desiree Burns personally prefers Benjamin Moore's "Wickham Gray" when it comes to painting a living room. If white is too plain, color is too bold, and beige is too warm, you won't find a more fitting option than a gray like this. "It's a light, cool color that works really well in both modern and traditional rooms," Burns says.
Behr "Silver Drop"
"Silver Drop" holds its own and plays perfectly with other bolder hues. "This color is a nice warm greige that works with more gray-leaning or more beige-leaning furnishings," says Sara Queen, Senior Designer at Lisa Queen Design. "It's a great way to add color to the walls while remaining pretty neutral."
Queen also provided the perfect example of how it can serve as a powerful contrast to other bolder colors: in Principal Designer Lisa Queen's abode. "We actually used "Silver Drop" cut with white to lighten it up a bit more in Lisa's home, and you can see how we used this mellow color to transition between more colorful spaces."
Benjamin Moore "White Opulence"
Jennifer Morris of JMorris Design says her "go-to living room combo is Benjamin Moore's "White Opulence"—it has lots of depth and can change in the day and light. I love to pair this with "Silver Satin" on trim and base."
Although this particular color has the ability to morph with the light, there's another reason why Morris appreciates it. "What makes "White Opulence" amazing is it also is flexible with the furniture and fabric colors. It’s overall 'white' but doesn’t trend stark or bland. It works wonderfully with both cools or warms."
Portola Paints "Solaris" Lime Wash
Los Angeles-based interior designer Gabrielle Aker of Aker Interiors loves Benjamin Moore's "Simply White," but she prefers Portola Paints' "Solaris" Lime Wash if texture is what you're going for. ""Simply White" is a perfect neutral white, not too cool or warm, and works with any style space. "Solaris" gives the walls movement, adding that extra bit of interest for the eye to land on."
Casai's Alexa Backal also approves of gray-based beiges. "These tones make living rooms look classy, neutral, and elegant. It is a great color to maintain simplicity while adding personality to the space." Like desaturated greens, she explains that shades like Sherwin-Williams' "Alpaca" cultivate an indoor connection to the great outdoors. "The gray as a base color creates a more sophisticated and contemporary atmosphere and can make a space feel larger, more open."
It's also a great choice of palette for those who often switch up their styles. "Since it is a neutral tone, you can change accessories easily without compromising design or needing to repaint the whole space."
Farrow & Ball "Hague Blue"
Hankering for a moody vibe? Interior designer Peti Lau says to reach for "Hague Blue." "Because Farrow & Ball paints are chalk-based and a premium paint, the rich hues and the consistency of the color come out so much deeper and richer with a lot of dimensions," Lau says.
Designer Traci Connell turns to "Snowbound" by Sherwin-Williams for coating a living room. "While it may seem ordinary, it’s actually extraordinary because this shade of white has zero yellow undertones or blue undertones. That is hard to find in a pure white without looking utilitarian," she says.
This is especially important when it comes to picking out furniture for the space. "We don’t have to worry about anything clashing with the walls, and we always will achieve a modern and minimal look without a colored, cluttered wall paint."
Behr "Pinecone Hill"
Alexa Backal explains that subtler greens, such as "Pinecone Hill," add more color to a space than a neutral can, without feeling too overwhelming. "Green syncs perfectly in most color palettes and is a great base to highlight furniture and accessories. It is a safe bet if you want to take a step out from the basic neutral colors," she says. "I love this color selection because it also combines perfectly with plants and draws a parallel to the outside world."
Sherwin-Williams "Agreeable Gray"
Snow, eggshell, and ivory may be too dull for some folks, but Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25 has the solution. "If white walls aren’t your thing, Sherwin-Williams' "Agreeable Gray" is a great option. It will give a little bit of warmth to your walls without taking over the room, and it works with any modern- or traditional-style home."