Nothing transforms a space like a fresh coat of paint. But deciding which coat of paint to commit to can be an arduous process. Snag the right one, and you'll take your space from stale to striking. Snag the wrong one, and, well, you'll need to carve out some time to repaint.
In moments like these, it can be useful to consult public opinion. Fan-favorite paint colors and widely beloved for a reason—they look great in a range of different homes. So we consulted some interior designers and asked them one simple question: what is your favorite color to paint a living room?
We rounded up the most common answers—the most popular living room paint colors, if you will—to give you a designer-approved list of colors to choose from.
Warm white is everyone’s favorite paint color. (It isn’t actually, but 14 different designers cited it as a go-to.) And while designers love a few different warm white paint colors, Sherwin-Williams’ Alabaster was an absolute fan-favorite. “Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams is a beautiful neutral paint color,” Yoselin Castro, senior interior designer at Mackenzie Collier Interiors, says. “This soft and creamy off-white tone fits almost any decor style and creates a balanced combination when paired with either cool and warm colors.”
Maya Williams, interior designer at Maya Williams Design, couldn’t agree more. “This dreamy shade is a warm white that gives a candlelight glow,” she says of the color. And Ginger Curtis, interior designer at Urbanology Designs, calls the color “a lovely warm white, not a stark museum [white].”
Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue
Looking for a less expected shade to paint your walls? Take a chance on teal. “For a bolder choice, [I love] Farrow & Ball Hague Blue,” Killy Scheer, interior designer at Scheer & Co., says. “It’s a rich, velvety blue that makes you feel like you're wrapped in fabric.”
And if you’re not willing to paint your walls such a bold color just yet, consider using the shade as an accent. “I love to do a contrast trim, which keeps the walls somewhat neutral but adds the color on the trim,” Scheer says. “It's a really beautiful effect and highlights the trim in an unexpected way.”
Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist
If you can’t decide between soft gray and warm beige, consider combining the two. Designers have fallen in love with versatile gray-beige—also known as greige. “Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist [is] a soft greige that is perfect when you don't want white walls,” Nicole Salceda, interior designer at Eye For Pretty, says. “It changes in every room and complements any style.”
Another fan of Balboa Mist? Lisa Melone Cloughen, principal designer at Melone Cloughen Interiors. “It has a bit of a sage green undertone that makes it inviting and easy to live with,” she says of the color. “I also like the timeless feel it lends a space."
Benjamin Moore’s Cheating Heart
Charcoal may seem like a bold pick for your walls. But since it’s a touch softer than black, it should feel both cozy and dramatic. “One of my secret weapons is Cheating Heart by Benjamin Moore,” Emily Yeates, principal designer and CEO of Urban Revival, says. “It’s always a crowd pleaser and conversation starter.”
She describes the color as a “deep charcoal with a beautiful blue pull.” Her favorite way to use it? Paint an entire room—the walls, the ceilings, the cabinets, the trim, everything—charcoal to create a “dramatic and moody setting.”
Clare’s Wing It
Light pink isn’t just for nurseries. If you want to make a statement without committing to a bold shade, consider painting your walls a pretty pale pink. “For a warm glow, Clare Paint’s Wing It is a really lovely pale pink that reads as a warm neutral and is rosy at night,” Kevin O'Gara, interior designer and founder of Kevin Francis Design, says.
Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace
It’s pretty hard to go wrong with a true white. (That’s designer speak for a white with neither cool nor warm undertones.) And the designer favorite is, without a doubt, Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace. “Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore is stunning when opting for a pure white color with absolutely no undertones,” Yoselin Castro says. “When a space doesn’t have many windows, it’s important to focus on selecting light and airy finishes that will brighten up the room. And this is where Chantilly Lace puts its magic to work!”
Nicole Salceda says she uses Chantilly Lace on everything in the living room. Mia Jung, Interiors Director for Ike Kligerman Barkley, says the shade is her go-to when she needs a “bright and clean white.” And Kristen Connor, owner and interior designer at Little Farm Cape Cod, says she turns to the color any time she’s painting trim.
Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray
Dark colors may seem intimidating, but they can be a great way to make a statement in your living room. “For small living rooms, I love going with a dark color,” Kevin O’Gara says. “And Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray is a fabulous navy with just enough of a green undertone.”
Farrow & Ball’s Blanc de Chine
Just like whites, grays can have cool or warm undertones. And cool grays—specifically, grays that look almost sage green—are becoming increasingly popular. One designer favorite? Farrow & Ball’s Blanc de Chine. Maya Williams calls the color “a no-fail classic that works for both traditional and modern interiors.”
Farrow & Ball’s Pitch Black
Go all in on statement-making style by painting your walls pitch black. The classic shade may be dramatic, but it’s a favorite among designers looking to make an impact. “[One] paint color I return to from Farrow & Ball’s collection is Pitch Black in full gloss,” Kellie Sirna, principal and cofounder of Studio 11 Design, says. “I like to use paint in unexpected ways and applied this full gloss paint to the brick in my entryway for major impact.
Benjamin Moore's Galt Blue
Aqua may seem like a surprising choice for a living room. But it’s soft, calming, and just striking enough to turn heads. “I love Benjamin Moore's Galt Blue,” Tara McCauley, interior designer at Tara McCauley, says. “It's the perfect pale aqua.” She notes that she likes to apply a slightly lighter shade as a glaze to make the space stand out even more.
Sherwin-Williams' Heron Plume
If greige is a touch too dark for your taste, consider snagging a light greige, instead. The color blends gray, beige, and white together to create what might be the most versatile neutral around. “I have a few favorites. [One is] Heron Plume by Sherwin-Williams,” Brenna Morgan, interior designer at Brenna Morgan Interiors, says. “It isn’t quite white, it isn’t quite gray, and it isn’t quite beige, but it matches everything!”
Sherwin-Williams's Dynamic Blue
Willing to go bold? Bright blue may be a perfect choice. “I love Sherwin-Williams's Dynamic Blue for the living room, because it's a joyful blue, and it makes the perfect backdrop for bold statements in the living room,” Courtney McLeod, founder and principal of Right Meets Left Interior Design, says—adding that she covered her own living room in the color.
“Don't be afraid to cover the entire room with your paint color,” McLeod says. “But if you have some trepidation, you can simply paint the inside of a bookshelf, trim, fireplace, or the inside of a closet.” She notes that this can be a great low-commitment way to add a new color to your space.
Pump up the volume in your space by trading warm white for pale yellow. “I enjoy using yellow in living rooms to bring an overall sense of contrast and interest to the space,” Billie Tharaldson, interior designer and founder of Julian Design, says. “It is soft enough to work as a neutral, but can be colorful enough to add some personality as well.” She notes that a pale yellow—like Sherwin-Williams' Lily—can be a “great alternative to white” in larger rooms.
Benjamin Moore’s Harbor Gray
If you’re looking for a neutral that feels versatile but surprising, gray should get the job done. “Finding a good neutral color can be tricky,” Rozit Arditi, principal of Arditi Design, says. “Benjamin Moore’s Harbor Gray is one of my go-to grays, because it is such a great middle-ground between a warm and a cool gray. It works with everything!”
Benjamin Moore’s Mountainscape
If yellow undertones just aren’t your thing, consider snagging a cool white—rather than a warm one. “There is a vast array of white shades, which can each bring a drastically different feel to a living room,” Kristen Connor says. Connor says she loves Benjamin Moore’s Mountainscape to “create a soothing, inviting vibe.”
“It reads ever so slightly gray, with just a hint of green, which is actually my favorite undertone,” Connor says. “Faintly green undertones make the room feel warm in the right way, while retaining modern sophistication.”
Benjamin Moore’s Woodlawn Blue
Don’t forget to paint your ceiling. This so-called “fifth wall” is the perfect place to try out an accent color, like a striking sky blue. “We love using a sky blue on the ceiling to bring the outdoors in and give the space a sense of endlessness,” Meg Rodgers, principal of Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design, says, adding that she recently painted a ceiling Benjamin Moore’s Woodlawn Blue. “It was a great finishing touch.”
Farrow & Ball’s Mole’s Breath
One easy way to make your space feel moodier and cozier? Paint your walls dark gray. “For smaller living rooms, I prefer to [use] dark paint colors to create a moody, dramatic space,” Juliana Oliveira, owner and principal designer of Beyond Interior Design, says.
Oliveira notes that she loves using navy, charcoal, or—you guessed it—dark gray to get this look. “My favorite paint colors to enhance this look are Vanderberg Blue or Graphite by Benjamin Moore, and Mole's Breath 276 by Farrow & Ball,” she says.
According to one designer, pops of color are having a moment. And her go-to bold shade is salmon. “We've been seeing the request for more pops of color ... which is a fun way to add personality into the space,” Laura Umansky, founder and CEO of Laura U Design Collective, says.
Umansky notes that she recently used Sherwin-Williams’ Sockeye to pull off this look. “Sockeye is a punchy and bright pink that was perfect for adding an artful, playful twist to the space,” she says.
Benjamin Moore’s Pashmina
Taupe is as classic and versatile as any other neutral. But since it’s darker than your average greige, it should make a striking addition to your space. And designer Maya Williams calls Benjamin Moore’s Pashmina one of her favorites. “[When you’re] tired of gray but want a great modern neutral, this color touts sophistication with it's beautiful taupe-gray hue,” she says.
Benjamin Moore’s Knoxville Gray
If you’re searching for a rich color that doesn’t feel too vibrant, consider giving blue-green a try. “Skip the accent wall, and flood the walls with color,” Andrea Schumacher, owner and president of Andrea Schumacher Interiors, says. She recommends picking a bold color—like Benjamin Moore’s Knoxville Gray—and filling the room with it. “Rich-colored walls create drama with little effort,” she says.
Sherwin-Williams’ Spatial White
Some grays are so light they’re almost white. Almost. And these subtle shades are exactly as versatile as they sound. “My favorite living room paint color is Sherwin-Williams’ Spatial White,” Karen Parziale, principal and chief designer at The Real Estate Staging Studio, says. “It is a neutral color and has a warm tone, [as well as] underlying hints of gray.” These undertones keep the color from reading too stark or severe, she says.
And Parziale loves that the color plays well with other shades. “This is an ideal color, because it coordinates well with grays, blues, and browns,” she says. “[And] if your walls are [painted] Spatial White, you can add pops of color with throws, pillows, and art.”
One bold shade that deserves more love? Mustard. “I love to use yellow, either as an accent wall or for the whole room,” Billie Tharaldson says. She notes lighter yellows tend to work best in large spaces, whereas darker yellows—like Sherwin-Williams' Nugget—can make a striking addition to a smaller living room.
Sherwin-Williams’ Evergreen Fog
You don’t need us to tell you that everyone’s favorite shade of green is a hit in the living room. “As of late, I find myself very inspired by shades of green, such as Evergreen Fog,” Beth Diana Smith, CEO and principal designer at Beth Diana Smith Interior Design, says, adding that Sherwin-Williams’ Rosemary is another recent favorite. “The colors feel unexpectedly beautiful and eye-catching, which is important for a living room if you want it to wow you and your guests.”
Behr’s Exclusive Ivory
When choosing a neutral for your living room walls, don’t forget about ivory. The shade is neither as bright as white, nor as dark as beige. So it makes a great pick when nothing else seems quite right. “Exclusive Ivory is a gorgeous off-white hue that could work in any number of rooms,” Lindye Galloway, founder and Chief Creative Officer at Lindye Galloway Studio, says. “If you’re wanting a neutral shade that’s not too white and not too beige, I’d say this is your best bet.”
Benjamin Moore’s Breath of Fresh Air
Pale blue may seem like an odd choice for a living room. But the soft shade should keep your space feeling calm and cozy. “Most people choose colors by what they like or dislike, but color has a deeper meaning than what meets the eye,” Mary Maydan, principal and founder of Maydan Architects says. “In particular, blue and green are calming.” So she tends to favor colors—like Benjamin Moore’s Breath of Fresh Air—that “inspire feelings of tranquility and peacefulness.”
Benjamin Moore’s Shaker Beige
Searching for a striking neutral that’ll complement everything in your space? Stick with a classic shade of beige, like Benjamin Moore’s Shaker Beige. “This neutral paint color is the perfect backdrop to allow art to take center stage,” Meg Rodgers says. “We recently used it in a living room, and it complement[ed] the rusts and greens in the [space] perfectly.”
Benjamin Moore's Hale Navy
Blue-gray is bold enough to feel like a color, but subtle enough to feel like a neutral. In other words, it offers the best of both worlds. “I love using unexpected tones in living rooms, such as … dark powder blue,” Malka Helft, interior designer and founder of Think Chic Interiors, says. “It is equal parts neutral, inviting, and engaging—a very easy color to design with, while still making an impact.” In particular, she likes the look of Benjamin Moore's Hale Navy—a dark blue-gray that's sure to make a statement.
Make your living room feel even warmer and more welcoming by trading classic warm white for rich cream. “I love Creamy by Sherwin-Williams when you have floors with a lot of yellow undertones,” Shaolin Low, interior designer at Studio Shaolin, says. “The creaminess of the color helps to balance that out, [while making the space] feel really white and bright.”
Benjamin Moore's Twilight
Can’t get enough of jewel tones? Mark Manardo, principal designer at Perlmutter-Freiwald, can’t either. “I find that rich tones, like peacock blue, in a smaller living room can do wonders,” he says. “It adds instant character and interest and will help anchor the rest of the room's design in a very cohesive way.” Spring for a striking shade of the color. Or temper it by picking a darker option, like Benjamin Moore's Twilight (a Manardo-approved favorite).
Behr’s Dove Gray
There’s no going wrong with light gray. Since the color is a neutral, it’s inherently pretty versatile. But since it’s underrated, it should make a pretty striking choice. “I love Dove Gray for a living room,” Georgia Zikas, principal and founder of Georgia Zikas Design, says. “It is elegant and intimate, but also works well as a neutral that you won't tire of in a room that gets daily use.”