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These Are the Best Paint Colors for Small Living Rooms, According to Designers

Getty Images / Graphic by Cristina Cianci

The living room is often the center of a home, but if your space could use some extra square footage, there are plenty of ways to make a small living room feel larger. Interior designers agree that paint has the ability to completely transform a room. You can set the tone, express yourself, update any space, and make a room look larger with the right selection and execution. 

Along with smart paint choices, New York designer Elizabeth Roberts and Portland, Oregon, interior designer Max Humphrey both suggest leaving space between your furniture and the walls to create the illusion of more space. Utah-based interior designer Shea McGee recommends focusing on using large-scale artwork, while London designer Sophie Ashby thinks that utilizing compact essentials in a small space is key. Read on for the best small living room paint colors to try in your home right now, according to these interior designers.

The pros suggest neutral tans, light grays, classic whites, and rich blue-green hues for your walls to make your space appear larger.

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Dark Blue

Blue living room paint
Studio McGee

"Sometimes small spaces are the best place to make a statement," McGee says. While some argue that bright whites and lighter tones are the only way to make a room feel bigger, this living room makes a case for richer tones. "It's bold and moody without being overpowering because the space itself isn’t overwhelming in size," she explains.

Behr Restless Sea paint
Behr Restless Sea $20.00
02 of 10


White living room paint
Elizabeth Roberts

Roberts suggests trying an off-white paint color like this one in your small living room to make the space appear larger. "It is a bit softer but still gives a clean palette to work with," she says.

Benjamin Moore Cloud White paint
Benjamin Moore Cloud White $47.00
03 of 10


Taupe living room paint
Studio Ashby

"I love using earthy ochre such as taupe to create a calm atmosphere in a room," says Ashby. Here, a neutral tan paint color contrasts with a lighter gray wall to give dimension to the small space.

Benjamin Moore Key West Ivory paint
Benjamin Moore Key West Ivory $47.00
04 of 10

Crisp White

White living room
Studio McGee

"We use Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore all the time," McGee says. "It's a crisp white but with just the right amount of softness to it—perfect for a refresh that still feels cozy." It looks even brighter compared to the wood-beamed ceiling in this small living room.

Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace paint
Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace $47.00
05 of 10


Silver living room
Max Humphrey

Humphrey recommends using a lighter gray tone in your living room. "It looks awesome in modern homes as well as traditional ones and can be dressed up or down depending on how fancy (or casual) you get with your furnishings," he says. This is a great alternative to using traditional white or beige paint.

Dunn-Edwards Paints in Silver Spoon
Dunn-Edwards Paints Silver Spoon $5.00
06 of 10

Light Gray With a White Trim

Gray living room with white trim
Studio McGee

"We love using light grays with a white trim because it adds a little bit of contrast while still keeping a light and fresh feeling to the room," McGee says. It's a neutral tone that's just a bit more interesting than an all-white space.

Benjamin Moore Classic Grey paint
Benjamin Moore Classic Gray $47.00
07 of 10

Super White

White living room
Elizabeth Roberts

"I recommend sticking with light colors for the walls and even floors," Roberts says. One of her favorite paint colors is Super White from Benjamin Moore, which she says can be used on both walls and ceilings. "It is bright, works well with any accent color, and will help bounce natural sunlight around the room."

Benjamin Moore Super White paint
Benjamin Moore Super White $47.00
08 of 10


Green living room
Studio Ashby

Ashby is a big fan of this shade of light green. "It creates coziness in a small space," she says. Replicate this look with a soft green hue that will still reflect natural light. It's a nature-inspired, unique look.

Paint & Paper Library paint in Panel
Paint & Paper Library Panel $57.00
09 of 10

Muted Gray

Muted gray living room
Max Humphrey

According to Humphrey, a gray like this one is incredibly versatile, making it ideal for a small space. "It can read gray, blue, or even greenish depending on the light," he explains. If your small living room has big windows, a color like this will change with the light throughout the day, creating a dynamic look.

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl paint
Benjamin Moore Gray Owl $47.00
10 of 10

Cool White

White living room
Studio McGee

"Paint color sets the tone of the space," says McGee. "A fresh white will make most spaces feel clean and updated instantly." This small living room looks light and refreshed thanks to the cool white paint and large windows, which both make the space appear quite large.

Benjamin Moore Decorator's White paint
Benjamin Moore Decorator's White $47.00