Best living room paint colors to transform your space in 2022
Experts reveal the best living room paint colors to update your home and complement your living room design this season
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Interior designers and color experts share their recommendations for the best living room paint colors that are both stylish and on-trend for 2022 and will give your space a fresh update this season.
Unlike kitchen trends or bathroom trends which have to be considered through the lense of what might contribute (or detract from) your home's future resale value, there’s much more freedom to be had in exploring different paint colors for your living room. After all, it’s much easier (and cheaper) to redecorate a living room according to personal taste.
When it comes to decorating a living room, it's important to consider what colors have staying power and which ones might just be a fad. The tones selected by the experts as the best for living rooms provide a timeless foundation for your living room whilst still acknowledging the most recent interior paint color trends which have shown a strong preference for colors inspired by the natural world.
Best living room paint colors of 2022
1. Calming green
Over recent years there’s been a big move towards relaxed and restful living room schemes that are a sanctuary of tonal greens, leafy prints, and soft and soothing textiles. Sage green is currently the biggest color trend of all the green shades. It’s all part of the biophilic trend that sees interiors connected with nature and choosing a mix of calming chalky green paint colors will help create the perfect tranquil backdrop that can be the basis for a chilled living room scheme.
"An appreciation of the natural world, our Liminal paint palette showcases modern minimalism, with beautifully crafted furnishings and a quiet palette of neutral tonal color," says Kathryn Lloyd, Color Consultant at Crown Paints (opens in new tab). "Homeowners are now wisely considering exactly what they place in a room – so much so that space becomes carefully curated. The result is a retreat consisting of dry, chalky, comforting textures and single-use, easy on the eye, color."
Ben White, design expert at Swyft Home (opens in new tab) agrees. "Green is the color of 2022, taking the number one spot as the most searched for living room color, and second place in the round-up of the most searched for sofa colors."
"Green is a stable color, which promotes a healthy work and life balance. Green interiors are trending right now, which I think says a lot about a shift in mentality post-pandemic," adds Rhiannon Johns, interior designer at Piglet in Bed (opens in new tab).
Ultra Spec 500 Flat emulsion / $64.87 per 1 US Gallon / £55 per 3.79L: As Benjamin Moore's 'Color of the Year 2022' this sage green is a perfect choice for a calming living room scheme. Inspired by the stem of a flower, this gentle shade of sage is ideal to anchor and uplift living rooms without overpowering them with intense pigment.
Estate Emulsion / $65.84 / £56 per 2.5L: Farrow & Ball's cheerful shade of Breakfast Room Green, No.81 is slightly more lively than a sage green, but muted enough to hold the same soothing qualities. The name is taken from east-facing rooms designed for breakfast, implying this green is made to be seen at its best in natural daylight.
2. Uplifting pink
Pink loses its sugary sweetness this season and takes on more muted, earthy tones, making it a versatile color option for any living room. While not quite neutral, pink can be warm and grounding and works well with plenty of color combinations, from greys and browns to smart navy or lush green, making it a good all-around choice as a living room background color.
"Pink is perfect for a living room where you want a look that is joyful and uplifting," says Marianne Shilingford (opens in new tab), Creative Director at Dulux. "Pink can be a bit cheeky, but it's ultimately warm and super relaxed. It captures a sense of gentle fun and is perfect for warming up north-facing rooms where soft pale shades with just a hint of apricot look amazing teamed with lots of houseplants and verdant green accessories."
"Punchy petal pink shades are perfect for a contemporary look with a bit of energy but if you prefer a gentler vibe that will make you smile rather than giggle, calm it down with blush pink, warm nudes, or soft powder pink."
Modern Emulsion / $65.84 / £56 per 2.5L: As the iconic name suggests 'Setting Plaster' is a dusty pink that closely resembles the color of freshly plastered walls. This natural shade of pink boasts yellow undertones to create a softness that avoids feeling too rosy and pastel-like.
Matt Emulsion / $41.73 / £33.11 per 2.5L: A darker shade of pink but still with an element of gray that tempers the tone welcoming an earthy, sophisticated edge that prevents it from feeling too sickly and sweet.
Matt Paint / $18.91 / £15 per 2.5L: Pale pink with a hint of lilac undertones to make this a perfectly pale dusky pink that remains cool in natural light but still with enough warmth due to the rich pigment. The matt smooth finish helps to add to the chalky appeal of the shade.
3. Warm white
White is often avoided when it comes to living rooms as it can make a space feel harsh and clinical. But this is only true if you opt for the wrong shade of white. White can have warm or cool undertones and there’s a shade for every room - and used well, white can look striking.
Opt for white with yellow or red undertones in a north-facing living room - these will help lift the space and make it feel more warm and cozy. Avoid blue or grey-toned whites which can feel dark and dismal. In south-facing living rooms that get plenty of natural daylight, opt for cooler-toned whites which will counter the warmth of natural light and create a more balanced glow.
"Believe it or not, white is the combination of all colors of light mixed together," says Marianne. "It has magical powers in decorating and since we began to create it in paint, it has been the ultimate blank canvas onto which we tell the story of our lives on the walls of our homes.
"Of all the colors, white reflects most light and so we use it to make small dark rooms look bigger and brighter, ceilings look taller, colors look more impactful, and woodwork gleam. You could also say that white is the ultimate neutral because it works with everything. There is however more to white than meets the eye."
Estate Emulsion / $65.54 / £52 per 2.5L: Farrow & Ball have produced the perfect shade of white that unusually features no other pigments to cater to those devoted to pure white but not wanting the blue undertones so commonly associated with white – it's the blue that can so often make white feel cold.
Velvet Matt Emulsion / $52.94 / £42 per 2.5L: This white feels almost like the palest of pale grays, with a slight hint of sage in certain lights catering for those who would rather air on the side of cool than go creamy with white walls. But thanks to the balance of pigments this tone still offers a warm white finish.
Modern Emulsion / $65.84 / £56 per 2.5L: This warm white features a very slight yellow undertone to make it a degree warmer than pure white, just enough to make it ideal for adding just a dash of warmth when using white – but not so much so that the white ends up feeling creamy, which is often the case.
4. Pale gray
Gray shows no sign of losing its popularity any time soon. The biggest-selling paint color after white, gray has secured its place as the modern, go-to neutral. That being said, gray isn’t a one-shade-fits-all color. It’s important to choose the right shade of gray that will suit your living room, so always consider how much light your living room receives and whether you need a cool or a warm-toned grey to counter this.
Colors with a cool undertone, such as blues and other grays, will complement gray walls well, while colors with warm undertones like terracotta or burgundy will contrast the shade and bring a touch of warmth into the space.
Absolute Matt Emulsion / $65.54 / £52 per 2.5L: A greenish-gray is a warming neutral shade that lends towards a stone or putty shade in tone. This versatile gray adds warmth to a calming neutral color scheme. Thanks to the depth of tone this gray is ideal for pairing with punchy accent tones of pink or deep greens.
Estate Emulsion / $65.54 / £52 per 2.5L: This light, sophisticated gray features gentle blue undertones which create a subtle depth of shade. This delicate gray is accentuated by natural light and by architectural details, adding interest to the tone by the way it plays with the light.
Flat Matt Interior Wall / $40.33 / £32 per 2.5L: Pale and interesting this soft gray is ideal used in a living space that craves calm. Almost an off-white with a hint of gray this calming neutral is an effortless color to build upon with strong accents via textiles and furniture choices – for example a lush green sofa as above.
5. Sky blue
The latest interior design trend of cooling shades indicates that blue tones are big news for living room paint colors this year. Fresh and uplifting to offer calming qualities, these hues create a sense of calm in the room where you want to relax and unwind.
The Dulux 'Color of the Year 2022' Bright Skies was thoughtfully chosen by the paint experts to fulfill a desire for an airy and fresh tone that breaths new life into any space, especially busy living spaces.
Speaking about the shade of pale blue Marianne tells that "people want to feel revitalized and enjoy the freedoms that are returning to them, to look out and bring in new ideas.
"What better inspiration can we take than the endless skies around us? It is widely known that nature makes us feel better and taking steps to bring the outside in enhances our sense of wellbeing," she continues. "So whether we are working or relaxing, creating or exercising, it is essential to have a space that reflects the optimism and desire for a fresh, new start." The thinking is that a dreamy shade of sky blue can help to enrich the soul and make homes feel more hopeful for 2022.
One Coat Matt Emulsion / $40.33 / £32 per 2.5L: As 'Color of the year 2022' you can't get a much better blue living room paint color than Bright Skies right now, the perfect hue to create a sense of hopefulness for your home. The pale blue works in all light aspects, it simply darkens with shade but remains a true blue.
Modern Emulsion / $65.84 / £56 per 2.5L: This pale and intriguing blue is also inspired by the color of summer skies, hopeful skies that remain filled with radiant light quality. Thanks to the bright and airy nature of this shade it works equally well in bright spaces or light-deprived living rooms, holding its own in all settings.
Modern Emulsion / $25.23 / £20 per 2.5L: Closer to a pastel blue this summer-inspired blue feels bright and optimistic. The strong pigment of this blue shade is welcome in any light quality, from big bright living rooms to small, darker spaces it will still feel airy and luminescent.
6. Soothing lilac
Lilac is another underrated color that is back in vogue for 2022. Soft and sophisticated and a less-girly option than pink, lilac is a big trend in fashion right now and it seems that interiors are following suit. Unlike Pantone's Color of the Year this shade of purple is softer and more restful. Lilac sits on the cool side of the color spectrum so can feel chilly in north-facing rooms, but in south-facing living rooms with plenty of natural light, it will feel cozy, warm, and welcoming.
Mylands, House of color, has seen searches for lilac up 33% on its website. "Lilac is traditionally a romantic and feminine hue, but is increasingly popular for many rooms in the home thanks to its subtlety and adaptability," says Dominic Myland, CEO of Mylands (opens in new tab). "We’re noticing more and more customers choosing lilac for their interiors because it adds a pop of color, but isn’t overwhelming or intimidating like other, bolder shades, and its versatile nature means it pairs well with a myriad of colors."
Marble Matt Emulsion / $69.95 / £55.50 per 2.5L: This gentle desaturated shade of lilac offers a chalky, mineral quality with undertones of gray to ensure it stays on the cooler scale of lilac. While cool in temperature this tranquil tone is the perfect backdrop for welcoming warming accent shades via soft furnishings and accessories.
Modern Emulsion / $65.84 / £56 per 2.5L: Inspired by Scottish heathers this tranquil lilac shade is grounded with a dash of black to prevent the color from looking pinky, instead it retains an element of gray associated with true tones of lilac.
Regal Select Matte / $98.31 per 1 US Gallon / £78 per 3.79L: For a strong take on the lilac trend this shade features heavier undertones of purple plums to make it feel more intense, as opposed to a more gray lilac. This shade is an idea for those who are looking to make more of a bold statement with this on-trend hue.
7. Warming yellow
Yellow is a key color for 2022 with designers taking advantage of yellow’s sunny, upbeat qualities to bring a warm and happy glow to living spaces. Versatile and welcoming, opt for mellow mustard or classic ochre yellow in living rooms, which will feel richer and cozier than pale and buttery shades. Yellow works much like a neutral, partnering perfectly with warm woods and metallics or dark accent black and navy.
"When choosing colors for your living room – think about how you want to feel in the space," says Anna Hill, Brand Director at Fenwick & Tilbrook (opens in new tab). "Do you use it most during the day or in the evening? This will impact the way the color looks as bright natural light vs. artificial lamp light will give a very different aesthetic. If your goal is for a cozy feeling, don’t shy away from deeper colors but steer towards natural, muted tones rather than vibrant hues to aid relaxation.
"It’s also good when choosing colors to think about not only the shades you like but the age of the property and any architectural details that could be accentuated with color. An ornate ceiling rose could look stunning painted in a darker shade, using the fifth wall to bring the room to life."
Modern Emulsion / $65.84 / £56 per 2.5L: This refreshing sunshine yellow is ideal for light-filled rooms, as the name suggests the simple shade is ideal for rooms with a sunny deposition. That's not to say it can't be used to brighten up a north-facing room, but plentiful natural light makes this hue come alive.
Chalky Matt Emulsion / $69.32 / £55 per 2.5L: Morris & Co's Weld Yellow really packs a punch of feel-good sunshine vibes. The shade is inspired by the bright yellow substance of the weld plant. Thanks to the chalky finish this strong and purposeful shade of yellow feels natural and somehow soft. Ideal for welcoming an uplifting glow to living rooms.
Modern Emulsion / $25.23 / £20 per 2.5L: This rich shade of nostalgic yellow has the same warming qualities as mustard yellow, naturally darkened with a touch of black to ensure the pigment stays strong without feeling bright. This deep concentration of color would feel beautifully inviting and intimate in a small living room, creating a cozy aesthetic.
8. Almost black
Black is a brave choice for a living room, but experts agree that it is guaranteed to bring drama and a theatrical quality to a living room. Jewel colors, such as gold, fuchsia, turquoise, and lime will pop against a dark backdrop for a smart, Deco-inspired style. Or, for a more relaxed, boho vibe team that is big in bedroom trends this year, black with soft neutrals, sage greens, and blush pinks with plenty of woven macrame, house plants and greenery to accessorize.
"Eclectic Boho has been a popular style for a while, and this new look moves the trend forward to create a sleeker, smarter, and tailored interior," says Helen, at Benjamin Moore.
"Paint walls and woodwork in a deep, dark base shade, then add a trim detail in a contrasting accent color to highlight features in the room such as fire surrounds and window frames. Complete this sophisticated scheme with the Boho staples: textured Berber rugs, vintage furniture, plenty of plants, and brass accessories."
Modern Emulsion / £ 47.50 per 2.5L (the UK only): Interior designer Abigail Ahern is the master of decorating with dark color! This deeply intense shade of Noir is a muddy hue with an earthy quality thanks to the strong undertones of rich plum that blend with it. the. black to create a beautifully moody shade ideal for creating a cocooning, restorative living space.
Modern Emulsion / $65.84 / £56 per 2.5L: Dark enough to feel like black but warm enough to avoid living room walls from feeling flat, like a theatre backdrop. This dark pigment is tempered with red undertones to give it the warming quality that prevents it from feeling cold and uninviting as a wall color.
Regal Select Matte / $98.31 per 1 US Gallon / £78 per 3.79L: Almost black but ever so slightly green with a hint of gray, this multileveled shade is ideal for creating a striking style statement but feels more forgiving than true black, balanced by the warm undertones that make it enveloping in all the right ways.
What is the best living room paint color?
The best living room color will very much depend on your personal preference, although there are trending color palettes to help guide your decision-making. Our living rooms are typically the most social and frequently-used spaces in our homes, so it's important they have the right balance of showcasing personality but also being a restful place to unwind.
Tobie Lewis, Senior Brand Manager at Valspar Paint (opens in new tab), says: "Choosing a color that represents your interior style and is best suited for all occasions can be challenging, therefore prioritizing a theme, such as neutral or retro color trends, will help you be more selective.
"Neutral shades have recently been through a moment of reappreciation, with their trusty, versatile, calming, and Scandinavian nature. Shades such as Valspar’s Biscuit Crumbs and Tidy White are perfect for a neutral living room theme, for both layering with hessian and earthy textiles and contrasting with other non-neutral tones.
"If you want to add a hint of color but keep the understated nature of a neutral theme in your living room, soft green tones such as Cool Mint, are great for incorporating a sense of freshness to more organic palettes.
"If you want to explore more colorful themes in your living room, retro and 70s-inspired shades such as mustard yellows, peaches, and deep purples are a great place to start. Valspar’s Ochre Mountain, Moroccan Resort, Virtuoso, and Speckled Eggs are examples of colors that work amazingly together for a more adventurous, fun palette that celebrates the social nature of living rooms, whilst adding a sense of luxury for those more quiet moments.”
Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 19 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of womanandhome.com, she has spent the last 16 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.
With a keen eye for the latest interior trends, there's not a lot she doesn't know about home decor – whether it’s what colour we should be painting our living rooms next season, or if the latest 'must-have' buys are actually worth investing in.
A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interiors trend events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.
- Lisa FazzaniHomes and interiors journalist
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