Living room colour schemes brimming with character

A little colour in your life reflects your personality and lifts your mood, so why not choose one of these living room colour schemes?

While it’s true that neutral room schemes provide a blank canvas, there’s a lot to be said for introducing colour. Different shades can have an uplifting or calming effect and your choice of colour and soft furnishings can go a long way to reflecting your personality. If you’re feeling bold, have a look at our wallpaper ideas for living rooms.

Take on turquoise

Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

Pick a vibrant shade that adds personality and character to your living room in daylight and snuggly warm cosiness at night. Pick a turquoise hue with an energising vivacity about that isn’t brash or overwhelming. It’s also a perfect partner for mid blue. Keep flooring pale for a bit of balance and continue the colour across woodwork, including shutters, architraves and skirting. Hits of white on artwork, shelving, lighting and furniture have a cooling influence on a colour-saturated scheme.

Get the look:
Buy now: Similar sofa, Jackson 3 seater sofa, £447, John Lewis

Match walls and shelving

Image credit: James Merrell

Make a feature by painting a wall and its shelves in the same shade. It’s a trick that works especially well with expansive boxed shelving that runs wall to wall and from floor to ceiling. The on-trend mid grey matt-finish paint used here makes a mellow contrast to white woodwork, while blending effortlessly with toning flooring and furniture. Use lovely autumnal shades, such as olive green and burnt orange, for a seasonal feel.

Get the look:
Buy now: Similar rug, Dunelm
Buy now: Similar paint, Purbeck Stone No.275 matt modern emulsion paint, £43.50 for 2.5l, Farrow & Ball at B&Q

Seek harmony

Warm up your living room in the colder months with plum tones. Combine shades of claret and dusky rose to make the space toasty and snug. Colour-block the main wall with a port-wine red to introduce a rich, heritage element. Prevent the colour scheme going into overdrive by using softer mauve-greys, browns and greys for accessories and other elements in the room.

Get the look:
Buy now: Similar paint, Mulberry Burst matt emulsion paint, £22.93 for 2.5l, Dulux at B&Q
Buy now: Paulowina Coffee Table, £229, Maisons Du Monde
Buy now: Nova Desk Lamp, £100, Cox & Cox

Choose a hero shade

Image credit: Emma Lee

Pick a hold-on-to-your-hats shade for an instant living room transformation. This stunning emerald green is one of those precious shades that is able to make a splash both in its own right, while also making stars of the furnishings it provides a backdrop to. This collection of artwork, accessories and minimalist furniture is all the more impressive for the vibrant green it shares space with.

Get the look:
Buy now: Green Vertider Absolute Matt emulsion, £38 for 2.5L, Little Greene Paint Co at John Lewis
Buy now: Bess 2 Door Sideboard, £256, Wayfair

Keep it sweet

Opt for impact with a sugary shade – decorating with pastels needn’t mean going entirely pale. Paint an accent wall in a darker colour, which will serve to balance the lighter tone on an adjacent wall. Use matt emulsion to create a fashionable low-sheen look – a velvety, almost chalky finish – ideal for uneven walls in the living area.

Get the look:
Buy now: Sofa, Mayor sofa, £447, Arne Jacobsen at Made
Buy now: Simon Coffee Table, £425.99,

Make it multi-coloured

Image credit: Matthew Williams

A family space is the perfect place to go big on colour. Choose a low-slung modular sofa in a mix of pretty colours for flexible seating that will bring a sense of fun to a family room. Paint walls white to create a backdrop that makes the colours really pop. Keep other furniture minimal so the sofa takes pride of place.

Get the look:
Buy now: Maduri Multicoloured Corner Day Bed, £879, Maisons Du Monde
Buy now: Round Lattice Coffee Table, £239, Myakka
Buy now: Amelia Floral Carved Mirror, £95, Graham & Green

Stick to blue

Image credit: Simon Bevan

Create a fabulously fresh space with blue. Marry steely blues, from mineral to aqua shades, to devise a scheme you won’t want to leave. Mimic a dado or picture rail in paint – and take it all around the room for added impact. Keep the feel classic with white or natural wood furniture or create a more exotic look by adding texture and pattern for that year-round holiday feel.

Get the look:
Buy now: Wes Corner Chaise in Petrol Teal, £1,499, Made
Buy now: Casya Bamboo Pendant, £41.99 , Maisons Du Monde

Blur those lines

Image credit: Neil Mersh

Paint doesn’t have to be pedestrian so get creative with how you apply your chosen colours and you could end up with a truly individual look. Layer an accent colour over the top of a base colour and dry-brush half way up the wall to create a dip-dye effect. From ombré to watercolour washes, the two-tone trend shows no signs of fading away.

Get the look:
Buy now: Madrid Outdoor Sofa, £400, John Lewis
Buy now: Palmeral Cotton Linen, £85 m, House of Hackney

Go deep

Image credit: Malcolm Menzies

Create a brooding sense of intrigue by painting your walls and surfaces in a dramatic shade. Dare to use darker shades of paint – it may feel like a risky move but, in the right context, shadowy tones come into their own. Use a deep grey to add moody sophistication to a library or cosy nook. Create an entire backdrop that blends in by painting a radiator and a wall of shelves to match and bringing in a carpet in the same colour.

Get the look:
Buy now: The Sark armchair, £740,
Buy now: Ball Railings No.31 matt estate emulsion, £43.50 for 2,5l, Farrow & Ball at B&Q

Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

Deep turquoise, jade green, true pink, amethyst, citrine and emerald. This group of gorgeous colours work naturally together for a vibrant, non-clashy mix. Offset them with black, grey and white to create a successful scheme. Walls painted in a flat steel grey let you use jewel tones fearlessly on fabrics and accessories.

Get the look:
Buy now: Smog matt emulsion, £32 for 2.5l, Graham & Brown

Opt for orange

Image credit: Catherine Gratwicke

Create different moods in a neutral living room with colourful accessories. This cosy burnt orange warms up the whole room and works perfectly with the iconic 1960s chair. Large squashy cushions and table lamps in the same tone create a coherent colour scheme that can be easily updated for changing seasons and trends. Stick to large ‘look at me’ shapes and be bold with your colour – the porcelain background can take a punchy shade!

Get the look:
Buy now: Caliana Rug, £550, Cox & Cox
Buy now: Ludwig Orange Armchair, £599, Swoon Editions
Buy now: Jacks Orange Drum Lamp Shade, £30, Habitat

Combine complimentary colours

Deep forest green has the unusual quality of making a room feel cosy and enveloping in winter but cool and shady in summer. Bring it to life with woods and leathers that have an orangey undertone for a pairing that’s direct from nature. Add in a shot or two of indigo blut and whether you create a room that’s rustic or glamorous – or somewhere in between – this colour mix will exude quiet confidence.

Get the look:
Buy now: Teal Matt Emulsion from £45 for 2.5 litres, Zoffany Paints

Shine bright

Image credit: David Brittain

Cherished gold might have been the colour of 2016, but it is still hugely relevant even now. Warm and inviting , in shades that vary in intensity from spun gold to natural shades of Maize and honey, it looks great in classic and contemporary settings. Team it with wood effect wallpaper and relaxed mid century styled furniture for a cool retro feel. Mix different tones of Honeyed Oak, Maple and darker timbers to give a room depth and character. A cluster of rattan mirrors gives a nod to 70s nostalgia and makes a great wall display.

Get the look:
Buy now: Sudbury Yellow Estate Emulsion, £43.50 for 2.5 ltr, Farrow & Ball at B&Q

Perfect with peach

Image credit: David Brittain

Peach has shaken off its sickly sweet image this season and has been reinvented in a myriad of velvety soft shades from delicate peach blossom to peach skin blush. Team it with classic French Grey for a warm Mediterranean feel. Choose a pared back Moroccan style wall paper in soft, peachy tones and team it with Mediterranean style shutters to fill the room with light. Choose an eclectic mix of informal furniture in honeyed Oak and painted pieces. Add subtle hints of Peach by painting the odd piece of occasional furniture.

Be bold with blue

Image credit: Polly Wreford

If you’re sticking to a single colour, mix textures to add interest – the glossy finish to rough-luxe textures ups the glam factor in this living room. A curvaceous royal-blue lamp adds sleek contrast to the chair and rug.

Get the look:
Buy now: Absolute Matt Emulsion in Smalt, £38 for 2,5l, Little Greene Paint Co. at John Lewis
Buy now: Blue Armchair, from £179, Made
Buy now: Framed 3D Vintage Butterfly Artwork, £70, Not on the High Street

Play with pattern

Image credit: Matthew Williams

In a living room with a spectacular view, use colour and pattern carefully. Bring in a rug and use it to demarcate a specific area for colour. Use a mix of pretty shades and organic patterns on the cushions and furniture around it that are beautiful enough to be noticed yet not so bold as to battle with the view for attention.

Get the look:
Buy now: Homescapes Blue knitted Pouffe, £33.99, Amazon
Buy now: Wave Fabric 2 Seater Sofa, £519.99, Sofas World

Rethink pink

Image credit: Jan Baldwin

If you’re a fan of rich shades, but don’t want to go all out with wall-to-wall colour then introduce colour on furniture, soft furnishings and accessories instead. Choose one shade as a foundation to your scheme and then pick one item of statement furniture. Develop your room around it, picking accessories and soft furnishings in different hues and tones of the same colour.

Get the look:
Buy now: Andrew Martin Bhilai Coffee Table, £795, Houseology
Buy now: Colores Rug, from £44, Modern Rugs

Awaken your senses

Image credit: Simon Bevan

There’s a foolproof way to experiment with combinations of different hues, just use a colour wheel to find which shades work well together. Opposites attract in this case and three or four vibrant colours will look balanced when properly combined. Here, a punchy teal backdrop makes the coral red side table pop and bright yellow graphic print works harmoniously with both.

Get the look:
Buy now: Seattle Armchair in Burnt Orange, £499, Made
Buy now: Georgia Multi-coloured Cushion, £40, Habitat

Wow with wallpaper

Image credit: Polly Wreford

A wallpapered feature wall is a striking focal point in this living room, and is offset by a clean-lined modern sofa to create maximum impact. The sofa has been upholstered in a vivid, coral block colour to add extra panache. A blue rug and blue paintwork echo the wallpaper pattern for a stylish finish.

Get the look:
Buy now: Assam Damask Wallpaper, £25 a roll, Wallpaper Direct
Buy now: Tubby 3 Seater Sofa, £399, Made

Choose complementary colours

Image credit: Paul Raeside

Learn to use block colour in your home and you will never look back. Start with a white base and add colour with simple, clean shapes. The bright blue sofa in this living room sits happily on the graphic yellow rug, alongside the smaller furniture pieces in the same slightly muted tone – match some of the shades to make sure your room doesn’t start looking like a rainbow.

Get the look:
Buy now: Philo Large Sofa, £1,395, Arlo & Jacob
Buy now: Camila Hand-woven Rug, from £37.99, Wayfair

Spruce up with a hot palette

Image credit: Debi Treloar

Set spicy shades against a dark background for a dramatic and elegant feel, and mix patterns for a laid-back look. A sophisticated glass coffee table is perfect for the opulent setting, while coloured glass and metal accessories add further vibrance.

Get the look:
Buy now: Merano Sofa in Current, £989, Swoon Editions
Buy now: Two Block Storage Coffee Table, £299, Dwell

Focus on one colour

Image credit: Paul Raeside

Work with a limited palette to create a striking design scheme in a modern living room. Stick to just two main colours, such as blue and white, and use them in specific areas so they balance each other out. This will free you up to use different patterns without making the room’s décor look sporadic and overwhelming. Bring in a single piece of furniture in black and the contrast will turn it into a centrepiece.

Get the look:
Buy now: Bel Air Test Tube Vase, £248, Jonathan Adler
Buy now: Quadria Ink Blue fabric, £59 a metre, Korla

Paint a feature

Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies

Paint a chimney breast in a favourite shade that contrasts with your living room walls and fire surround. The pink and grey combination used here introduces warmth to the room without dominating it. If you are worried about a colour overwhelming a space, hang a large mirror to break up your block of colour.

Get the look:
Buy now: Raspberry Diva Matt Emulsion, B&Q
Buy now: Burlington Leather Armchair, from £735, Laura Ashley

Will you be incorporating colour into your living room?

From our sister site IdealHome. Words by Jennifer Louise Ebert. 

Apester Lazyload

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