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How To Choose a Colour Scheme For a Living Room

Your living room is the most social and frequently used space in your home. Getting the colour scheme right is essential, not only for creating a good first impression but also to set the mood of the place where your friends and family gather.

We spoke to FCI senior interior designer, Ben Ibanez, about these are 5 key aspects that we recommend you consider when choosing a colour scheme for a living room.

1. The basics of colour theory

As experienced interior designers, we know the power that colours can have on your mood. They can make you feel calm or anxious and change how you communicate in a particular room.

Colour theory is the science of using colour and the effect that it has on humans. It explains how we observe colours and our perception of the ways in which certain colours mix, match or contrast with each other. 

When it comes to interior design, colour theory encompasses a collection of guidelines that interior designers use to communicate using colour schemes. We use a colour wheel to show the relationship between colours with different shades arranged according to wavelength. 

Simply put, a colour wheel is a simple tool that can help you see which shades go together. Using this tool along with the psychology of colour will help you choose the perfect colour scheme for a living room.

2. Consider the mood you want to create

As colours are so strongly associated with moods, it’s important to understand which colours evoke what kind of feelings before you choose a colour scheme for a living room.

Ben explains that autumn colours like golden yellows, soft oranges and muted browns evoke feelings of happiness and comfort. “A living room decorated in these colours will feel like a warm hug,” he says.

Red tends to make people react with speed and force and is often used in restaurants to increase appetite and make people eat faster.

Silver is linked to innovation, which is why so many high-tech products and appliances are often silver, giving people the impression they are purchasing something valuable and cutting-edge

Soft greens and pale blues are associated with calm and tranquillity, making them a popular choice for home interiors.

But, says Ben, it’s not just our moods that are affected by colours. “Colours also act as cultural symbols that vary from place to place. For example, in Western cultures, white is associated with purity while in the East it signifies grief. So if there is a colour that has great meaning for your culture, think carefully about how you might want that to reflect in your living room.”

When choosing a colour scheme for a living room, it’s important to research the connection between colour palettes and moods to ensure you pick the colour that creates the ambience that you want.

3. Use complementary colour palettes for a cohesive look

Cohesive colour is the key to an overall feeling of serenity in your living room. Your living room colour scheme should reflect your style, taste and your chosen ambience.

“If your walls are a soft green while your sofa and chairs are all magenta chintz, the strong contrast and lack of harmony will create a jarring effect,” explains Ben.

He goes on to say that there is no “correct” colour palette as everyone’s preferences vary, but for many people, it can be hard to know where to start.

“A good rule of thumb is to settle on one single colour as your starting point. Use that same colour in large areas such as your living room walls connecting rooms or passages. Remember, you’re not restricted to neutrals; you can go with a dove grey or vibrant orange, as long you keep it consistent.”

“You can add harmonious colours within your furniture and accessories for an overall cohesive look.”

To help you identify colours and materials that complement one another, we’ve created a guide to interior design trends that explains more on this topic.

4. Tips for incorporating your chosen scheme into your living room

Once you’ve selected your colour scheme for a living room, it’s time to add elements that reflect your style while ensuring they stay within your colour palette.

We’ve been designing interiors for nearly 40 years and we are experts at helping you figure out how to create colour harmony in your home.

After you’ve chosen your main colour, we can help you pick out furniture that blends seamlessly with your colour scheme and decor style.

Ben recommends using pops of brighter colours to create little splashes of happiness that you can follow throughout your home, not just in your living room. “Another great way to feature stronger colours is through mixing and matching textures,” he says. “Choose smaller items like throw pillows and fluffy rugs in bold shades with fake fur and roughspun textile layers for a distinctive look.”

Lastly, it’s important to choose a style and stick with it. “If your style is traditional, then keep that traditional time running throughout your home. The important thing is that there’s a feeling of synergy when you walk from one room to the next.”

For more ideas on how to combine colour and texture, take a peek at these tips from our interior designers.

5. Pay attention to the size and shape of your living room

When choosing a colour scheme for a living room, it’s important to consider the size and shape of the room.

“Everybody knows that lighter colours make a room appear larger while darker colours make the walls close in,” says Ben. “But there’s more to it. If your living room is rectangular and you want it to look more square, you can paint the two end walls in a dark colour and the longer side walls in a light colour. This will make the space feel more symmetrical.”

As a general rule, grey and white are excellent base colours for living rooms of all sizes and shapes and they can be accented with any bright colour that you choose.

Final thoughts on choosing a colour scheme for a living room

When you choose a colour scheme for a living room, take our expert tips into account as a starting point to help guide your process.

However, don’t panic if you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start or if you get stuck halfway through – we’ve got you. For almost 40 years, we’ve been helping people create their dream interiors and we’ll make sure your living room is everything you could want.

Get in touch with our designers today for a chat.

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