chiqui woolworth manhattan living room

Annie Schlechter

The living room has long been one of the most important spaces in the home for relaxing, entertaining—and well, living—with family and friends. From the Victorian era’s high-spirited parlor rooms to the modern, boldly patterned living room ideas of today, the design of the living room is meant to be a welcoming space for gathering with friends and family or for relaxing alone. In most cases, the style of a home’s living room sets the tone for the rest of the house via furniture choices, personal collections, and accessories. One of the easiest ways to define the space is by switching up your living room paint colors. This is also one of the quickest ways to update the living room.

Not only are your color choices the most powerful for establishing a sense of personal style in the living room, but they are also typically the initial decorating decisions that drive the rest of the process, from selecting fabrics and living room rug ideas to thinking through living room lighting ideas. Whether you gravitate towards lighter, airier spaces with calming colors or crave cozy, warm paint colors like you might find in yellow rooms, green rooms, or even chocolate brown rooms, you’ll find all the living room paint color inspiration you need right here. We’ve gathered 46 of the most radiant living room paint color ideas from top designers around the world to get you started. Happy decorating!

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As an ode to Dorothy Draper, designer Garrow Kedigian painted the walls of his exuberant apartment at the Carlyle a jubilant yellow—the same shade as the yellow velvet sofas Draper picked for the hotel’s lobby. The cerulean on the bookshelves carries over from the neighboring entryway.

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In the conversational living room of this Block Island retreat, blushy pink walls create a tranquil glow reminiscent of the sunset at the beach. Decorator Miles Redd painted the room’s textured wallcovering several times before achieving the perfect pale pink—which just so happens to match the romantic floral linen (Blithfield) on the club chairs.

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While a lover of vivacious prints and bold colors, designer Ashley Whittaker knew the only way to tame the 30-foot-long living room at this Connecticut estate was to keep the walls muted and reserve the pattern play for the furnishings. Creamy Venetian plaster walls serve as a soothing backdrop for a velvet sofa (Lee Jofa) and a serene landscape photograph by Carol Greenan Bouyoucos.

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Memories of warm summer days exploring the sunlit architecture of Venice inspired designer Summer Thornton to paint her Chicago living room a delicious apricot shade. The mohair orange sofa (fringe; Samuel & Sons) and the curvy custom daybed in the bay window fill the room with a sense of whimsy.

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It was the orange and yellow tones of the antique Spanish rug that propelled designer Renvy Graves Pittman to lean into a sunset palette for her Bel Air living room. Lee Jofa chintz-covered armchairs dotted throughout the room create the perfect perch to lounge during dinner parties.

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English gentlewoman Esther Cayzer-Colvin relied on lessons she learned from her grandmother Nancy Lancaster, co-owner at Colefax and Fowler, to decorate her own personal Wiltshire estate. Cayzer-Colvin meticulously mixed together varying shades of green paint to produce a color that reminded her of cooking apples for the walls of her family room.

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“I like to utilize the entire volume of a room,” says Anthony Baratta of the living room in this Manhattan apartment, pointing to an American painting by Tomory Dodge and oversize custom floor lamp, both of which take advantage of the capacious height. Equally ample upholstered furnishings are clad in arresting colors and patterns, including cherry-red velvet (Pierre Frey) and the sofa’s block-printed linen (Christopher Moore). Plaster and marble objects, including an over-the-top amphora lamp, echo the color and classical tone of the original ceiling moldings. The medallion border on the drapes was inspired by one in a Christian Lacroix showroom.

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Most of the palette and patterns for this London rowhouse decorated by Gary McBournie came from a single small antique Turkish rug. “We loved its colors and design, and Chinese, Indian, and Turkish influences,” says McBournie. “It became the starting point for everything.” Because it was too small to suit any of the spaces, McBournie re-created it as a large living room rug for the cherry-hued space. A convivial window seat overlooks an emerald and white back garden. Striped banquette fabric, Pierre Frey. French lantern, Carlton Davidson Antiques

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Designer Todd Romano’s living room in San Antonio, Texas, is a virtuoso’s guide to owning the color wheel: Taxicab yellow, pure red, and cobalt are a mighty foundation for soft pastels and nuanced naturals. A pair of Chinese baluster vases fitted as lamps bookends a custom button-tufted sofa. Central artwork, C-Ring 1, Todd & Fitch

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In the living room of designer Cece Barfield Thompson’s New York apartment, plaster white walls provide a crisp backdrop to a sea of fresh greens. An oil painting by London artist Daisy Cook hangs over a nine-foot Schneller sofa upholstered in stain-resistant fabric (Perennials). The coffee table is crafted from a 19th-century Chinese screen; the chairs are covered in handblocked linen (Clarence House).

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In the living room of architect Ken Pursley’s home in Charlotte, North Carolina, walls painted a warm, light grey set a soothing tone for a sea of neutrals. A Calacatta marble partition separates the seating area from an open kitchen, shielding countertop clutter while inviting conversation between cook and guest. The custom sofa was a wedding gift from fellow architect Bobby McAlpine.

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At this Bronxville, New York, home designed by Carrier and Company, the golden walls in the newly added family room are painted Standish White. Trim, White Dove, both by Benjamin Moore

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For the living room in this Connecticut home, designer Miles Redd found a pair of George II–style painted mirrors at auction “for a steal. They are totally Mario Buatta and really anchor the living room.” Emerald silk walls (Kravet), lapis-blue taffeta curtains with bullion fringe, and ruby red accents illuminate the room to radiant effect. Hand-blocked chintz upholstery fabric, Clarence House

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Lawyer-turned-interior designer Darryl Carter proves soft white walls create a gallery-like backdrop, as seen here in his Washington, D.C., townhouse. Treasured works of art, sculptural marble benches, and a roaring fireplace against white walls provide a serene experience for guests.

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Rich carmine walls provide an energizing canvas for a medley of textures and pattern in this New England den by Markham Roberts. A cartouches printed linen (Rose Cummings) and a Kashmir wool paisley (Clarence House) dress the custom sofa and slipper chair. While Roberts opted to upholster the walls in cashmere, you can achieve a similar look by painting the walls with Farrow & Ball’s Picture Gallery Red in a matte finish.

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Warm neutrals echoing shades of wood create a calming atmosphere to sit back and watch the bustling streets outside the large bays windows of this Mexico City living room by Fernanda Loyzaga.

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Ask designer Jeffrey Bilhuber, and he’ll tell you gold belongs on more than just your wrists and fingers. In this Upper East Side townhouse, the New York–based decorator used a sumptuous marigold as a backdrop for the artful mirror-image seating area.

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When looking for ways to liven up this historic Atlanta home, designers Nina Nash Long and Don Easterling turned to unique shades that could dial up the room’s design moxie while still being livable. The duo painted the mantel, trim, walls, windows, and doors in this silvery blue shade from Farrow & Ball.

“It’s peaceful and calming but still packs a punch of fun color,” say the duo.

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“It’s funny how much color comes across with those few accents, but I think it embraces Palm Beach’s very sophisticated sensibility,” remarks Suzanne Kasler, who used a vibrant pink shade to anchor a long living room at the Kips Bay Show House in Palm Beach. The salmony shade not only adds a pop of color to the mostly white space, but it brings out the touches of the pink and yellow in the Sans Soucis wallcovering by de Gournay.

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The slight brown undertones of the gray hue covering the walls of this living room design by Kishani Perera warm up the quaint space while giving it a timeless air.

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Shades of blue and pops of yellow echo the crystal-clear skies of the setting of this Bahamas getaway design by Miles Redd. To ensure a living room’s color palette never feels overwhelming, Redd recommends using art as a color equalizer.

“Not only does art help a room feel complete, it can make soft colors feel less wan and stronger colors appear more mellow,” explains Redd. The painting So To Speak by Doug Argue hangs over a sofa in a Osborne and Little fabric. The yellow linen used throughout the space is from Pierre Frey.

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“The best thing you can have in a house is good natural light,” says architect James F. Carter, who designed the living room of this Georgian-style home with four pairs of French doors and walls in a clean white shade that helps to make the room feel even brighter. The Regency game table and chairs are flanked by Chippendale mirrors and lamps from Bungalow 5. The wall paint color is Glacier White by Benjamin Moore.

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A smoky shade of gray (River Reflection by Benjamin Moore) bring the 18th-century boiserie in this Jean-Louis Deniot–designed Paris apartment back to life while also serving as a classical background for colorful midcentury and contemporary furnishings. Pink porcelain side tables (Djim Berger) mingle with a bergère armchair attributed to Georges Jacob and a clam chair by Philip Arctander.

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In the living room of this glamorous Hamptons home, glossy, white-lacquered walls reflect the diffused natural light from the custom ceiling, turning the space into a glowing light box. Designer Alex Papachristidis worked with artisans from across the country to create one-of-a-kind pieces like the pair of Hervé Van der Straeten bronze light fixtures that hang like jewelry in the space. The custom cantilevered sofas are covered in a white velvet from Cowtan & Tout.

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Many traditional libraries feature brown wood paneling, but slap on a coat of high-gloss blue paint—like in this living room designed by Richard Keith Langham—and you get a modern space that feels fresh and vibrant. Plaid Scottish curtains are Colefax and Fowler, and the ottoman is upholstered with a Jerry Pair suede.

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The blushing shade adorning the Dallas living room of late arts patron and design enthusiast Betty Blake emboldens the abstract showpieces and eccentric furnishings by Syrie Maugham to shine bright.

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Once a barn in this provincial home, the new living room stands awash in sophisticated patterns and textures. Farrow & Ball’s Wimborne White is just a shade warmer than pure white, making it a subtle backdrop for family antiques and lusciously patterned curtains in Braquenie fabric. Oversize sofas are upholstered in Sits and Pierre Frey.

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Lime green is likely one of the last colors on your list for a living room, but this space designed by Maureen Footer might just change your mind. Dreamed up while researching her book, Dior and His Decorators, Footer approached the design of her own apartment with the spirit of the venerable fashion icon. Neoclassical furnishings stand in contrast with the lime green walls to create a très chic living space. The sofa upholstery is a Bergamo fabric, and the wall sconces are Urban Archaeology.

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Bleached wood paneling and Benjamin Moore’s Stonington Gray create a quiet seaside getaway in the Hamptons. The custom sofa is in a Manuel Canovas fabric, and the ceramic lamp is Vaughan. Interior Design by Amanda Nisbet.

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Depending on the light, Farrow & Ball’s Parma Gray fluctuates between light lilac and cool blue in this New England home. Italianate Victorian architectural features are complimented with exotic decor brought back from Kate Corsden’s travels throughout the world as a photographer. Armchairs are Hickory Chair upholstered in a Ralph Lauren Home Belgian Linen.

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Emeril Lagasse and Alden Lovelace’s home near Destin, Florida, reveals a love for worldly antiques and cool, coastal style. Lovelace painted all the walls throughout the house in Ballet White, a Benjamin Moore gray reminiscent of the creamy hues inside an oyster shell. Secretary is by David Sutherland with a demilune table by Formations.

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Farrow & Ball’s French Gray on the cabinetry gives this Manhattan apartment’s living room instant provenance. The green-gray hue keeps a formal living room feeling relaxed and inviting. Custom armchairs are covered in a Rose Tarlow Melrose House textile, and the antique rug is from Stark. Interior Design by Cathy Kincaid.

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The maximalist approach of this den created by Thomas O’Brien and Dan Fink creates a warm and cozy environ ready for an afternoon of reading. Benjamin Moore’s Southern Vine coats the walls in a luxurious, saturated glow and gives a large space a sense of definition. A custom silk folding screen from Aero separates two seating areas, and the chandelier is designed by O’Brien for Visual Comfort & Co.

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In her signature no-holds-barred style, Michelle Nussbaumer relied on a dusty rose shade to anchor the worldly mix of pedigreed antiques and lush fabrics in her Dallas living room. The antique stool (JF Chen) is covered in a Fabricut fabric.

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Warm woods and neutral tones add European elegance to this Atlanta home. Farrow & Ball’s Shaded White envelopes the living room and allows architectural elements like the antique beams to shine. Leather armchair and side table are from Travis Antiques and Interiors, and the custom sofa upholstery is Cowtan and Tout. Interior design by Carolyn Malone.

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Known for dazzling color and dizzying pattern, Miles Redd brings new life into an outdated Victorian home in New Jersey. Lacquered walls in Benjamin’s Moore’s Bird’s Egg and a fanciful curtain pelmet elongate a low-ceilinged room and add a sense of whimsy to what was considered the most formal living space in the Victorian era. Wall sconces are Visual Comfort & Co., and the custom tufted sofa is in a Brunschwig & Fils silk velvet.

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