An anchor. A multipurpose space. A home in miniature. Living rooms are big news. They’re the places people spend the most of their waking home time in and they double as cinemas, tea rooms, games rooms, reading nooks and even bedrooms (when Netflix binge takes an all-night turn).
A living room is a room we like to feel personally comfortable in but also a place others will feel comfortable in too and it’s usually the biggest space in the home making it, often, the hardest to design. Choosing a colour palette is just the beginning but an important first step. Discover some of the most beautiful living room colour schemes, from subtle and cosy to daring and confident.
Colours: SAILOR BLUE, MOURNING DOVE, MUSHROOM AND ALLOY
In the Chicago living room (above; photo by Xavier Béjot), Jean-Louis Deniot applies a subdued Neoclassical palette of bluish greys and pale mushroom with an update of fresh white to the bones of the room. A pop of rich blue in the form of a velvet sloped arm sofa and contemporary artwork gives the space punch. And the rest of the room isn’t any less incredible. You can see it here.
Image Credit: Kelly Wearstler
Colours: CORAL PINK, MOONLIGHT, BLEACHED SAND AND METEORITE
Always inspired by the unique Memphis group, it’s no surprise that everyone’s favourite Maximalist, Kelly Wearstler, knows her way around the colour wheel. All stripes and diamonds and polka dots, this New York pad is another example of how girlish tones can be transformed with the right accompaniments. Its coral pink hues are nothing short of avant-garde when used as leather and paint-splatted upholstery.
Image Credit: Peter Mikic/Photo: Kate Martin
Colours: SNOW WHITE, ALLOY, BLACK ONYX AND GLAZED GINGER
This unexpected (but oh-so-smart) combination of layered greys and whites with ginger-hued woods by London designer Peter Mikic has us wondering why we’ve never thought of it before. Part contemporary, part mid-century and fully sophisticated, this colour palette brings twentieth century design seamlessly into the twenty-first century.
Image Credit: Greg Natale
Colours: ITALIAN PLUM, PAVEMENT, QUIET GREY AND METEORITE
Greg Natale – a regular advocate of highly pigmented schemes – strikes again with this mature take on colour. In a luxuriously edgy scheme, a plum, grey and black palette are accented with Brutalist brass silhouette and retro prints. The statement piece – a bang on-trend curved sofa – is even more enticing thanks to its bold colour choice which is undeniably sexy.
Image Credit: Wendy Labrum/Photo: Meghan Beierle
Colours: MAZARINE BLUE, OPAL GREY, RAINDROPS AND CRANBERRY
Cool with a dash of pretty, this urban living room by Wendy Labrum proves that bold colours can be serene too. The combination of electric blue and a splash of cranberry works beautifully against the purple-tinged greys of the metallic wallpaper and the silver pod-like coffee tables are absolutely perfect.
Image Credit: Brendan Wong
Colours: PINK LAVENDER, NIRVANA, SLEET AND BLACK ONYX
Brendan Wong often creates contrast in his projects by injecting neutral spaces with vibrant accents – emerald green against white, mustard against black, electric blue against grey. Here the designer proves just how smart pink and purple can be. The hues, sometimes considered to be quite saccharine, are anything but when compared with jet black and cool greys. Explore the rest of the home here.
Colours: OIL GREEN, BRINDLE, DARK OLIVE AND BONE WHITE
Finally cream is coming back into action and for good reason too. Could this living room be any more sophisticated? It’s a hard ask. The chandelier dripping in crystals, the timeless trio of sofas, the mossy sage and olives and brindle hues – it’s all very, very elegant. Katharine Pooley marries a classic arrangement with modern touches (those coffee tables à la Jonathan Adler’s Jacques Cocktail Table) to stunning effect.
Image Credit: Sophie Paterson
Colours: SPARROW, SIMPLY TAUPE, PUMICE STONE AND OCHRE
British interior designer Sophie Paterson has gained a following of enthusiasts of the comfortable yet elegant look. Her ability to master tone-on-tone layers is at the fore in this airy and inviting living room which pairs a gentle purple with warm neutrals and flecks of ochre. Considered styling – a signature element of her designs – includes a fanciful bronze octopus bowl, petrified wood sculptures and rattan storage baskets – finish the look.
Colours: SNOW WHITE, VINTAGE INDIGO, DARK SAPPHIRE AND JET BLACK
The Lancasters, Hyde Park was a development that drew on London’s most respected design studios including Helen Green Design, Intarya and Katharine Pooley. The latter’s classy white, indigo, sapphire and black scheme works well with the room’s double height. The contrasting wall panelling ties the airy room together, focusing the eye on the various areas of the room.
Image Credit: Amanda Nisbet/Photo: Roger Davies
Colours: LEMON, AMAZON, SODALITE BLUE AND MOONBEAM
Blue and green should never be seen, except with something in between. Chosen for the front cover of her coffee table book Dazzling Design, this space by Amanda Nisbet showcases her prowess in confident colouring. Vibrant lemon yellow contrasts with navy blue and both accent the scheme’s marbled forest green fauteuils, much in the way they would if mixed together on a colour palette. The trick to such a daring space? Neutral walls, carefully planned zones and appropriate ratios.
Image Credit: Jean-Louis Deniot/Photo: Jonny Valiant
Colours: BLANC DE BLANC, PEARL BLUE, TITANIUM AND ESPRESSO
Greys upon greys upon greys – this 5th Avenue apartment living room by Jean-Louis Deniot is smart alternative to timeless ivory interiors. A beautiful coffered ceiling maps out the geometry of the space which sticks to a simple palette in favour of statement art pieces, a graphic rug and intricate lamps. Keep base colours light (a whisper of grey, if you will) with darker touches in the furniture, flooring and art.
Image Credit: Helen Green
Colours: DUSK BLUE, VINTAGE INDIGO, AMBER GOLD AND SILVER LINING
Although not made up of the traditionally natural colours, a surprisingly earthy vibe underpins this Helen Green Design look. The chosen blue shades are just dusky enough to exude a natural appeal, creating a room which is calming but avoids being bland. The iconic Party sofa (designed by Edward Wormley) is realised in a charming pale blue which balances the light to dark ratio; a floor lamp constructed of falling rings and abstract table ornaments nod to the Bronze Age; and a full-size rug is adorned with ribbons of amber gold and smudges of inky blues.
Learn the effect of your living room colour of choice with our article on colour psychology.