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How to Choose a Colour Scheme For Your Living Room

You spend more time in your living room than in any other room in the home, and you likely do a lot of your entertaining there too, so it’s a space that deserves a great deal of thought with regard to its colour scheme. It should be somewhere that reflects your personality and where you enjoy spending time, but getting it right isn’t simply about painting the walls your favourite colour – there’s much more to it than that. Here are some helpful tips on how to choose a colour scheme for your living room that will compliment both the space and your tastes.

Focus on the Light

Dark interior

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Perhaps your most important consideration when deciding on a colour scheme for your living room is the lighting, both natural and artificial. A room that receives a lot of natural light can take darker, bolder colours more easily, whereas a room that struggles to let in the light because of small or north facing windows will not make the most of such colours. If this is the case in your living room, muted shades, off-whites, and neutrals are a better bet. Cool shades will help make a sunny room feel light and airy.

When it comes to the artificial light in your home, you have much more control than is the case with natural light – you can decide on the purpose of the lighting, how much to use and where to use it. Artificial lighting is particularly good at bringing out warm tones, making reds, oranges, and yellows more vivid, yet lessens the impact of blues and greens. Strong overhead lighting often makes colours appear flat, so think about using ambient lighting instead.

Take Inspiration From Your Furnishings

Pink living room

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Look around your living room, at your rugs, pillows, throws, artwork, vases, accent pieces – everything in the space – and search for colour inspiration. It could be the colour of an area rug, an eye-catching shade found in a patterned sofa or favourite piece of art. Wherever you find it, by using this method you will ensure that your walls coordinate with the rest of the room. And it doesn’t have to be a single colour either. If you find, say, a strong shade paired with a more muted one that you really like, then consider using those in your colour scheme, with the bolder shade limited to an accent wall.

Furnishings and accessories can also inform your choices by discouraging the use of certain colours. For example, if you have a brightly coloured sofa you may want to opt for a wall colour that is rather more understated in order to balance out the space – in fact you may find that some of the shades occurring in your living room would benefit from complementary tones.

Use the 60-30-10 rule

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For a more methodical approach, decorate according to the 60-30-10 rule. This interior design guideline dictates that 60 percent of a space should be given over to a dominant colour, 30 percent should be a secondary colour, and the remaining 10 percent an accent colour. The dominant colour will normally go on the walls and ought to be a unifying shade – neutrals are a particularly good choice for this. The secondary colour will likely be found in the room’s furnishings and should not be a shade that will compete visually with the dominant colour, while the accent colour should be a vivid tone found in one or two accessories, such as the throw pillows or a piece of art. This formula works because it creates balance and allows the eye to drift comfortably over the space without focusing too heavily on one aspect of the room.

Decide on a Mood

Grey blue interior

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The mood you create in a space will be very much dependent on the colour scheme you choose, and using this as a starting point is another very good way to find the right colour option for you and your living room. Warm tones – deep reds, burnt oranges, golden yellows – will give a room a welcoming feel, cool blues and pale greys will create a relaxing atmosphere, whereas zesty shades, such as bight greens and yellows, will energise the space. Once you have decided on the mood you want to promote, you’ll have a pretty good idea what colours to add.

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