Fnding the right paint color isn’t all that straightforward. We asked Ashley Redmond, head of design for Decorist, for tips on navigating the right shades for the home’s most lived-in gathering space
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Size up your living room
When choosing a paint color, consider the size of the living room as the jumping off point. “In a small space, painting the room white makes the walls appear to recede and reflects the light so it naturally makes a room feel bigger,” says Redmond. Super White by Benjamin Moore is her all-time favorite pick for white.
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Don’t discount the dark side
While whites can make small spaces feel larger by creating more reflection, some opt to open up spaces by painting with super deep shades. “There’s the theory that you can go with dark and rich colors to create more shadow and darkness at the edge of the space to create an illusion for where the walls end,” Redmond says. Down Pipe by Farrow and Ball and Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore are what she chooses when she likes to go dark.
3 of 9Lisa Romerein
Go into the light
Rooms with an abundance of natural light are an opportunity to bring the outdoors inside and have a little fun. “Try painting your room in shades that reflect the outdoors to bring the sense of light and nature in,” says Redmond, who likes a soft neutral such as Dunn Edwards’ Bone. “If you’re feeling adventurous I always love an aqua or a mint color in a bright room,” she says. “It feels confident and fun in a bright light filled space.” Her picks include Sherwin Williams’ Cay and Light Mint by Benjamin Moore, which she says are certain to make a space Pinterest-worthy.
4 of 9Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams and John Gidding
Warm up a cool space
When it comes to low-light rooms, Redmond suggests avoiding cool colors or whites with cool undertones, which can make the room look flat. Serena and Lily’s Pebble or Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl are great examples of neutral tones that can warm up spaces.
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Think about pink
Two of Redmond’s go-to paint choices for living rooms right now include dusty pink and black. “When done right, black painted walls can make a room feel cozy and sophisticated. I especially love this courageous color paired with pops of bright color to offset the darkness.” Pink, on the other hand, is “feminine and unexpected in a living space. You don’t want this to feel too immature so keep the design looking sophisticated and elevated by pairing with elegant furnishings and unexpected textures." Farrow and Ball’s Pink Ground and Valspar’s Very Black are Redmond's favorite picks.
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Work with what you’ve got
Most often would-be painters are working with a room’s existing art and furnishings. When that’s the case, Redmond suggests letting the fabrics become the jumping-off point for the paint palette. “I love to take a tone of the boldest color in a fabric in the room as my paint choice for the wall. This makes the room feel cohesive and purposeful.”
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Don’t discount the ceiling
If you’re painting the ceiling, Redmond says things are best kept simple. “I generally like to keep the ceiling white or neutral when painting a space; this way the ceiling appears to recede and doesn’t become a distraction for the space.”
8 of 9Lincoln Barbour
To gloss or not to gloss?
This is an also an answer best worked out before heading to the paint store. Redmond says to pick a sheen based on living room traffic. “I like the look of flat sheen in a living room. It’s not as reflective as other sheens and looks a bit more sophisticated. Pair this with a semi-gloss for the trim, which gives more contrast and depth and makes the architectural detail of the space pop.”
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Create a focal point
Another simple way to add a punch to the living room is via the fireplace. “Painting a fireplace is an easy way to give a room a facelift,” Redmond says. “The fireplace is usually the focal point for a room and painting it is a relatively simple process with big impact. I love a fresh coat of white paint or a rich charcoal.”