How To Choose A Living Room Color Scheme Like A Designer

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Today, we’re talking about how to choose a living room color scheme. The methods I’ll share aren’t just limited to the living room; they can be applied to any room in your home.

Imagine walking into your living room after a long day, and instantly, feeling a sense of calm wash over you. The colors on the walls, the accents, the furnishings – they all work together seamlessly to create an atmosphere that speaks to your soul. That’s the power of a well-thought-out color scheme.

But let’s be honest, picking the right colors can be a difficult task. With endless possibilities and many shades to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. No need to worry, I’m here to simplify the process and give you the tools you need to create a space that’s both beautiful and functional.

In this post, I’ll be sharing a simple but effective method for creating a color scheme that’s made just for your living room. From real-life examples to actionable tips, consider this your ultimate guide to color coordination. Plus, we’ll discuss the 60-30-10 rule and how you can apply it to your own home to achieve a beautifully balanced space.

You’ll also learn how to create a stunning color palette inspired by a piece of artwork, rug, or print you love. 

So, whether you’re starting from scratch or simply looking to update a few pieces, join me on this journey to creating a living room that’s inviting and stylish. Trust me; you won’t want to miss this.

Key Takeaways:

  • Creating a color palette is one of the first steps in the design process.
  • The colors you choose will impact the mood and vibe of your room.
  • Artwork, a rug, or a print can create a beautiful color palette.

This post is all about how to choose a living room color scheme.

READ MORE>>> Home Design Inspiration On Inspired Design Talk

pink home decor sitting room with abstract area rug, navy velvet sofa, and black bar cabinet

The Look and Feel

The first step in this process is to decide how you want your room to feel. You can do this by:

  • pulling tear sheets from magazines
  • creating a folder of images on your phone or computer,
  • creating a Pinterest board.

Pull together the images of rooms with the vibe you want for your home. You should be able to imagine yourself living in that in that space.

Once you have all the images select 3 to use as your North Star, this will keep you focused so you don’t get overwhelmed with too many ideas.

Finding Your Living Room Color Palette Inspiration

Now that you know the look and feel you’re after, you can create your color palette.

For this, you’ll need to find an item related to your inspiration images to use as a jumping-off point. Inspiration can come from artwork, a rug, or a print

It can be a painting you already own, a family heirloom, a vintage rug, or a floral print with colors you love. This will help you create a cohesive and well-balanced room

Living Room Color Scheme Using Art

Let’s start with creating a color scheme using artwork. Whether it’s a painting, a photograph, or a print, artwork is a fantastic source of color inspiration for your room.

Take a close look at the colors used in the piece. The ones you’re drawn to or give you a special feeling can be used to create your color palette.

Once you’ve identified the key colors in your artwork, you’ll use them for your room’s wall color, upholstery, and accent pieces. You can go bold with vibrant colors or create a more subdued neutral palette.

The right choice is what fits your personal style and the mood you want to create in your space.

Contemporary canvas glass coat artwork from Leftbank with gray velvet channel tufted bench and fur rug
her sitting room artwork with colorful flowers

The two rooms below are examples of how to create a color palette with artwork. One space has a neutral color story while the other is bold and vibrant.

neutral living room with hide rug and bernhardt chairs
pink home decor sitting room with abstract area rug, navy velvet sofa, and black bar cabinet

This is an example of how to create a living room color scheme for either look.

living room color scheme
sitting room color palette

Living Room Color Scheme Using A Rug

Using artwork as the jumping-off point is one method another. Another great way to find color inspiration for your room is by starting with a statement rug. 

Whether it’s a Persian rug with intricate patterns or a modern geometric design, rugs can add texture, warmth, and of course, color to your space.

bohemian style living room cover image

Look at the colors in your rug to determine any that stand out to you or complement your existing decor. 

These colors can be used as the starting point for your room’s color palette and will help you select coordinating paint colors, furniture, and accessories.

Living Room Color Scheme Using A Print

The last method is to use a decorative print as inspiration for your room’s color palette. You can use a bold floral print, a graphic geometric design, or a whimsical pattern.

It can be a printed pillow, window treatment, wallpaper, or even a tapestry. Using prints in your design is a great way to add personality and visual interest to your space.

emerald green sofa in living room concept with pink chairs and floral wallpaper

Follow the same method used for the artwork and area rug. 

Look at your print to determine the colors you love or that speak to the vibe you want to create in your room.

You’ll use those colors as a guide to select your paint swatches, coordinating fabrics, and decorative accents to tie your room together.

Applying Your Color Palette

Once your color palette is established, it’s time to use it in your room. For this, I recommend you follow the 60 / 30/ 10 rule which is:

  • 60% Dominant Color: This is the main color of your space and should be used for walls, large furniture, or curtains.
  • 30% Secondary Color: This is your supporting act. Use it for furniture upholstery, throw pillows or area rugs.
  • 10% Accent Color: This is your pop of personality! Use it sparingly for artwork, lighting fixtures, or decorative objects.

In the below neutral living room, 60% is the lighter neutrals like ivory, greige, and grey. The neutral colors are in the walls, upholstery, coffee tables, and area rugs. 30% is the black secondary color which adds contrast. There’s black on the side tables, pillows, and accent walls. The 10% (gold metallic) accent color is spread throughout and carries your eye around the room.

glam living room with abstract area rug and grey chaise sofa

In the below sitting design room, 60% is neutral with shades of grey and black 30% is the blue found in the artwork, sofa, and area rug. 10% is the pop of pink in the pillows, ottomans, neon sign, and flowers.

A neutral base lets you freely change your accent color whenever you want a fresh vibe, giving you the power to transform the look and feel easily.

pink home decor sitting room with abstract area rug, navy velvet sofa, and black bar cabinet living room color scheme

In this coastal design, 60% is the neutral base in the walls, upholstery, and curtains. 30% is the pale blue in the artwork, chair, pillows, and blanket. 10% is the silver accents.

modern coastal decor living room color scheme


Aside from the 60 30 10 rule, the design principle of repetition plays a role in creating a cohesive color palette.

Strategically repeating colors or variations throughout your design will create a sense of unity and harmony. It’ll help carry the eye throughout your space for a cohesive feel.

Repeating a vibrant accent color in the artwork and throw pillows will draw attention to those elements and tie them together visually.

bedroom with border floral wallpaper

Repetition also helps you establish a hierarchy in your design. Using the dominant color more with the accents sparingly creates a clear visual focal point.

While repetition is valuable, too much can lead to a boring design. It’s important to have a balance and use variety in your color palette to maintain visual interest. Use different shades, tints, and tones of your colors with contrasting colors for a more interesting design.

Other Living Room Color Scheme Considerations

Lighting is very important. Natural light can affect the way a color appears. You need to look at all your swatches and colors in your space at different times of day. A color in a room that has a lot of natural light will look completely different in a room with none.

creme sectional chaise sofa with neutral area rug and round wood coffee table in California cool style

Think about the mood you want in your living space. Warmer colors like reds and oranges will have an energetic feel, while cooler colors like blues and greens will feel calming and relaxing. Choose colors that reflect the purpose and activities of the room.

Lastly, Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment: This is your home! Don’t be afraid to break the “rules” and create a palette that reflects your unique style.

Once you know the rule you can break the rules. They’re just meant to be a guideline.


In conclusion, choosing a living room color scheme doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By following the simple methods discussed in this post, you can confidently create a space that reflects your style and personality. Remember, the colors you choose will not only impact the overall aesthetic but also the mood and vibe of your room.

Using inspiration from artwork, rugs, or prints can provide a solid foundation for your color palette. Whether you’re starting from scratch or simply refreshing your space, this approach can guide you through the design process.

Incorporating the 60-30-10 rule can help achieve a well-balanced and visually appealing room. By allocating percentages of color within your space, you’ll create harmony and cohesion.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of visualization. Before making any purchases, take the time to visualize your space using tools such as mood boards or digital design software. This will allow you to experiment with different color combinations and layouts, ensuring that you’re satisfied with the end result.

Creating a stunning living room color scheme is possible no matter your design experience. With patience and a bit of creativity, you can transform your space into a sanctuary that looks like you hired a designer.

This post is all about how to choose a living room color scheme.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Nicole DelaCruz

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