Repaint the Living Room: How to choose the right colors to complement permanent features

The living room is where you entertain guests and as such is a very important part of your home. If it’s time to give your living space a fresh coat of paint, choosing the right color can be challenging especially if there are items in the room that can’t be changed for the time being like the couch or a fireplace.


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Identify Your Options
It’s important that the new paint color works with permanent objects in the room. Take a really close look—your room may have colors in it you haven’t recognized before. If you have a matching swatch from the couch, for example, you should take that with you when you go to choose paint. If you don’t have a swatch, try taking a really close-up and true-to-color picture of the item to compare at the store. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use the same color, you could choose a contrasting color, or an underlying tone.


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Look to the Light
Another thing to consider is what kind of natural light the living room gets. If the windows face north or east then the light is usually cool, whereas light from the south and west is a warm tone. To create a balance, try using colors that have the opposite tone the light has: Warm tones for a room facing northeast and cool tones for rooms that face southwest.


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Hallway Harmony
Keep in mind the colors of the rooms connected to the living room. Making sure that the colors you choose transition nicely into the connecting areas of your home will help create a sense of harmony. Of course, if you are tired of the colors in the hallway, you can always repaint that too while you are at it.


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Don’t Be Hasty!
A word of caution: Do not buy a whole can of paint until you have taken home the paint chips and compared them to the items you are trying to coordinate with under the same lighting conditions. Personal experience has taught me that the light you see the paint chips under at the store tells you nothing about the way it will actually look in the room you want to paint.

Trial Run
Once you think you have the right color, get an eight ounce sample and paint an area on your wall to give you a true idea what the color will look like in that room. If you are afraid to paint the wall with a color you’re not sure about yet, paint a poster board with the sample color and when it’s dry stick it to the wall using painters tape. Testing is a good practice because often what looked like the right color on that tiny little paint chip turns out three shades darker than you envisioned once you get it on the wall. That can be an expensive, frustrating and time consuming mistake. Always test first.

As the light in the room changes from day to night so does the appearance of the wall color. Make a point to look at the test color under various light conditions to make sure you still like it.


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Paint That Wall!
Once you have considered, compared, and tested and you finally have the right color, go to town! If painting is not something you enjoy, then don’t miss your opportunity to Win a Celebrity Style Custom Color Makeover and let us do the painting for you! I can’t wait to see how your living room looks when it’s finished. Please share your photos with me on our Facebook page and inspire more people like us.


Photo credit: Monika Clarke / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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