May 16, 2022

Home Design Consultant

Enjoy Home Design Consultant

The Best Paint Colors for Living Rooms in 2022

Living room paint FAQs

A wall painted a dark blue with a shelving unit with bar items on in in front.

Walter Wilson Studios Inc.

How do I pick a paint color?

Choosing a paint color can be daunting because of the variety and the commitment involved. “I think the biggest concern is longevity and if it’s something they’re going to get tired of,” said designer Nicole Fisher of BNR Interiors.

Andrea Magno, director of color marketing for Benjamin Moore, suggests looking at Pinterest and magazines or taking inspiration from a trip that you went on or even your own closet. “All of these different pieces start to kind of give clues as to where you wanna be, color-family wise,” she said. 

Once you know whether you want gray, pink, or blue, you can start to compare individual shades. “Color chips are the best way to help narrow down the process,” said Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. Putting them side by side shows you which has yellow undertones or seems brighter. 

How does light affect what paint color I should choose?

Look at paint swatches and samples in both the brightest and darkest areas of the room. “That color will change significantly throughout the day,” said Jennifer Guerin of JG Color Studio

She suggests thinking about how you’re going to use the room. Reading, sewing, and drawing require light. “A brighter color is gonna have a higher reflection rate of sunlight,” said Guerin. Meanwhile, darker colors lend themselves to watching TV shows and movies. 

How do I pick a paint to go with my furniture and decor?

“It just takes one little hint of a color, whether it’s a leaf in a painting or a fleck in a fabric in your couch or a throw pillow,” said Fisher. It gives you a starting point for a color that you want to make the focus of the room.

“Figure out what your primary color is first, and then create a color palette around it to enhance that primary element,” said Amy Wax, a color consultant. You can work with color wheels to find complementary colors or different shades and hues. 

Paint companies’ websites also often suggest other hues that work well with the color you’ve chosen. 

Can I paint a small room a dark color?

Several of the designers we spoke with said a room’s size shouldn’t necessarily affect your color choice. “If it’s a small room that doesn’t mean you can’t paint it dark,” said Sara Malek Barney of BANDD Design.

“Certain colors just evoke moodiness or coziness,” said Fisher. “So, whether that’s a large or small space, it doesn’t really matter.”

What kind of finish should I choose for living room paint?

Finishes range from flat or matte to high-gloss. Shinier finishes are often easier to care for but show more imperfections. The designers we spoke to were split on whether they preferred matte or a medium-gloss eggshell. 

“For the most part, we’re sticking with an eggshell to keep it really just soft and muted,” said Barney. Wadden said Sherwin-Williams’ glossier satin finish is the company’s most popular.  

Fisher likes Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint in matte. “It’s got the same durability of an eggshell, but it doesn’t have any sheen to it,” she said. Wax and Guerin both prefer matte finishes. “Flat hides all and any imperfections as much as you can hide them and, and it looks so beautiful,” said Guerin. “You see the true color.” 

Should I just paint an accent wall?

Though she said she’s not anti-accent wall, Barney warns it may not have the effect people are expecting. “You get so much more subtle impact from the whole room versus just one wall, where all you’re gonna be looking at is that one wall that’s created a different color,” she said.

Should I paint my wall with paint samples?

Small samples of paint are intended to give you a better idea of what the color will look like on your wall. But Greg Agosta of Level 5 Fine Finishes said it’s a mistake to put them directly on your wall, especially if you’re painting yourself. 

If you don’t properly prep the wall before you paint, the sample could show through. Instead, he suggests putting the color on a foam sample board. “Apply your sample color to it and just carry that around the house to your heart’s content,” he said. “Hold it up in every light you can think of.” 

Agosta also said that paint samples aren’t intended for permanent use. “It’s designed to be put on a piece of board or painted over later,” he said. The paint isn’t as durable and may have a lower sheen that you want. 

Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, Clare, Backdrop, and many other paint companies now have large peel-and-stick paper samples that you can put on your wall. If you prefer not to get a wet paint sample, they should still give you an idea of how the color will look in your living room.