How To Choose Living Room Paint Colors To Create Moods

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Remember that old mood ring you used to wear? It would turn a soft green when you were calm, brilliant red when you were in love, deep black when you were brooding. Well, it seems we've carried our mood ring's charm with us. Color coordinating to match your mood and personality is a common occurrence. We do it with our clothes, our accessories, our cars, and even when we decorate our homes.

Since it would be impossible to go through the whole color wheel researching and dissecting every single shade and hue, it's best to start by figuring out whether or not you want to create a soft, and relaxing atmosphere or one that is bold, vibrant, and fun. The color you choose for your living room should assist in:

  • Creating the atmosphere
  • Providing a foundation for decorating
  • Representing your style and personality

Take a look around the rest of your house and determine the overall themes and vibes, once you have an idea what you like, you can figure out where you're going.

The Bold And The Beautiful

Picking a vibrant color for your living space is a big commitment. You have to be sure that it's something you can feel comfortable lounging, entertaining, and spending quality time in. Although painting your living room all black is an option, it's probably best to pick a color that won't leave you feeling dark and gloomy all the time. Try one of these examples:


Symbolic for passion, love, courage, conviction, and countless other high-energy traits and virtues, red will create a fun and fiery atmosphere that is not only eye-catching but warm as well. If you choose to take the red route, be sure your wall decor and your furniture complement the bright color subtly and consistently. You don't want to drown in red, but you want to maintain a sense of theme and design. It's worth noting that red is also one of the colors that scientists claim evoke hunger-let's hope your living room is close to the kitchen.

Deep Blue

Although it may be deep and bold, dark blue is a paint color that is sure to bring tranquility to your living space. Many believe that blue relaxes the mind and body. It's commonly used in meditation, yoga, and other serene environments. It's a great way to counteract all those electronic items you have buzzing around the room. It's also a good foundation for an ocean or Cape Cod theme, if you're looking to add those kind of elements.


Painting your walls deep shades of green is a great way to evoke nature and bring the outdoors in. It can make your living space seem more open and airy, and provide a great backdrop for filling your living room with houseplants and other natural elements. In ancient times, green was used to create prosperity and generate wealth for those living in the home. It has also been known to symbolize peace and good will.

The Subtle Brilliance Of Understated Color

Bold choices are great. They give the kind of vibrant flair that you might find perfect for the most popular living space in your home. But if you have a much more low-key style, and want to adorn your walls with it, play to your interests. Try using one of these color styles.


White is easy, simple and clean. Like your favorite white t-shirt or fresh set of linens, white walls make you feel comfortable, relaxed, and well maintained. White is also a very versatile starting ground for decorating. You can play with soft colors or use dark contrast. For example, black and white together are said to create a sense of unity and togetherness. If white is too plain, but you still want the clean look, off-white colors can create the same atmosphere with in a touch darker shade.


Working with yellow can be difficult. It's great for representing light, cheerfulness, and general high energy. Yellow is also said to stimulate brain activity and fuel consistent intellect. For this reason, many schools choose to paint the walls of their classrooms in shades of yellow. However, you don't want to go overboard with it, and make your guests feel like they've just walked into the room of the sun. Be subtle and play the vibrancy down, if possible.


Beige is a great backdrop for your wood furnishings and accents. It's a great neutral foundation for tons of elaborate decorative choices. Like white, there are an endless number of off-beige colors you can choose from, so be sure to do a lot of "swatching" before you make your choice.

Don't be afraid to make big choices with your paint color. It will be an integral part of your design aesthetic, and the first thing that catches the eye of your guests. If you find you're unhappy with your choice, remember that all you need to do is paint over it-it's that simple!

Last Updated: September 7, 2011
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About Chanti Burnette Chanti was a freelance writer for

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