Furnishing Around Art: 4 Steps to Colouring your Living Room

Are you indecisive on what colours to use for your living room? Are you afraid to use colours at all? The right colours can turn your living room into a classy, comfortable space that is a reflection of your personality, but the wrong combination will not only give you buyer’s remorse, but will completely turn you off from spending time in the living room.

This week we’ve got 4 steps on how you can find the colour scheme that you like, and how to best apply it to your living room. Follow these simple guidelines that can help with designing your living room space, as well as the rest of your interiors.

Identify Your Style

The first step is to decide what kind of look you are going for. Do you want a family-friendly space? An artistic representation of yourself? Perhaps your style is simple and earthy, or bold and dramatic. We break down a style by looking at two things: Function and colour palette.

Firstly, Look at all of the items you own that need to be incorporated into the space. Consider things like furniture, storage pieces and accessories.

Next, come up with a colour palette. If you have an existing piece of furniture that you really like, such as a fabric sofa, you can draw on colours from the patterns and build around that. You can also draw colours from an art piece that you have. Alternatively, try looking through your closet. The colours most commonly used in your wardrobe might be a good starting point for inspiration.

Build Your Colour Scheme

Now that you have a primary colour, you will need to select a few more colours to build a solid scheme for your living room. You can simplify the process by using a color wheel and narrowing down your choices to two color schemes. Keep the options limited as it could confuse you even further.

Complementary Color Scheme
Complementary colors are across from each other on the color wheel, such as red and green, blue and yellow, purple and orange. Rooms decorated with a complementary color scheme tend to provide a clear separation of colours and are often more formal and visually challenging.

Analogous Color Scheme
Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel, such as yellow and green, blue and violet, or red and orange. Rooms using an analogous colour scheme are typically more casual, restful and muted in terms of coloration.

Applying Your Colours

A basic concept used in interior design for color selection is the rule of 60-30-10, which translates to: 60 percent of a dominant color, 30 percent of a secondary color and 10 percent of an accent color. Accent colors are typically bold or vivid colors that are used for accents, or to create a bit of contrast in the room.

If you have read our previous articles, you might remember that keeping your large furniture pieces neutral is useful for switching up colour palettes when you feel like it. That leaves the walls, carpets, curtains and smaller furniture such as the coffee table and side chairs for you to work with.

Pick up free paint color samples from any paint store and tape them to your walls. Experiment with different shades of your original color selection.


To round it off, use pillows, lamp shades, sculptures, frames and various accessories to apply some accent colour to your living room. Pick interesting patterns or textures to add a little more fun to your room. A colourful piece of art placed in a living room not only adds a decorative touch, but also introduces colors and shapes in smaller spaces.

A good way to distribute your colours is to take a hint from nature.
Choose darker values of colour for the floor (the rich hue of soil), medium values of colour for the walls (flora and structures seen at eye level) and light values of colour for the ceiling (the sky). If you divide your colours by value from dark to light as you decorate “vertically” in the room, you’ll get an interior design that mimics nature and is pleasing to the eye.

Make sure that you apply your color scheme to everything from your walls to your carpets, couches, pillows and other decor. If you like to continually add new items to your living room, keep a photo with you and try to stick to your original color scheme so your living remains streamlined.

Black is Your Friend

Black is one of the most versatile colors in interior design and is always useful to any colour scheme. It’s important that every room have just a little bit of black. It has a grounding effect that gives the eye a place to rest. When you have too many light and airy colors with nothing to ground them they can almost appear to be floating. It can be confusing to the eye.

You don’t need to have a lot of black, just enough to tie things together. A few black picture frames on a wall, a black coffee table, black trim on the walls, or even something as simple as a little ribbon detail on a lampshade or pillow is enough.

That’s our 4 steps to building a solid colour scheme for your living room. With design there are no hard and fast rules, this is a simple guideline and one of the infinite approaches to designing interiors. We’ve included several examples of interiors which could have been inspired by various artworks to hopefully give you an idea on how you can draw your own palette.

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