Living Room Colour Ideas... Dark Versus Light

We all know colour can transform a room, which is perhaps why it is so hard deciding on a colour. We are currently mid way through our renovation and I have to say one of the things that makes me really nervous is choosing paint colours. No one wants to get it wrong and end up paying to repaint a room, which, adds a certain amount of pressure to get it right first time...

Choosing The Right Colour

Colours can look dramatically different in certain rooms or houses. What looks like a lovely grey blue in your friends country house might look very different in a London flat. Choosing colours means considering a number of factors, where you live, the type of house, how light it is, even the country you live in and the climate. You don’t often see dark navy rooms in the Caribbean! It is also important to consider who lives in the house and what you are going to be using it for, do you have kids or dogs, is it a holiday home? All these factors can play a role in deciding what colour you go for.

Living Room Purpose

If we consider the purpose of the Living room, in some homes this space may be simply used as a TV room or snug, in which case you may want it to feel cosy and paint it a darker colour. On the other hand, the living room might be a smart space for entertaining, reading in, a place for relaxing or somewhere to do all three of the aforementioned, again all factors to consider when choosing a living room colour.

Dark Versus Light

The age old battle of Dark versus Light on the paint chart. Are you immediately drawn to the dark moody colours or do you instantly crave a cooler, lighter colour scheme. 

The Dark Side

Dark colours can create a cosy or a sophisticated feel to a room. One of my favourite living room spaces (pictured below) is in the wonderful Rectory Hotel in the village of Crudwell in the Cotswolds. This room is a deep blue green and it just invites you in to sit and relax. The room has big windows, a large fire place and high ceilings with cornicing, ceilings and skirtings all painted in white which means the dark walls are not overpowering or enclosing, the colour on the wall is inviting and sophisticated. Would I want my kids hanging out in there, definitely not!!

A dark living room in the Rectory Hotel CrudwellImage via The Rectory Hotel, Crudwell

The colour in the living room in The Rectory is very similar to Farrow & Ball De Nimes or Inchyra Blue, both colours that I have used and love. The image below shows the use of De Nimes in the living space of London Grocers, Melrose & Morgan. Check out the rest of their home in the Living with Colour series on The Modern House journal. A collaboration between Farrow & Ball and The Modern House.

Image via The Modern House, Living With Colour

Here are some other examples of living rooms painted in darker colours. What do you think? Any favourites?

Most of you will have come across the home of Mad About The House writer Kate Watson-Smyth. The charcoal coloured walls of her living room contrast beautifully with the painted white floor boards and make all the details within the room stand out. This room always makes me want to get a paint brush out and be more adventurous with darker shades of colour.

Image via Mad About The House

Image via SFGirlByBay Pinterest

Image via Farrow & Ball

This was one of last seasons new colours from Farrow & Ball. I love the dark plum tones of the Paean Black, descried as a Georgian inspired red based black.

The Light Side

I love the clean, airy feeling of a light coloured room. The sense of calmness that a pale coloured room can bring is just heaven. If you go down the white route, you need to firstly get the right white. The right white I hear you shout, yes, the right white, a whole other topic in its own right...don't get me started on this, just check out this post on Remodelista about Architects favourite whites and you will know what I am talking about.

Back to choosing to paint your living room walls white...make sure you consider how to add warmth to the scheme, unless you are going for a very modern clinical look, adding some warmth is essential. Wood accessories and furniture is a great way to do this, as is, adding pops of colour even, if they are really subtle, it will warm the overall look. 

 Image via Remodelista 

This living room has been a firm favourite ever since I spotted it on Remodelista. The room belongs to interior designer Niki Turner. Situated in Stroud, Gloucestershire, the well proportioned room painted in bright white, is the perfect example of how to paint a living room white without it looking cold. The use of baskets and big squishy sofas plus the wooden floor all add to the overall look of the space.

Image via Pop & Scott

We think this image from Australian design studio, Pop & Scott is a great example of how adding some colour to a neutral scheme can really create warmth. The mustard yellow of the sofa and plant pot stand out brilliantly on the white background.

Image via The Modern House 

This Victorian house in London's Stoke Newington has been self restored by owner, Paul West and immediately caught our eye when we spotted it on The Modern House. To see more check out his instagram feed, Considered Things

Image via Pinterest 

This white living room has a different feel to the others. This remote cabin situated on a the riverfront lends itself well to a white interior.

Image via Atelier Ellis 

The living room of Cassandra Ellis, is such a beautiful room we had to include it as one of our examples. Founder of Atelier Ellis, Cassandra now produces her own range of paints, all 52 shades work in harmony with each other. To read more and see the full range head over to Atelier Ellis

Looking at all these images has certainly not made my decision process any easier...but I am feeling inspired to be bold.

Don't forget to check out our Lighting and Homewares sections on the site for ideas and great products to add to your living room space.



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