The living room—host to everything from social hours and quiet afternoons with a good book to family movie nights and sushi-and-Ted Lasso dates—is one of the most versatile parts of your home, and it should have a design aesthetic to match. This year, a mix of soothing neutrals and deep, dramatic hues are dominating. And though they might be on opposite ends of the aesthetic spectrum, all of these trending colorways can give the living room an inviting sense of personality and warmth.
"We've lived in a particularly uncertain and tumultuous world the past few years. In 2023, consumers are looking for a sense of calm," says Erika Woelfel, vice president of Color and Creative Services at Behr. Calm, however, doesn't look the same from one home to the next. For some, this means warm neutrals or rich browns; others feel most at home with dashes of fun brights or nature-inspired greens. The end result, however, should be standard: "When they step into their living space, people want to feel like they can take a deep breath to immediately feel calm and centered," says Woelfel.
Tan, Khaki, and Cinnamon Are the New Neutrals
Neutral paint colors are a timeless choice for living rooms, which often serve as a backdrop for everything from your annual holiday cocktail party to rainy-day board game marathons. "Neutrals are a natural trend because they have the ability to clear the air and provide a clean background for endless design and decor possibilities," says Woelfel. "These are the colors to watch for in comforting and cozy settings: sand, beige, tan, khaki, and brown, from spicy cinnamon to rich and decadent chocolate."
Nicole Gibbons, founder of Clare, agrees—her customers are gravitating towards these hues at home and on social media. "In the living room, people continue to play it safe and be more adventurous with their furniture and accessories," she says. In 2023, expect to see neutrals with warmer undertones, like Clare's Neutral Territory or Like Buttah, rise in popularity. "Warmer neutrals give spaces those cozy, comforting, inviting vibes," says Gibbons.
Try Warm Browns and Reds
Plush browns and bold reds are major shades to watch this year—in the living room and throughout the rest of the home. "Browns and reds will be the defining color families of 2023," says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. "For a living room, I recommend one of my favorite browns, Urbane Bronze, because it can create a sense of sanctuary in a room where you want to be cozy and also inject a shot of energy in the space where life unfolds."
Looking for a more neutral take that melds red and brown? Try Redend Point, Sherwin-Williams' 2023 Color of the Year. "It's a nourishing blush-beige that can easily coordinate with the furniture and décor of a living room thanks to its versatility," says Wadden.
Bring in Outdoor-Inspired Greens
Green, the most popular color of the last few years, continues to be a favorite, whether you're channeling the bright hue of spring grass, an emerald ocean tone, or the mind-clearing mid-range shades that surround you during a walk in the woods. Green's many shades have increased in popularity year over year and will continue to "trend up" in 2023, affirms Gibbons. "Shades of green work in any room, and it's a color derived from nature. You can envision it better than you could a yellow or a pink, since when you walk outside, you see green everywhere," says Gibbons.
Mother Nature uses green as a neutral, pairing it with everything from coral peonies, yellow tulips, and pale lavender stalks to rust-colored autumn leaves, bright holly berries, and rich brown bark. "Green is an exceptionally versatile color because it harmonizes so well with blue and other natural tones and materials," says Woelfel. "Green also has the widest variety of shades to choose from."
There are light and misty greens like Breezeway, that feel uplifting and calm—or shades like Back to Nature, an herbal green captures the rejuvenating sense of being outdoors. Want to go bolder? "Deep shades like Vine Leaf are timeless go-to colors for walls, cabinetry, and more," says Woelfel.
Incorporate Big Color Changes in Small Ways
Making over a living room is no small task: Changing the paint color can also mean investing in new furniture, rugs, art, and textiles. But this space also lends itself well to incorporating new shades in small ways—think bright throw pillows, rich red or brown ceramics, painted accent walls. "Inspire optimism and happiness [with] dark reds, pops of amber gold, and bright blue," says Woelfel.
Give your room a personal touch by getting creative with the colors you choose, opting for strong contrasts in small doses to ease into bolder shades. "Keep your experimentation on the deliberate, sophisticated side of playful by contrasting complementary shades for a pulled together, but vibrant look," says color expert Annie Sloan. "Everything counts in small amounts! Dip your toe. Painted furniture can be as small as lamp bases, vases, and photo frames."