You should never paint your living room this colour, according to colour psychologists

red living room with brown leather sofa and wooden bookcase


Choosing your colour palette is the very first step to take when redecorating a living room. Just like buying a sofa – or even a house – paint choices are instinctive.

But if you have yet to find a colour with the ‘ooh!’ factor, colour psychologists say the colour you should never paint your living room is red – and possibly yellow. You can also narrow things down by looking at this year’s trends and Colours of the Year 2022, which could get the ball rolling with your living room paint ideas.

red living room with brown leather sofa and wooden bookcase

Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore

‘When it comes to our main living space, we are often looking for somewhere we can relax and feel at ease in,’ says colour psychologist Lee Chambers. ‘As a space, we are also likely to spend a fair amount of time in it, and it is likely to be a bigger space than some areas of your property.

The colour you should never paint your living room

‘Given that it’s a place for regeneration, I would suggest avoiding large amounts of intense reds,’ Lee says. Although red promotes energy and socialising, but the vibrance can quickly become overwhelming, irritating and ultimately stop you from finding that restful rhythm after a long day.

yellow living room with sunburst wall mirrors

Image credit: Future PLC

‘I would also suggest being careful with bright yellow shades, as these can fatigue the eyes and generate a feeling of restlessness that again doesn’t allow us access to the peaceful serenity we are often craving when we slip into our living room and sit in our favourite chair.’

It ultimately comes down to personal preference. After all, mustard yellow is among the top paint trends of the year, inspired by Farrow & Ball’s Babouche No.223.

Colour consultant and therapist Suzy Chiazzari says that colours of equal brilliance are to be avoided. These ‘create a see-saw effect as they compete for attention,’ she says.

pink living room with wicker sofa and rust coloured upholstered armchair

Image credit: Future PLC

‘Instead, include a variety of light and dark shades in your room,’ suggests Suzy. She also comments that choosing the colour for your living space should be a communal effort.

Living rooms are shared and social spaces that we spend many of our waking hours in. Therefore, she says that when choosing a colour scheme, we should try to avoid colours that anyone in the household does not like.

‘These would make them feel unwelcome and uncomfortable,’ Suzy says. Even if you have very different tastes, everyone needs to be onboard with the colour choice.


Image credit: Future PLC/ Benedicte Drummond

So, what does Dulux think? Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director at Dulux suggests going for pinks for a reassuring hug rather than red’s full-on passionate embrace.

‘It’s a fact that red is the colour we find hardest to be surrounded by in rooms we spend the most time,’ she says. ‘Just like being a passenger in a car driven by James Bond, it’s just far too exciting for every day.’ She recommends trying Pressed Petal, Blush Pink from Dulux – or a combination of them both.

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