The living room is often a home’s signature environment, a place to lounge or socialise with family and friends. Usually the first room presented to guests, the living room has to burst with personality. And the simplest way to refresh or revamp the look and feel of this space is with living room paints and colours.

However, finding the right product is often harder than expected. With a host of interior paints out there, deciding which type, finish, and shade works best in this space is confusing. But we’re here to help.

Our paint experts have identified, tested, and rated the most popular living room paints in the UK. Our top picks are easy to apply, long-lasting and easy to maintain. Check them out below.

modern living room


Our #1 Best Pick

HQC Paint

HQC Vinyl Matt Emulsion

High-quality emulsion paint available in a range of traditional and dramatic colours.

Low Cost Option

Dulux Silk Smooth Paint

Dulux Smooth Emulsion

Convenience and quality. Dulux Emulsion Paint comes in a wide range of colours.

Best Of The Rest

Johnstone’s Matt Emulsion

A selection of neutral and dramatic shades to mix and match in traditional or contemporary designs.

Dulux Max Paint for Feature Walls

Ideal paint for feature walls or focal points. Dramatic shades work wonders in contemporary interiors.

Johnstone’s Colour Vibe

A limited collection of dramatic shades inspired by the latest interior design trends.


Living room paints come in a rainbow of colours and the choice is often based on preference. While the choice of colour should reflect your personality, the size of the room and light exposure should dictate the final shade.

In living rooms of all sizes, a traditional choice tends to lean towards neutral tones and earthy shades. Ivory, cream, and beige are popular choices and it’s easy to enhance the interior design with contrasting accents or by playing with textures.

Dark colours are often tricky – but not impossible – to use. An elegant combination of navy and brilliant white can enhance the beauty of a modern-chic living room. Add dynamism to the space with bright yellow accessories and evergreen houseplants.

Bright red and cream is another popular colour scheme. Use red paint on the walls and pair it with cream furniture and accessories. Bright red accent pillows create unity between the elements while an ivory ceiling can visually enhance the size of a small room.

Chartreuse, ultraviolet and grey are three colours that work wonders when mixed and matched in a living room. Refreshing and contemporary, these hues transpire personality.

HQC Paint

A wide range of colours and exceptional quality make this paint our first choice.

Whether you’re looking to freshen up the whole living room or to create a focal point with a feature wall, HQC Vinyl Matt Emulsion Paint could be your best bet. From all living room products tested by our experts, this is our favourite, and we like it for many reasons.

The paint provides an exceptionally durable finish that resists abrasions and peeling. Drying to a matt finish, the paint is elegant and disguises slight wall imperfections. Covering up to 12m²/litre, the product is compatible with a wide range of surfaces, including concrete, metal, and even wood.

Creamy consistency makes the paint easy to apply on both walls and ceilings and identifying the best colour for your space from the 32 options is easy.

Thanks to a low content of volatile organic compounds, this emulsion paint is safe to use in enclosed spaces with minimal or low ventilation. In ideal environmental conditions, the product dries in two hours and can be recoated after only four hours.

We also like that the product comes in tins of various capacities and you’ll be able to purchase the needed quantity, minimising waste. A five-litre tin, which was our choice, is sufficient for a large living room.


• Ideal to use on wide surfaces, HQC Vinyl emulsion dries to a sophisticated matt finish that resists abrasions and peeling.
• 32 neutral or vibrant colours adapt to the needs of all users. Finding the right shade for your space is easy.
• Whether you want to create a focal point, a feature wall, or to paint the whole room, this product meets all needs and comes in tins of different capacities.
• Low VOCs content ensure safety when painting in poorly ventilated spaces. The product can also be used in the bedroom and kids room.
• A good scrub resistance allows cleaning the walls with a damp cloth.
• Ideal for walls and ceilings, the paint can also be used on metal or wood surfaces, provided an adequate primer has been applied beforehand.


• Colour pigment is inconsistent and the paint may dry to a brighter or paler shade.
• Dramatic colour changes may require more than two coats of paint.

Dulux Silk Smooth Paint

Convenience pack comes at a great price.

Dulux is synonymous with quality paint. Together with an excellent price, we’ve got a winning combination. Pure Brilliant White colour comes in a super-convenient 6-litre pack and is ideal to paint not only the living room but your whole house.

This smooth emulsion paint dries to a low silk sheen finish that minimises wall imperfections and is easy to clean. Manufacturer’s Chromalock technology protects paint pigments from wear and tear, ensuring long-lasting effects.

Coverage is also excellent. A litre of paint covers up to 13m², which means the convenience pack contains enough paint for up to 78m².

Pure Brilliant White apart, the paint comes in 80 other neutral or dramatic shades you can mix and match to achieve unique, contemporary designs. The product dries in two hours and, in ideal conditions, accepts the second coat after four hours.

Although two coats are usually enough, more coats could be required if the product is applied on a darker shade or on a new wall.


• Convenience pack brings affordable quality. The tin contains sufficient paint to cover up to 78m² and the Pure Brilliant White matches with all environments.
• Unique creamy texture makes paint easy to apply on walls and ceilings without drips. The product dries to a delicate sheen finish that covers wall imperfections.
• Coming in 81 colours, the product offers multiple neutral alternatives and bold choices. Dramatic shades are ideal for feature walls or focal points.
• In most circumstances, two coats are sufficient to achieve a satisfactory result. The paint is easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth.


• It takes up a lot of paint to cover a darker colour wall.

Johnstone's emulsion

Smooth, velvety finish disguises minor wall imperfections.

Johnstone’s Matt is another exceptional interior wall paint to consider for your living room. The water-based emulsion boasts a low content of volatile organic compounds, is safe to use in enclosed space with poor ventilation and is ideal for all environments of the house.

Easy to work with thanks to a great consistency, this paint is suitable for walls and ceilings. It comes in a wide range of colours to match with your interior design. A selection of neutral shades is easy to mix and match with dramatic choices, to create a focal point in your room.

Coverage is also excellent, and the paint has a fast-drying formulation. Touch dry in only two hours, the product accepts a second coat after four hours in ideal environmental conditions. For satisfactory results, it’s best to avoid painting in extreme temperatures or damp environments.

We also like the sleek matt finish of this product. Smooth and velvety, this emulsion disguises wall imperfections and is easy to wipe clean.


• Suitable for interior walls and ceilings, Johnstone’s Matt emulsion has a great viscosity that minimises drips.
• Covering up to 13m²/litre, this product is ideal to use in the living room but also in all the other rooms of a house.
• Smooth velvety finish hides wall imperfections for a flawless look. The product is durable and easy to wipe clean.
• Fast drying formulation accepts a second coat after only four hours. In most cases, two coats are enough to achieve consistent results.
• A wide range of colours ensures versatility. Finding the perfect hues for your living room should be easy.


• Paint dries to a different colour. This happens to a lot of paints but is very annoying.
• Coverage drops when the product is applied to a bare wall or when making a dramatic colour change.
• The tin is made of a weak material and is easy to damage.

dulux for feature walls

A selection of dramatic shades to use on one or multiple walls.

Sometimes, it takes as little as a feature wall to freshen up the aspect of a living room. And Dulux Feature Wall paint is ideal for the purpose. Coming in a range of 16 dramatic colours, this emulsion paint dries to a smooth matt finish that hides slight wall imperfections.

Bold colours are perfect to make a statement in your home creating a focal point in your living room. The product boasts an excellent coverage and can be used on all walls if desired. Featuring unique Chromalock technology, the paint also boasts a long-lasting finish.

The exclusive resin in the paint creates an invisible protective barrier over the colour, protecting the surface from wear and tear.

A unique creamy texture makes the product easy to apply with a paintbrush or roller. Sadly, the product is incompatible with most paint sprayers.


• Smooth matt finish and dramatic colours provide a sleek, contemporary effect. The paint is ideal for a feature wall.
• Covering up to 13m²/litre, this emulsion can be used to paint all living room walls if desired. The product has a creamy texture and is easy to work with.
• Chromalock technology creates an invisible protective barrier around the colour pigments, protecting the paint from wear and tear.
• Matt finish covers wall imperfections in a smooth velvety layer. Bold colours create a focal point in the room.


• Paint dries to a colour different than pictured. Sumptuous Plum dries to a hot pink.

Johnstone's Colour Vibe

A collection of vibrant shades inspired by the latest trends.

Johnstone’s Colour Vibe is a limited-edition paint collection with colours inspired by the latest interior design trends. Coming in six dramatic hues, the product is ideal to create stunning focal points or feature walls in your living room.

The product dries to either a matt or soft sheen finish and blends perfectly in a contemporary interior. We tested the matt finish emulsion which dries to a smooth, non-reflective, rich finish that disguises surface imperfections.

Suitable for interior walls and ceilings, the product comes in 2.5L tins. Covering up to 12m²/litre, this paint has a quick drying formulation that reduces application time.

Water-based, the paint also boasts a low content of VOCs and its low odour makes it a good choice for almost all environments in the house. Resistant to wear and tear, the product is easy to wipe clean with a dry cloth.


• Limited edition paint inspired by the latest interior design trends comprises six dramatic hues – perfect for revamping your living room.
• A tin of paint covers up to 32m². The product has a fast-drying formulation that ensures a quick and easy application.
• Matt emulsion dries to a velvety smooth non-reflective finish that disguises minor wall imperfections and blends well in a contemporary décor. Paint also comes in a soft sheen finish for high-traffic areas.


• Paint gets scratched easily and damages are easy to spot on the intense shades.
• This product is not washable and can only be cleaned with a soft dry cloth. Moisture can stain the paint or cause it to peel.
• Emulsion smells stronger than similar water-based paints.



• Paint
• Primer
• Painter’s tape
• Sandpaper
• Caulk


• Roller
• Roller tray
• Paintbrushes
• Drop cloths
• Caulking gun
• Roller extension pole
• Step-ladder
• Rugs
• Putty knife


Step 1 – Prepare the living room
The first step in painting a living room is deciding whether you want to freshen up all walls with a new coat of paint or create a focal point with a feature wall. In the latter case, consider the design of your space and decide what wall to paint in a dramatic colour.

A feature wall can be painted in one or more hues to obtain stylish chromatic compositions.

Prepare the living room by removing all hanging objects, wall-mounted furniture and accessories from the room. Cover all remaining furniture with a plastic drop cloth and cover the floor with fabric drop cloth.

Seal all areas not to be painted with painter’s tape, then remove all flaking and peeling paint with a putty knife. Repair all cracks and holes with caulk, then level the surface with sandpaper.

Clean the wall with degreaser, paying attention to remove all dust. Paint doesn’t adhere to greasy or dusty surfaces so that’s an important step. After cleaning the wall, leave it to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2 – Prime / Base colour the wall
A primer may not be needed when working on walls that are in good condition if the colour change is not substantial. In all other cases, we recommend using a good surface sealer that improves paint’s grip and durability.

If you want to paint a design feature wall – let’s say create a geometric pattern with two or more colours – you should also apply the base colour over the dry primer. Cure the wall for at least 24 hours, then use painter’s tape to cover the areas where you want the base colour to show.

Step 3 – Paint the wall
Once the base paint or primer is dry and all areas not to be painted are sealed, proceed with applying the main colour.

For flawless results, it’s easier to paint the edges first and then the rest of the wall. Use a trim paintbrush for the edges and a roller for the larger surface. If you’re aiming to create a pattern on the wall, just paint seamlessly over the painter’s tape applied previously and make sure you cover all empty spots of the wall.

Remove painter’s tape when the paint is still fresh to avoid cracks and leave it to dry. Because it’s hard to re-apply painter’s tape and paint a second coat, we recommend using a high-quality one-coat paint for the top colour. Using the darker colour as a top coat can also help you get better results.

Leave the wall to dry and cure for at least 24 hours before touching.