Your living room is an expression of you – a place in which you want to feel comfortable and relaxed. Color schemes range from neutral to vibrant hues, from pastel tones to deep, saturated colors. Color trends change every year, with different color combinations dominating in fabrics, paint, carpet and accessories; however, your personal preferences are what count in your home.

To get started, select a basic palette of three colors – one light, one medium and one darker hue. Now consider the intensity of your three colors; try to have at least one vibrant hue in your three colors, and two that are slightly less vibrant. For example, three tones of the color red, burgundy, rose and pale pink, form a monochromatic color scheme based on a single color. In this example, rose is the most vibrant of the three colors; burgundy and pink are less intense.

Two complementary colors, colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel, always work well when used together in a color scheme. When equal parts of two complements mix, they form a neutral tone. Combining this neutral with the two colors that created it forms an instantly harmonious three-tone color scheme. Complementary combinations such as red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and violet frequently appear in fabric patterns and in stylish designer color schemes.

Consider putting a strong or dark color on the ceiling for a stylish twist. Color the floor brightly with area rugs for a fresh, spirited look. Paint woodwork in a contrasting color to frame wall areas and emphasize architectural detail.

Neutrals Are Nice

Neutrals are good company; they happily complement other colors, providing a good backdrop for your favorite art and for showing off your seasonal accessories. Neutrals also allow you to easily change accent colors in a couple of years for a fresh look. These versatile colors may be light, such as ivory or vanilla, or deep, like chocolate or slate. Warm and cool versions of each neutral change the color personality in the room. For example, a warm light tan wall creates a hospitable feeling and provides an inviting backdrop for a deeper tan sofa with blue-green and burnt-orange accessories. A cool gray tone on the walls is enhanced with white woodwork and invigorated with a lively collection of blue pillows and accessories.

Color It Your Way

Color invites personal expression. Blue is a perennial favorite for living rooms, and it works well in a monochromatic color scheme, using a variety of tones of blue to achieve a restful, unified space. Orange is the complement of blue, making it ideal to create a pleasing harmony with either dark or light versions of the primary color.

Analogous colors are neighbors on the color wheel, and produce either a warm, glowing effect or a cool, quiet look. A range of warm reds and yellows offer cheer and conviviality, desirable qualities in a living room. Gold, a more subdued tone of yellow, on large color areas like the walls and sofa, complements and balances vibrant red accents on floor, draperies and throw pillows in an analogous color scheme. Analogous cool tones of blue, green and violet on furnishings offer a feeling of serene relaxation against a neutral gray wall.

The sweetness of pink, a tint of red, on the walls is balanced with a few touches of green, red's complement, and rosy red throw pillows to keep this delicate tone from becoming saccharine. A vivid yellow accent wall sparkles with confidence and perks up a neutral setting. Sometimes a collection of different versions of a single color, such as green, is dramatic.