› Paint Colors & Pine Wood

Paint Colors For A Living Room
With Natural Wood

"How do I match paint colors for a living room with natural pine walls - and add the right curtain color?"   (Reader question)

Hi Renate,

In a large living room where half the walls are a natural thick pine and with the same hardwood floors to match, what colours should be accented to this?

Should there be two walls one colour and two walls a different shade?

With the wood, should the curtains match, fade out, or be darker than the wall colours?


Hi Elizabeth,

I'll start with your first question (about paint colors for your living room walls) and get to the question about curtains afterwards.

1. Is it OK to have two walls in one colour and two walls in another?

If I understand you correctly, you have two walls in unpainted/unstained natural pine wood, so you've got two walls left to paint in a colour that works with the natural wood colour.

It is perfectly fine to have two different wall colors in a room, and there are no 'shoulds' whatsoever. This is really about doing whatever works best for the room.

The paint color for your living room walls will depend completely on the other colors in the room -

  • furniture,
  • soft furnishings,
  • rugs,
  • paintings / wall art,
  • accessories, and so on.

The other important factor in choosing the right paint colors for your living room is the hue of the pine wood, seeing as it takes up a lot of space in the room color scheme.

If the wood has a red/orangey/yellowish cast, there are three ways you could go:

  • You could increase the warmth by choosing a warm color that works with the other colors in the room. So if you were going for, say, green walls, then you'd be looking at yellowish greens (olive, or lighter grassy greens). If you were inclined towards red paint colors for your living room, you would be looking at brick red or the typical 'burning' reds of autumn foliage.
  • If you wanted to tone down the warmth of the wood color, you'd be choosing blue-based paint colors for your living room: bluish greens, or burgundy, or the washed-out, chalky tints of rose, hay, sage, or even a sky-blue pastel.
  • You could also opt to create a neutral backdrop, which would make all the "real" colors in the room 'pop': light neutrals for the walls (and curtains), mixed with charcoal accents nearer the floor.

If the wooden walls & flooring are quite dark, you may want to choose paint colors for your living room that help to brighten it up:

Now to your second question:

2. With the wood, should the curtains match, fade out or be darker than the wall colours?

This depends mainly on the amount of attention you want to draw to the windows.

The more light/dark contrast you have between curtains and wall (i.e. dark curtains on a light ground, or light curtains against a dark wall) the more you will tend to notice them, and the more important their lines, shape and length become for the look of the whole room.

Apart from this, have a look at the following issues:

  • How dark are the other (paint) colors in the living room? - Curtains can help brighten up a room.
  • How large are the windows? - Lighter curtains can help make a window look larger.
  • Would more color intensity help you make your living room come 'alive', or to balance strong color in the room? Sometimes bright, saturated colour looks good in a curtain if you've used the same strong paint color for a living room wall, or you have a rug or some sofa cushions in this color. (Generally speaking, the more neutral a color is, the 'safer' it tends to be.)

Again, there are absolutely no 'shoulds'! What works best for the room is what's appropriate.

I wish you good luck with your project!

Kind regards,

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