Timeless Living Rooms & Paint Color Ideas to Love in 2023

After pondering tranquil bedrooms, it feels natural to turn to timeless living rooms that feel sanctuary-like too. While I don’t have exact paint colors for every inspiring interior in the mix, I’ll make suggestions based on a whole lotta experience choosing paint colors for my projects and for others. What makes these spaces timeless? Timeless is certainly a subjective matter and maybe in the eye of the beholder. But think: sophisticated, storied, untrendy, and un-TikTok-y. Living rooms that won’t feel dated in a decade. That don’t shout I’M FRENCH AND FARMY or I’M TOTALLY MOD AND THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT or BUTTER MY BISCUIT, I’M DAYGUM COUNTRY. Ya know? You might be able to tease out the antique from the contemporary in the space or see various eras represented, but their harmony is working.

Modern French living room with elegant white mix of antiques - design by Jill Egan and architecture by Kirby Mears. #modernfrench #livingrooms
MILIEU (Interior Design: Jill Egan, Architecture: Kirby Mears, Produced by: Shannon Bowers, Photography: Laura Resen, Written by: David Massello)

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

Timeless Living Rooms & Paint Colors

Designer Jill Egan strikes just the right timeless chord for my ears.

Capturing a timeless look isn’t about choosing the proper paint color and buying a particular suite of furniture for the space.

Wendell Berry poem THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS on Hello Lovely. #wendellberry #peacepoetry

It’s more a spirit of creating a balanced mood reflective of your interests, history, and delights.

Nordic style living room with white furniture, fireplace, and vintage things - Atlanta Bartlett.
Atlanta Bartlett (For a similar look for paint colors – try Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray at 70% saturation for walls and Benjamin Moore White Dove for trim.)

Time flows ever forward, and there’s no capturing it in a bottle so why should a room be confined to the current whims that are bound to grow stagnant?

Anne Lamott inspirational quote about being a parent on Hello Lovely Studio.

How Does Timeless Style Vary from Classic or Traditional Design?

An interior that feels timeless has the advantage of not feeling stuck in an era or design style or mood.

Athena Calderone designed living room furniture for Crate & Barrel.
Athena Calderone for Crate & Barrel – Timeless Living Rooms & Paint Color Ideas to Love in 2023

It can feel evocative, imaginative, and even otherworldly.

Beautiful sophisticated living room by Stephen Sills in A VISION FOR DESIGN (2022). #stephensills
From A VISION FOR DESIGN by Stephen Sills (Rizzoli, 2022)

Those adjectives don’t necessarily spring to mind when we’re describing a classic or strictly traditional space which can feel calming and comforting.

Yet classic lines, proportions, architecture, and sensibilities play important parts in a timeless scheme.

Rilke quote about living everything and live the questions on Hello Lovely Studio. #rainermariarilke #rilkepoem #rilkequotes
Scrivano living room HGTV Fixer Upper - Joanna Gaines/Magnolia. Light grey trim and white walls with pretty original vintage woodwork. #scrivano #livingroom
From The Scrivano Cottage episode of HGTV Fixer Upper – find paint color ideas in THIS

Traditional elements and an understanding of tradition inform a space that has enduring appeal.

Oh that we could GET THE LOOK of a timeless space by tapping links in a mood board. Hahahaha. It takes a little more thought than buying a collection of things online.

Living room painted Benjamin Moore China White - Decorpad. #benjaminmoorechinawhite #paintcolors #interiordesign #livingroom
Benjamin Moore China White in living room via Decorpad – Timeless Living Rooms & Paint Color Ideas to Love in 2023

Psst. Who says you can’t plant a sofa smack dab in front of windows as the two living spaces above?

Emily Dickinson inspirational quote about introspection. #quotes #emilydickinson

Elegance, Romance, and Luxury in Timeless Interiors

Sometimes timeless designs take time, and sometimes they demand a hefty budget.

Gracie wallpaper in living room - Patina Farm (Brooke Giannetti) European country farmhouse in Ojai. #patinafarm #vintagemodern #modernrustic #livingrooms
Patina Farm living room (buy the book HERE) by Brooke Giannetti/Velvet and Linen

For all of its sophisticated timeless simplicity, a room like the one above and below includes rare and expensive antique furnishings from Europe.

Swedish Rococo antique cabinet in a beautiful European Country living room by Brooke Giannetti of Velvet and Linen.
Giannetti Home – Timeless Living Rooms & Paint Color Ideas to Love in 2023

There are no paint colors to divulge for those spaces above where plaster or a plaster-like finish was applied to walls, requiring no paint at all.

Timeless spaces have an elegance all their own as well. Imagine how the interior above would feel less elegant were the ceiling beams left rustic or stained dark brown.

Inspirational Ann Voskamp faith quote relevant for Christmas on Hello Lovely Studio. #annvoskamp #faithquotes #christmasquotes #christianity

Contemporary Accessories & Touches in Timeless Spaces

Can you still place modern lighting or trending accessories in a living space when you’re after a timeless style? Sure. If a certain texture (like fluffy sherpa right now) happens to be calling your name and happens also to be popular, have fun with it in your space.

Benjamin Moore China White in a living room and kitchen - @saffronavenue. #bmchinawhite #benjaminmoorechinawhite
BM China White @saffronavenue – Timeless Living Rooms & Paint Color Ideas to Love in 2023

It is when everything reads “this year” that the look falls short of timeless.

Dramatic black wall in a living space with traditional design by Mark Sikes.
Mark Sikes – Try a deep blue/black like Farrow & Ball Railings to approach this look

Less Fussy Timeless Schemes I Love

So often a room is *this close* to being fabulous and simply needs subtraction rather than addition. Objects carry energy and weight, and removing the right proportion can elevate the whole vibe.

Beautiful minimal luxe living room with modern furnishings from Jenni Kayne and marble coffee table - Page Pettit Design. #minimalluxe #livingrooms
Paige Pettit Design – try a crisp alabaster cool white like BM White OC-150 for this look

An unfussy, less busy look is always what I’m after since I am easily overstimulated. There’s a level of luxury that can emerge too when there is less visual stimulation.

Cozy California modern rustic style living room by Amber Lewis with knit throw on sofa. #livingrooms #modernrustic #laidbackluxe
Amber Lewis Knit Throw, Anthropologie

Need suggestions for a warm white paint color, GO HERE.

Elizabeth Gilbert inspirational quote. #elizabethgilbert #quotes #inspirationalquotes

Linen slipcovered furniture is an example of what I consider laid back luxury. If you’re the type who needs your upholstery without wrinkles, it’s not a look for you.

Casual minimal modern living room with white slipcovered furnishings and round lamps on console - @phoebenicol.interiors. #whitelivingrooms #slipcoveredfurniture
@phoebenicol.interiorsBM Chantilly Lace would be lovely if you’re after a white like the above

But it can be inviting and sumptuous if you’re after a space where you can actually live and not just look.

When a Living Room Feels Atmospheric

There are various ways to capture a look that defies time. Think about color combinations that feel transcendent to you. Designer Michael Del Piero has always engaged my senses with her innovative, otherworldly combinations.

Black fireplace in a moody Chicago living room by Michael Del Piero.
Michael Del Piero – try SW Agreeable Gray for a similar hue for walls

Mixing rich textures and pieces with history that are full of character can also create such drama and soul.

Pamela Pierce's Houston living room with arched windows, rustic shutters, and French limestone antique fireplace (Chateau Domingue). #rusticelegance #livingrooms #rusticFrenchinteriors
MILIEU’S Pamela Pierce – no paint here since the walls are beautifully plaster

Some designers go in with a strict plan where every detail has been pre-arranged.

Leanne Ford designed living room with zen feel and Ever sofab in her Pittsburgh guest cottage - photo by Erin Kelly for Pittsburgh Post Gazette. #modernrustic #vintagestyle
Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette; Photo: Erin Kelly; Design: Leanne Ford

Others take a more relaxed approach and think at some point in the final days of completion: “think I’ll massage the walls in old coffee I’ve been saving” a la Leanne Ford!

Cheerful green breakfast room designed by Tom Scheerer with sofa, oval tulip table, bamboo chairs, and walls papered in 1890s botanical prints by Joao Barbosa Rodrigues. #timelessdesign #greenwallpaper #tomscheerer
From LIVING WELL BY DESIGN (Vendome, 2021). Design: Tom Scheerer. A cheerful green accented breakfast room is papered in 2890s botanical prints by Joao Barbosa Rodrigues.

While the space above may technically be a dining space, it just lends itself to living and living well, yes?

Melissa Penfold Living Well By Design (Vencome, 2021) book cover
LIVING WELL BY DESIGN (Vendome, 2021) by Melissa Penfold
Encouragement quote - if you're reading this, I hope something beautiful happens to you today - from Michele of Hello Lovely Studio. #inspirationalquote #encouragement #positivevibes

Living With White

Maybe because they are suggestive of living on a cloud and can wash a room with purity, white walls often work as a smart beginning for a room where you’re after a timeless mood.

Ethereal, serene, and spare French Nordic white living room by Cathrine Aust. #frenchnordic #livingroom #scandinaviandecor #allwhitedecor #interiordesign
Catherine Aust

White can feel modern or historical and won’t be pigeon-holed. It doesn’t care if it makes the latest list of trending paint colors for which everyone will be reaching.

Tone on tone can feel sophisticated even with a mix of ingredients that won’t break the budget.

Serene and spare all white Scandi style living room with Mora clock - Villa Jenal. #frenchnordicstyle #nordicfrench #livingroom #swedishdecor #moraclock #interiordesign
Photo: Villa Jenal

But don’t rule out dark and moody with colorful happy pops of rose and marigold!

Farrow & Ball Railings black paint color in an English living room with fireplace - @tornandcottoninteriors. #railings #blackpaintcolors
Farrow & Ball Railings No. 31; Design: @tornandcottoninteriors

Easiest way to see if a paint color will work? Order samples with Samplize and have them delivered straight to your door.

Cole Arthur Riley inspiring quote from THIS HERE FLESH. #contemplativequotes #humanityquotes

Time to Tweak a New Living Room

While we’re in the very messy middle of our bedroom suite DIY renovation, I’m already thinking about how I will tweak our little sitting room. In our former home, I went with rustic Belgian minimal style that worked perfectly for how we live. I never felt like I had to change it while we lived there.

Belgian linen chaise and antique sideboard from Belgium in our European farmhouse inspired living room - Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #livingroom #europeancountry #belgianlinen #interiordesign
Hello Lovely Studio

Here’s where are current living room started about a year ago when I commissioned my husband to build a wall between the sunken living room and the formal entry:

Living room wall and arch window during Georgian renovation

Without the wall, I would have been completely lost as to how to arrange furniture or use the room. In fact, I know I would never have used the room even if I threw a lot of money into decor and aesthetics. Function meant a lot of construction and labor were necessary. Here’s the wall now:

Living room with Belgian style and Sherwin Williams Repose Gray walls - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio – SW Repose Gray on walls

Not that this console (RH, made from reclaimed wood) is necessarily staying put. I feel like I can make the space cozier and might change the wall color too. Cozy? Check out this glorious little Brooklyn apartment tour:

Also check out timeless bedroom inspiration here. Hope all of these inspiring glimpses get your wheels turning and provides any nudge you may need.

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

Shop for items you already intended to buy on Amazon RIGHT HERE, and also find home decor here to keep decor inspiration flowing on Hello Lovely!

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Stripe Seagrass Basket Set
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
White Matelasse Quilt on MY BED
THE BEST Energy Bars!
Trees White Wallpaper Mural
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcovered Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
White Cotton Crochet Bed Skirt
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Rattan Basket With Lid
White Ruffle Bedding
Seagrass Basket Set
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Slipcovered Sofa
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
Tree Mural Wallpaper
Faux Potted French Lavender
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slipcovered Linen Chair
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Laurel Wreath Mirror
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Tray Side Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing
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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Stripe Seagrass Basket Set
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
White Matelasse Quilt on MY BED
THE BEST Energy Bars!
Trees White Wallpaper Mural
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcovered Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
White Cotton Crochet Bed Skirt
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Rattan Basket With Lid
White Ruffle Bedding
Seagrass Basket Set
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Slipcovered Sofa
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
Tree Mural Wallpaper
Faux Potted French Lavender
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slipcovered Linen Chair
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Laurel Wreath Mirror
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Tray Side Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing