Interior designer Robert Stilin makes living room decor easy with this simple advice

Robert Stilin creates some of the world's most beautiful homes, and his expert ideas mean you can too

white living room robert stilin
Living room designed by Robert Stilin
(Image credit: Robert Stillin)

The living room is often the most-utilized room of a home, so it’s no surprise that homeowners feel pressure to make it perfect. Perhaps the biggest conundrum: What color should this room be painted? 

But according to New York− and Hamptons-based designer Robert Stilin, despirte all the living room ideas available there’s no reason to stress. “Simply choose a paint color that feels good to you,” says Stilin. 

“There’s absolutely no need to worry about matching the shade to your artwork and furnishings.” The only real consideration, says the designer, is lighting. “In a room with lots of natural light, a bright color will appear even more intense and may become overwhelming,” he says. “On the other hand, a dimly lit room might benefit from a brighter color.” 

For someone who is a bit unsure, lighter shades are easier to work with, but even a more intense tone dissipates once it’s on the walls, assures Stilin. “And definitely wait until the room is decorated before you make a judgement about the wall color,” he continues. “Paint is a big element, but a room requires layers. Once you bring in artwork and furnishings, a strong color may end up looking amazing.”

Robert Stilin livng room armchair

(Image credit: Robert Stilin)

So, what are some of Stilin’s go-to paint colors for a living room? “There’s a light lavender, WC-09 by Fine Paints of Europe, that is one of my very favorite colors,” says the designer. “It’s subtle, but it still catches your eye, and it is unexpected and playful in a living room.” For a light neutral that looks great in any light, Stilin recommends Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee, which has a green undertone. And when it comes to cheery shades, Farrow & Ball’s Middleton Pink is a clear winner. “It takes courage to use pink,” says Stilin, “but this one is very easy to live with.” 

Farrow and Ball Middleton Pink

Middleton Pink by Farrow and Ball

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)
Alyssa Bird

Alyssa Bird is a New York−based freelance writer and editor with experience covering architecture, interior design, travel, hospitality, and real estate. She has held editorial positions at Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, and New York Cottages &Gardens. When she’s not writing about dreamy spaces, you can find her tweaking the decor in her own Brooklyn home, honing her green thumb, testing out a new recipe, or scouring for antiques.