How to choose a colour palette for an open floor plan

The open floor plan has been popular in homes across the country and world for quite a while now and for good reason. It makes small spaces look large and it combines different living spaces into one to create an inviting and comforting environment. But it can have decorating problems. How does one choose a colour palette that blends from room to room when there are no walls?

Too much colour will be overwhelming and too little colour will be boring. The trick is in finding the balance to create a beautiful, seamless space.

One option is to stick to three to five colours. In a five colour scheme one of those colours should be white, one or two should be neutral, and one or two are supporting/bright/contrasting. Stick to colour families or to colours that share the same intensity to keep this cohesive.

Using a three colour scheme can draw attention to architectural details with three colours that work well together. One colour for the walls, one for the trims, and the third for the ceiling. When done well, this looks sophisticated.

A neutral colour palette is also a good option and it does not need be boring. Instead, it can add texture and pattern in interesting ways. Choosing a white or neutral background for an open floor plan gives one the freedom to add a textured wall in the same colour or in contrasting finishes. A brick wall, colourful backsplash, or textured ceiling can add variety to the space.


Even if one chooses to keep the room neutral, some colour can be added in strategic places. Find the interesting angles and corners of the room, and go bold. These areas will have a natural stop and start point. Bold colours will add life and even comfort to the room.

If one colour is too much, try tone on tone. Use different tones of the same colour, and gradually transition from tone to tone in different areas of the open space.

Use furniture to add some character to an open space. For example, a bookcase can break up a long wall of the same colour, or if a bookcase is the same finish as the kitchen cabinets, it can be a key element in tying together the two rooms. Ceiling beams can provide a natural transition and can be slightly altered in colour/tone from room to room.

Whimsically-coloured chairs or rugs can add pops of colour. Throw pillows can anchor an accent wall to the room.

Be creative.

Happy Painting!


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