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How to Choose a Paint Color for an Open Floor Plan, According to Designers

open concept paint colors


Also known as an open concept, an open floor plan minimizes separation and merges common spaces, like living rooms, dining rooms, and kitchens. The architectural design promotes a larger-looking space, better flow, more natural light, and the maximization of your space. But when it comes to paint choices, the open floor plan can often pose a color conundrum.

They say colors evoke certain emotions, but with limited walls to work with, the open floor plan doesn't pose many opportunities for expressing such sentiments. So, we tapped the experts for their design advice to help you add some color to your open floor plan.

Ahead, 15 tips straight from designers for what color to paint your open space.

01 of 15

Make Your Walls a Neutral Canvas

open concept paint colors

Hilary Matt Interiors

"Soft, neutral hues that have the ability to chameleon with their surroundings are the best choice for an open floorplan, especially a light greige. I like to choose a color that won't interfere with the interiors and will provide a soft dimensional backdrop." —Lynne Tocchet, Director of Interior Design, Pacaso

02 of 15

Consider Undertones

open concept paint colors


"The undertones of the paint color are as important as the color itself! A beige that's too warm will feel yellow and dingy, just like a grey that is too cool will feel cold and dreary."—Lynne Tocchet, Director of Interior Design, Pacaso

03 of 15

Bring the Drama

Living room with brown paint and white couch


"I love using dramatic colors like cobalt or chocolate brown. My favorite hues are Benjamin Moore's Champion Cobalt and Bittersweet Chocolate. For added interest, include the trim in a fun, contrasting color or extend the wall color to the trim for a seamless look." —Kellie Burke, Owner and Principal of Kellie Burke Interiors

04 of 15

Switch Up the Placement

open concept paint colors


"To take your paint job up a notch, I suggest taking three neutral colors in the scheme and alternating on the trim, walls, and ceilings to coordinate but separate the zones in an open floorplan." —Kellie Burke, Owner and Principal of Kellie Burke Interiors

05 of 15

Consider Color Blocking

open concept colors


"I love to color block in an open floor plan to set the stage for each piece of furniture to have a moment. Whether that be through neutrals or high contrast colors, it all depends on your personal style." —Kellie Burke, Owner and Principal of Kellie Burke Interiors

06 of 15

Think of Furniture as a Secondary Layer

open concept paint colors


"The idea of an open floor plan is to create a sense of openness within the home, and neutral colors enhance this feeling. We then layer more bold colors via furniture and accessories into the more enclosed spaces such as a foyer, powder room, or bedrooms to create a truly curated color palette." —Mark Lavender, Principal Design & Founder of M.Lavender Interiors

07 of 15

Choose Colors IRL

open concept paint colors


"Never select a color for your home based on an image you see on social media. When choosing a color for a space, it's important to look at the color in different rooms as they all have different light sources. Then be sure to look at it at different times of day to make sure the color doesn't show any different undertones at different points of the day and in different rooms." —Lauren Lerner, Principal Designer & Founder of Living with Lolo

08 of 15

Play With Accent Walls

open concept paint colors


"The style will always dictate the design choices, but generally, we like to stick with a great neutral in an open floorplan and then choose walls to accent with a different color or wallpaper." —Lauren Lerner, Principal Designer & Founder of Living with Lolo

09 of 15

Keep Your Design Style In Mind

open concept paint colors


"Let your design style dictate the color of your floor plan for you. If your style is light and airy, go with more neutral tones and whites. If you prefer a cozy or dramatic feel, try more moody, dark tones. For the bold and eclectic, you could always go for brighter statement tones." —Ashley Grech, Co-Founder of Thirteen Oak Interior Design Studio

10 of 15

Use Color to Create Zones

open concept paint colors

Hawk & Co

"Even in the most neutral palettes, contrast is key. When a space is open, you want areas to feel meaningful with different purposes. I use color to define a dining room as being different from the kitchen or give contrast to a wall behind a focal piece of furniture that I want to bring attention to." —Summer Jensen, Founder of Hawk & Co.

11 of 15

Bridge Spaces Together With Color

open concept paint colors


"When working on open floor plans, I use colors that will be harmonious and work in tandem with the adjacent room. Think of your paint selection as your bridging color between spaces." —Summer Jensen, Founder of Hawk & Co.

12 of 15

Make It Adaptable

open concept colors


"When working with an open floor plan, I love to set the backdrop with clean, neutral colors, then layer on top of that. This not only enhances the space, but lets you add and make changes over time, through furniture, art and lighting choices." —Hillary Stamm, Founder of HMS Interiors

13 of 15

Use Thresholds as a Color Border

open concept paint colors


"With single walls running across open floor plans, knowing when to transition colors could be confusing. "Colors can be changed when there is a threshold—either a doorway or thicker archway works as a border." —Jessica Nicasro Design CEO/Principal Designer

14 of 15

Consider the Style of Your Home

open concept paint colors


"Open floor plan homes are generally newer homes with a more modern feel. To keep in line with the design elements of your home, keep the walls a white tone to allow the furnishings to dictate the difference in spaces." —Jessica Nicasro Design CEO/Principal Designer

15 of 15

Make Color Your Design Style

open concept paint colors


"Style will absolutely change the colors of your palette, but principles should remain the same. Use contrast for that focal point pop, define certain spaces with an accent color to make it more personal, and create separation within the larger space." —Summer Jensen, Founder of Hawk & Co.