Blog by Beebe Cline

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How to Use Color With an Open Floor Plan

I'm a color consultant, and one of the biggest concerns my clients have is how to use color with an open floor plan. These days, many homes are built where the rooms open up to one another. This is great for entertaining and keeping an eye on the kids, but when it comes to painting, many homeowners aren't sure where to start and stop each color.

Some people decide to use one color throughout the entire area, but they are still challenged by how to use accent colors to unify the space and make it feel more intimate. If this is your dilemma, here are some helpful tips.
If your space has a bulkhead or soffit, treat this portion differently than the rest of the ceiling and walls, and continue this treatment throughout. Use paint or wallpaper, or be innovative. In this home, the designer used stained bamboo plywood on the bulkhead and wrapped it around the entire space like a ribbon.
In a large open area where the walls are white, color is essential to help ground the space and keep it from feeling too sterile. Add color with accessories. This space is unified with the same orange and green accent colors used in the living area and the kitchen.
Another way to anchor a large space is to create a central seating area. With it's fun, eye-catching chartreuse hue, this sectional not only provides comfortable seating, but makes a great focal point.
When choosing a main color, use a warm, happy hue on the walls. Using sunny yellow is a sure way to cozy up an open space. Notice where the secondary color — a complementary shade of blue — was used in the kitchen and on the accent fabrics and accessories.
Don't limit your room to one paint color. Even open spaces have angles and corners where you can naturally start and stop different colors, so be creative. Bold hues and patterns will make your large room feel more comfortable.
Large, open kitchens can feel stark — especially if the cabinets are white. To remedy this, one trick is to use vivid accent colors. Red is great color to use in the kitchen. It's a lively, energetic color that will create an inviting space.
If you have an open kitchen and you prefer to stain your cabinets, go for a dark finish. Deeper stains provide a rich, elegant look that also help to make a cavernous kitchen feel more welcoming.
Give your large space a sense of humor. Big, open areas can sometimes look too serious, but you can inject a bit of whimsy by doing the unexpected. This designer used chairs in several different colors. The result is a fun, flirty space.