Choosing Paint Colors for an Open Floor Plan

white blue and red concrete building

Stuck on how to choose colors for adjoining rooms? Allow me to share some tips on continuity and color that would apply to any room in any home.

First, the trim and ceiling colors should be the same throughout.  Ideally, the flooring should be the same, too, to unify the new combined space.

Decorators use the 60-30-10 rule—a formula for choosing three colors and dispersing them through the room.  The dominant color should be about 60% of your overall room.  The second color should occupy 30% and the final 10% is often referred to as the “pop of color.”

Say, for example, your kitchen with blue cabinets is open to your living room. I would allot the blue to serve as the 30%.  Therefore, the 60% could cover your walls, furniture and curtain fabrics, and rug color in both the living room and kitchen.

Because our eyes keenly notice where colors stop and start, I would propose one wall color throughout your small space.  Try a lighter blue or a neutral like a grey for a contemporary look or a beige for a traditional or coastal vibe.

Now for the 10% color.  Choose a paint hue that coordinates or compliments the blue.  Choose one of the other primary colors— red or yellow—and they should be the same intensity as your blue cabinets. And it could be any member of the red family, like blush or raspberry. Or choose the complimentary and trendy color of orange for pillows, lamps, and other accessories.

One final tip, use some of the same blue color from the kitchen cabinets in the living room. Ideally, use it on the far wall opposite your cabinets for a balanced look.  To achieve this, the blue can be the main color in your wall art or paint some wooden tables or a rocking chair.

One final tip, when introducing a color, use it in at least three spaces through the room. It will look balanced and keeps your eyes peering around the room.



With many satisfied clients since 2008, Barbara Graceffa owns and operates Secretary of the Interior in Quincy, MA offering decorating services at reasonable rates. If you want to suggest a blog topic or have a decorating, downsizing/decluttering or home staging project needing professional help or are interested in hosting a workshop or quilt show, please contact her via her website www.sec-interior.com or phone 617.921.6033.

By Barbara Graceffa

Barbara Graceffa, CEO of Secretary of the Interior, serves decorating clients; assists with professional organizing, home staging and moving assistance; teaches on these subjects; and delivers quilt lectures and trunk shows.

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