How to Create a Coordinated Color Palette Between Adjacent Rooms in an Open Floor Plan?

Open floor plans have become increasingly popular in recent years. They offer a sense of spaciousness, flexibility, and flow that traditional room divisions do not. Yet, one of the challenges you often face with this design trend is how to create a coordinated color palette between adjacent rooms. The task, while exciting, is not exactly a walk in the park.

You must consider several factors: the colors of the walls, furniture, and accessories, the size of the rooms, the amount of natural light, the desired mood, and the personal preference of the occupants.

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This article will guide you on how to seamlessly pull together a color palette for your open floor plan. We will explore five key aspects that require your attention: choosing the base color, using color to define spaces, transitioning colors between rooms, incorporating accent colors, and considering the impact of lighting on colors.

Choosing the Base Color

The first step in creating a coordinated color palette is selecting your base color. This color will set the mood for your entire house. It is the predominant color that will be used on walls and big furniture pieces.

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When choosing a base color, consider the overall design style you want to achieve. If you’re aiming for a minimalist look, then opt for neutral shades like white or beige. If you’re aiming for a more vibrant style, you might opt for bolder shades like blue or green.

Remember that your base color needs to be something that you can live with in large quantities. It should be a color that you love and won’t tire of easily.

Using Color to Define Spaces

In an open floor plan, rooms and areas are not defined by walls, but they can be defined by colors. Using different shades of your base color in adjacent rooms can subtly delineate spaces without disrupting the overall flow.

For instance, if your base color is white, you might paint the kitchen a soft cream, the dining area a light gray, and the living room a warm beige. The colors are different, but because they’re all variations of your base color, they’ll create a sense of unity throughout the space.

Transitioning Colors Between Rooms

The way you transition colors between rooms will significantly impact the overall cohesion of your design. The goal is to prevent harsh contrasts that might break the harmony of your open space.

One technique is to use color gradients. If you have a dark blue wall in the living room, as it approaches the dining area, you might gradually lighten the blue until it becomes a sky blue in the dining area.

Another method is to use a common color. If your kitchen is green and your dining room is blue, you might paint the shared wall a color that combines the two, like a blue-green.

Incorporating Accent Colors

Accent colors add depth and interest to a space. They are the colors you use on smaller items such as throw pillows, artwork, rugs, and other decor pieces.

These colors should complement your base color and help tie together the different rooms in your open floor plan. You could choose one accent color to use throughout your entire home, or you could choose a few that work well together.

For example, if your base color is white, your accent colors might be navy blue and mustard yellow. You could use navy blue cushions in the living room, a mustard yellow rug in the dining area, and a mix of navy and mustard accessories in the kitchen.

Considering the Impact of Lighting on Colors

Lighting can significantly alter the appearance of colors. Natural light will show the truest color, while incandescent lighting will bring out warm tones and fluorescent lighting will highlight cool tones.

When planning your color palette, consider the light sources in each room. A color that looks fantastic in the bright, sun-filled living room might look drab in the poorly lit kitchen.

Always test colors in different lighting conditions before making your final decision. Paint a small section of the wall and observe how the color changes throughout the day and under artificial light.

Creating a coordinated color palette in an open floor plan can be a challenging yet rewarding process. With careful planning and consideration of these factors, you can create a harmonious and visually appealing space that reflects your personal style.

The Importance of Outdoor Lighting and Reflections on Your Color Palette

Outdoor lighting is an often overlooked aspect of interior design that can significantly influence your color palette decision. The way outdoor light enters and interacts with your space can alter the appearance of your chosen paint colors.

If your open floor layout includes large windows or glass doors, the outdoor light can create reflections and give a different hue to your walls and furniture. For example, the green from the surrounding trees or the blue from a nearby pool could subtly tint your indoor color scheme.

Considering this, it’s important to examine how outdoor light interacts with your space at different times of the day. This will allow you to anticipate any shifts in color and adjust your palette accordingly.

Furthermore, outdoor lighting fixtures, such as lanterns or wall-mounted lights, can also impact the way your color palette appears. While their primary function is to provide light, these fixtures can also cast shadows that can add depth and texture to your chosen colors. Therefore, carefully selecting the placement and type of lighting can further enhance your chosen color scheme.

Understanding the relationship between your open concept layout and outdoor lighting will ensure a color palette that’s consistent and harmonious, no matter the time of day or season.

The Role of a Focal Point in Unifying Color Schemes in Floor Plans

A focal point in interior design is a design element that draws the eye and gives it a place to rest. In an open floor plan, the focal point could be a stunning piece of artwork, a grand fireplace, or an impressive light fixture.

When creating your color palette, you can use your focal point as an inspiration. For instance, if you have a painting with rich reds and oranges, you could incorporate these colors into your palette. This will create a consistent theme throughout your open space and make the transition from room to room more seamless.

Your focal point doesn’t have to be a single item; it could be a feature wall painted in a standout shade from your color palette. This wall could then inspire accent colors for the nearby dining room or living room.

The color wheel can be particularly helpful when choosing colors inspired by your focal point. Using this tool, you can identify complementary colors that will work best in your open space, ensuring a coordinated look.


Designing an open floor plan can be an exciting venture, yet it comes with its unique challenges. Successfully creating a harmonious color palette involves considering numerous factors such as the base color, accent colors, transition of colors between rooms, the effect of lighting, and the role of a focal point.

Sherwin Williams, a renowned paint company, offers a wide range of paint colors that you can explore to create your perfect color scheme. They also provide a color visualizer tool that allows you to upload your room’s photo and virtually paint it with your chosen colors.

Remember that the ultimate goal is to create a space that reflects your personal style and preferences. Whether you’re a fan of bold, vibrant colors or subtle, serene shades, there’s no right or wrong in interior design. It’s all about creating a space that you and your family love and feel comfortable in.

In conclusion, while creating a coordinated color palette in an open floor plan can be complex, it’s undoubtedly doable and greatly rewarding. With careful consideration, creativity, and the tips provided in this article, you’re well on your way to creating a beautiful, unified, and inviting open floor space.