Creating Color Flow in an Open Floor Plan

When it comes to painting an open floor plan, the first thought is to play it safe and go with an all-white scheme, but adding different colors helps to define specific areas. The key is to use color without making the space seem choppy. Follow these tips for achieving color and balance in an open floor plan.

Panoramic open floor concept dining room and living room with walls painted in two shades of purple and one wall painted in a warm white.
Featured Colors: Ibis White SW 7000 (Left Wall), Queen Anne Lilac SW 0021 (Middle Wall), Slate Violet SW 9155 (Right Wall)

1. Choose Your Main Color

Always begin with the hue you love the most. In an open floor plan, your dominant color makes up the majority of the room, so it’s important to pick something you love. A dusty neutral like Queen Anne Lilac is perfect for making an open space feel cozier while adding a little color to your walls.

2. Add a Harmonious Accent Color

In an open floor plan, clashing colors can lead to chaos. Stick with neutrals or hues from the same color family to create a seamless flow. A bright neutral like Ibis White is perfect for highlighting a space you want to feel defined. Whether it’s a spot for gathering around the fireplace or showing off a gallery wall, accent colors help these areas stand out.

Open-floor concept industrial dining room with walls painted in tints and shades of purple Queen Anne Lilac SW 0021 and Slate Violet SW 9155.
Featured Colors: Queen Anne Lilac SW 0021 (Left Wall), Slate Violet SW 9155 (Right Wall)

3. Tie it Together

Seamless color flow doesn’t end with the walls. Tie your open floor plan together with decor that matches your overall color palette. Whether it’s chairs or tapestries, finding pieces that bring out a mix of all your paint colors helps to bring the look full circle.

51 Comments

  1. Absolutely gorgeous! Can you give more detail on what textures were used on the ceiling and columns?

  2. I LOVE Ibis White. What other light, bright, airy colors would you suggest pairing it with?

    Donnette Mann
    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Donnette, Ibis is a beautiful color and would look great paired with any of these bright and airy colors. Look at:
      Westhighland White SW 7566
      Ivory Lace SW 7013
      Greek Villa SW 7551

      Sherwin-Williams
  3. I love this concept of making an open floor plan dimensional. Breaking it up with the white gives relief from the darker colors. Love it! Love this color harmony.

  4. Avoiding black as a colorant is desirable because it makes everything seem bigger!

    Peter Holmes
  5. I am getting ready to paint my living room is there a cream paint that compares to Cloud white Benjamin Moore ? I painted my one wall with SW anonymous eggshell finish and i love the green undertone but I want to go up to a lighter shade but same hue ! Any suggestions?

    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Cathy, our closest color to Cloud White is Frost Bite SW 9505. Now on to your next question – lighter versions of Anonymous that would work for you are either Studio Clay SW 9172 or Gray Area SW 7052.

      Sherwin-Williams
  6. We have a very non-descript ceiling, unlike the one in your example, that doesn’t necessarily tie the entire area together. How do you address ceilings in large open areas like this – would you take the middle hue and carry it all the way up and around?

    Dale Petrishe
    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Dale, a painted ceiling – your fifth wall – is a great design trick that will pull your look together. However, since there is no direct light on your ceiling, stick with the lightest shades in the color family. Any color places on a ceiling will look darker than the chip, you don’t want to get too dark of a shade on the ceiling as it may make you feel like you are inside of a tent.

      Sherwin-Williams
  7. i love that specially the ceiling i want one like that

  8. Does this coupon for 30% apply to exterior paint ?

    Penny Gregrich
  9. I would like to use Black Pepper on my big wall. As you enter the house you see the back wall if the house. Its two stories high with patio doors on left and a very large window on the right. Under this window is another patio door. The first patio doors are in the kitchen. Cupboards are pale white. This back wall I want black pepper. Its an open concept with kitchen, open area to lower level, small walking area, large foyer and livingroom.
    At present all open area except window wall is blonde yellow. Window wall is deep red as is the small walking area. All hardwood floors with 110 cream white spindles around open area. Stairs down are also hardwood. Mid tone oak
    Suggestions of what and where to use them.

    Mary Martell
    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Mary, for a larger job like this, we suggest you take advantage of our free Virtual Consult program which is one on one consults with one of our designers. Sign up for a free consult here.

      Sherwin-Williams
  10. I would like to know what is on the ceiling? Is it a mixed paint technique?

  11. Love the colors! Especially Ibis white; I am painting using your creamy white color now. Love It!

  12. Hello my friends at Sherwin- Williams, I am interested in a gallon of your IBIB WHITE SW 7000. I plan on painting my hallway this color. How can I save 30% off a gallon of this paint? Thank you in advance, Wayne

    Wayne Goldman
  13. What would these colors be in brown or taupe rather than greys?

    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Linda, if you like this look but want to incorporate a brown/taupe look at:
      Grecian Ivory SW 7541
      China Doll SW 7517
      White Sesame SW 9586

      Sherwin-Williams
  14. I so enjoy the articles and info in your emails! I sure wish you had a monthly magazine.

  15. Wonderful color combination

  16. Just bought a couch and accent chair and rug. Love the colors you are using here and hope they match my sofa.

  17. I love the ideas you share, much knowledge!!

    Morris Wendy
  18. I love your inspiration. These lilac tones are beautiful.

    June Endres
  19. I love the idea of 3 graduate colors!! Especially the three colors you chose.
    Love love love them !!!

    Phyllis Paul
  20. I love the colors!!! Perfect for my next painting project- Master bedroom

    Drew Williams
  21. I love green-sort of a sage but I don’t know where to go from there. Con you give me some ideas?

    Jackie Taylor
    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Jackie, consider using any of the subtle greens. These are all muted sage greens that would lend a sophisticated background to your space. Check out:
      Sage SW 2860
      Svelte Sage SW 6164
      Herbal Wash SW 7739

      Sherwin-Williams
  22. Please send more ideas using monochromatic hues in neutral.

    Lyne Faucher
  23. Stop! Stop! I already picked out colors, now I love Queen Anne Lilac and Slate Violet.

    Elisabeth R. Cline
  24. Would these colors work with the Colorsnap Color ID Nurturer palette?

    Shirley D Verner
    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Shirley, yes this open concept plan would work very well with the Nurturer palette as long as you pare down your color choices. For instance, consider using Alabaster SW 7008 for your all over color and then use either Illusive Green SW 9164 or Silver Strand SW 7057.

      Sherwin-Williams
  25. I love these colors! 👌They are pitch-perfect.
    I am currently looking for matching colors to go with a Luau Green accent wall. Any ideas?

    Ria Clement
    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Ria, we are glad to hear you like our palette! Luau Green SW 6712 is such a fun, zippy color and would really stand out with any of these soft, grounding whites. Look at:
      Lotus Pod SW 7572
      Chopsticks SW 7575
      Kestrel White SW 7516

      Sherwin-Williams
  26. Beautiful! Love these colors and ready to see more. 🙂

  27. Very much appreciate that the undertone hue is given in the names of these neutrals!
    Easier on everyone!

  28. These colors look beautiful together. Such a refreshing change from the grays that are so popular. I love them!

    Sandy Brogen
  29. I love the way the colors you’ve showed blend into each other, but I want to do this with blues/grays. Could you show me a room with my color picks, please. I’m I. Great need of advice.

  30. Loving this pallet. Currently have Expressive Plum as an accent wall but now thinking Slate Violet update would be nice.

  31. Hello there!
    There are a few thing I am in need of SW help please!!
    I literally came in the site to double check the name of the wall color I was going to purchase when I thought about some things…
    was planning on using SW 6003 – PROPER GREY for my 12×22 Family Room – do you think that is too dark for this size room? I am open to other shades of grey. (I have my color scheme/accents as navy blue, whites, creams and shade of grays). My accent wall is going to be Shiplap but it’s only primed so I need to paint it white. What color SW White do you suggest to make it look nice and crisp but not incredibly bright? So that it’s NOT ALL YOU SEE WHEN YOU WALK LOOK IN THE ROOM? Should I use the same color for the trim? I am using the SW ceiling paint.
    My family room has been opened so it now flows into my dining room so I am planning on either having the wall color flow into the next room or have a shade lighter for my dining room.
    ANY HELP WILL BE APPRECIATED!

    Hilary Needs Some Advice
  32. Hi there,
    If I painted my kitchen and laundry room reposed gray what is a good color for my living room having a hard time as I would like to stay in the gray family –

    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Lori, could you tell us more about the colors in your living room? For instance, flooring, furniture, window treatments, etc. Thank you!

      Sherwin-Williams
  33. I am soooo tired of the peachy beige our interior is painted. We want to go with a
    light gray. I don’t want it to pick up green or blue, just a light gray.

    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Debbie! A “true gray” is almost impossible to find as grays can only be made by combining color families – so there will always be an undertone of some kind. That being said, our go to grays without a noticeable undertone are:
      Fortitude SW 9562
      Light French Gray SW 0055

      Sherwin-Williams
  34. Beautiful space! The Queen Anne Lilac and Slate Violet work well in this space because of the tall ceilings, tall windows and large amounts of natural light. Most definitely furnishings should color match or coordinate with chosen paint colors. We’ve become accustomed to neutrals being defined as white, beige, or grey. The definition of neutral is having no strongly marked characteristic or feature, thus any color could be a neutral such as the Queen Anne Lilac and Slate Violet seen here. Not only are your colors beautiful but your paint is of the highest quality. It’s my “go-to” as I’ve used it to paint multiple homes and it’s always the paint I recommend. If you’d like you can watch here @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NbEmgv3wRc&t=7s for a personal testimony. I’ve always had excellent customer service with Sherwin-Williams stores. Thanks for making an awesome product!

  35. Beautifully done! We love the colors and the urban industrial look the room has.
    Now, we’re considering getting our kitchen cabinets done with the colors mentioned (Slate Violet/Queen Anne Lilac), do you think is a good idea? If it is, then what color should the walls be since our hard wood floors are honey oak color. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    Myriam Miller
    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Myriam, yes you could use those sophisticated colors on your cabinets – in a small dose. Consider painting just the bottom cabinets in the Slate Violet or Queen Anne Lilac. Then, pair that with either Ibis White or Futon on the upper cabinets AND kitchen walls. When you paint your upper cabinets the same color as your kitchen walls, your kitchen looks bigger and brighter with an intentional palette.

      Sherwin-Williams

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