How to paint an open floorplan house?
August 2, 2018 8:49 AM   Subscribe

Our kitchen, dining room and living room (plus a stairway) are all one room. We are having them painted and need ideas on how/if/where to stop one color and start another.

The kitchen and dining room share a wall and we are leaning towards brick red for this wall and the wall that only belongs to the kitchen. What do we do with the rest of the walls?

I am having a hard time finding more than one or two examples of Great Rooms with different colors. We also have slightly different opinions on how dark we are willing to go, but I think if we see enough examples, we can find something we both like. The vaulted ceiling is and will stay white. The floors will be a medium-dark wood except the kitchen which has a warm light wood shade.
posted by soelo to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I think you’re looking for the phrase “accent wall.” If you google accent wall red, you’ll find a ton of photos and articles of how other houses rock the red.
posted by mochapickle at 8:56 AM on August 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

FWIW, I've had better luck getting a lot of pictures of room painting ideas quickly by getting decoration/painting books at the library and looking at all the sample photos at the paint stores. Paint stores are very good for multi-color examples since of course they want to sell you more paint. Sherwin Williams has a lot of suggestions.
posted by asperity at 8:57 AM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

What about a Sage Green for the living room walls? Green and red go well together and if you use brick and sage, it won't be christmas-y but elegant.
posted by MovableBookLady at 8:58 AM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

How big is the space? We have a similar situation and the room is quite small -- so we just went with white and we're really happy with it. I do like some accent walls -- I would take a look at some house tours online to see what you like (cup of jo blog has some incredible ones.)
posted by heavenknows at 9:06 AM on August 2, 2018

oh oh! accent wall red kitchen! Good stuff!
posted by mochapickle at 9:15 AM on August 2, 2018

Think of all the areas as a single space and paint with a single color with the possible exception of one accent wall. One color gives a sense of flow and spaciousness. Colors that start and stop break up the spaces and not always in a good way. Instead sse colorful art work, rugs, curtains, and furnishings to differentiate the spaces.
posted by Elsie at 9:20 AM on August 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

When we bought our house, almost every room was painted with two colors. I never would have done it myself, but I *love* it. Some rooms, there's an accent wall; some rooms are split evenly with 2 walls of each color. They all work great. I think they make the spaces feel larger.

We did our den with a dark blue and a light cream; office is gray and orange. We have white trim and white doors that help tie everything together.

Our living room/kitchen area is a brick red and a mustard yellow, and they look wonderful together. (Similar to these hues.) You could do brick red and a creamy color if mustard is too much for you. I like my colors saturated. Yellow is very hard to get right, so it pays to try a few options.

Throw some samples up on the wall - it's worth the effort to make sure you like the color.
posted by hydra77 at 9:29 AM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

It is a pretty big space, so we are not worried about making it feel smaller.
posted by soelo at 10:00 AM on August 2, 2018

Several years after moving in to our house, we discovered that the open plan living-dining-kitchen was actually painted three slightly different colors. The color changes on "outside corners" only, so it looks like just a quirk of lighting, but once you know it, you realize that it really helps to make the spaces distinctive and interesting.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:28 AM on August 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

We made the decision to stop the paint at a straight line at the location we decided would be the demarc between the living room and dining room. We have something akin to MEFI green in the kitchen and cream in the living room. We were worried that it would look odd but are very happy with how it turned out, the two different colors help separate the spaces.
posted by jmsta at 10:51 AM on August 2, 2018

Outside corners is how we did it in our last house. The living room section was painted a different color because it had outside corners (basically a wide, trim-less doorway except there was no header either). The kitchen and dining room shared an actual continuous wall so we painted those two rooms the same color. I think if there aren't corners, you should do two rooms the same color.
posted by raspberrE at 3:21 PM on August 2, 2018

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