Painting small open plan house. Help!

angiepangieAugust 2, 2013

I have just over 800 sq feet. Its mostly open plan- the kitchen, utility and dining and living room all join. The bedrooms take the other half. Standing in any room, you can see the rest of the house.

We have had some wallpaper down and need to paint. Currently the entire house is painted semi-gloss (which I hate) cream, with ivory colored trim (doors, floor boards, wainscotting, etc). The living room is painted a drab neutral green.

So my question is this. If I wanted to paint the whole house, should I paint it all the same color, or paint each room the color I want? I like the idea of having different colors in the room, of the same hue or tone- shades of pale green, blue and yellow specifically.

But I worry this will make the house seem smaller, or cluttered. There is ALOT of trim which already makes it seem a bit cluttered but it is ok since it is basically only a shade off from the wall color. Painting the walls a contrasting color will make all that trim stand out and seem busy. Add a few pictures on the walls and it doesn't look so calming.

However, I am bored with all the white. I am leaning towards painting it either all one color, or all shades of one color. If I chose green I would paint all rooms a slightly different hue of the same tone?

Or go crazy and have each room a different color. Remember- you can see the whole house in it's entirety from any point you are standing.

Many thanks


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    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 12:52PM
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    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 12:53PM
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wish I could put these all in one post

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 12:54PM
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last one

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 12:56PM
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Hi Angie,
I too live in a small house with an open floor plan..we have a main color..that runs through the main areas..the kitchen is a different color..and each room and the bath have their own colors.

My husband is the color picker..I'm the worker..

We like color..but we use it as impact spots.

So the main color is a golden/peachy tan..the kitchen is a paprika color(not kidding go open your spice jar) lol..our flooring(laminate in the main part of the house) and kitchen cabinets are a light honey wood.

Bathroom is a pale true yellow..
Our bedroom..a deep red..our boys at the moment.
My vinyl in the bath and kitchen are both grey stone looks..flagstone in the kitchen and small square tiles in the bath.
Each bedroom has it's own kind of carpet.

You can get away with what pleases your eye..and what you enjoy.

I think the key is to keep a flow..using flooring, or color, or textiles..

Given the extreme amount of trim and it all being painted..I'd go with a cottage or beach look..
But use different fun colors to pop different areas.

What are your favorite pieces of furniture..what colors do you really like?
Do you like your accents to be understated or bold?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 4:38PM
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This might stem some inspiration...

Here is a link that might be useful: An Oregon Cottage

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 4:59PM
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You house is just as cute as can be Angie! The site below might be helpful, it also shows a palette of blues & greys that look wonderful together.

My rooms are all different colors with the exception of my open concept kitchen and living room plus the laundry room... they are all a matching beige. The sunroom is a blue that blends well with the beige. My bedrooms are each a different color... colors that probably don't blend as well as they should (purple, yellow and cocoa), but I like it!

Have fun with it and be sure to post 'after pictures' too!

Hi Terri!! Long time no see! Hop over to the KT to say Hi. I know there's some people over there who have been missing you!

Here is a link that might be useful: Choosing Paint Colors

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 5:22PM
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Hi guys, thanks for the advice and the links!

I am still struggling with- one color, or many?

I chose better homes and gardens creamy buttermilk for the dining room as a starting point. It looks pale yellow in there. I like it- but I am having a hard time choosing colors that will go with it in the adjoining rooms. I have the issue of my light being kind of yellow- so another yellow might not look good.

That second link was gorgeous. I wish I was brave enough to use color like that!

I do want to paint the rest of the house- and I LOVE the cottage look. I've always adored the coastal / cottage looks.

I am still worried that painting the different rooms will give a cramped feel- but perhaps if I stay with very pale pastels it won't?

I can think if plenty of colors that coordinate together- then I bring the swatches home and it's like- no way! That would look really weird sitting in the green living room, looking into the blue bedroom, yellow dining room and another colored 2nd bedroom- would it? Would it not?

I also love the idea of the continous color because it gives the house a spread out feeling- you know? being small you have to be careful of making the space feel cramped.

The other thing is my bathroom- its about 6ft wide and 10 ft long- no kidding. I've not decided what to do in there- probably cream all over.

Would you all leave the living room the drab green, change it to buttermilk (as in the dining) or paint it another color all together?

I didn't see very many muted pastels. I like muted because otherwise they look too chalky, or like a babies nursery.

Here is the dining room before I took out the wallpaper. You have already seen after wallpaper. I will post another once it is painted.

Our decor is black and white photos in white frames of places we went on vacation- yosemite, etc. Our couch is brown, a drab floral recliner,grey linen curtains.

I love my house. The only thing is they painted all the walls and celiengs shiny. Why do people do that?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 6:09PM
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Going from Lydia's link..I found the color palette Monday posts..
I think if you go with something like this, you can run through like colors/tones and use several of those to create the flow it sounds like you truly want.

I for instance would paint the lower wall of your dining room a bolder color that would be carried through into your kitchen through the "pass through" window.

Hi Back Lydia..

Here is a link that might be useful: Color Palette Monday

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 6:29PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

House is really cute. I like the idea of emphasizing the moldings that you have by painting different colors. I also think you can go bolder with your colors if you want...they won't necessarily make the rooms smaller but instead be a backdrop for what's in front.

You can think about cross linking the colors in the rooms, so you can use what's below the chair rail in one room on the wall in the next. In my house, I painted the ceilings as well and would use the ceiling color from one room onto the wall in the next room. So all the colors blend and the rooms feel coordinated.

You can achieve this by looking at ben moore affinity colors which are all supposed to play nicely together.

You can look at Ben Moore Color Preview and the colors the same step down the swatch will blend well together (so the 3rd from the top on each swatch generally work well together as they match in intensity). Or you can look at the single swatch and use lighter and darker shades of the same color which will also play nicely together.

My mother had an open space between LR DR and kit in her condo so she got a pretty print to make drapes out of for both the LR and DR. She used the neutral taupe in the print to paint all the walls except the opposite end walls. She pulled the terra cotta out of the drapes for the LR accent wall and she pulled the blue out of the drapes for the DR accent wall, so the spaces were coordinated but different. So you might look to a fabric or a piece of art or some other inspiration from which to pull your colors so they all work together but can vary.

As a general rule, I don't worry as much about the colors in private spaces like bedrooms vs public spaces as they are just that...private. So even if I can see it from another room, it's usually just a small piece of the room. And I like the flexibility of doing something different in there.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 9:22AM
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hello you have a qute very nice house do not worry about making it look smaller with differant colors cause that is sort of impossible with your house your windows and glassed doors give you a wide open free outdoor look of mother nature choose nise colors that are vert differant but contrast nicely with each other for each room then the trick is to paint all your trim the same color a natural wood loke color that flows freely thru out the whole area it will be gorgeous in the archway inside part do the same as the natural wood type color of the trim thru out the house you will feel free and open in mother natures outside make sure that the contrasting colors you use arer very differant but that they accent the wood like trim you will always feel free open and outside in mother nature at her best

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 1:05AM
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We only had two surfaces (dining room and hall) that we needed to paint that really "adjoined" each other. I chose a sagey green in the dining room and a smokey blue in the hall. The living room is whitewashed pine paneling and the bedroom is white plywood planks (it just looks like old plank walls, not plywood). I wanted color in the bedroom but DH hated every color I chose so I went with white as the base, and painted the shutters we're using as doors on the built in closets a blue/green. The floor is painted a different blue green.

I went all over collecting zillions of color chips, and still had the hallway custom mixed (added a little more "smokeyness" to it). Basically, I kept holding them up to each other until I found two that were different but still complimented each other.

My advise in a smaller house is keep with lighter colors and for rooms that are open to each other, find colors that compliment each other. I like having the rooms defined as seperate (our old house, the living room and dining room were basically the same long room, but the living room was floor to ceiling paneling where the dining room was wainscotting and wallpaper).

You can see the hall and dining room colors on my blog below-the photos of the "after" of the hall show a wall on the left (just a little piece)-that is the dining room. In the pics it looks like it's the same color as the hall, but if you look down a little you can see the "after" of the dining room which shows the actual color. All that really seperates the two is that one piece of trim.

Here is a link that might be useful: blog

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 9:25AM
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I just posted a very similar question! I have a big, open floor plan too, and I've decided to go with three green/blue/grays that are subtly different. I think that strategy connects all the rooms, but delineates the spaces and adds character and depth. An open floor plan painted all one color can seem a little one-note, in my mind. Just my POV. On the other hand, I have multiple types of flooring to contend with, so I didn't want to choose drastically different shades (similar to your trim issue, I suppose).

My issue is that I don't know how to decide what shade on what surface!! How do you decide THAT? Posting my house and colors in the next post. (p.s. Why can't we attach multiple photos to a post on here?)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 8:27PM
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here are my colors. enough to add interest but only subtly different. I think ill choose three of the four.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 8:28PM
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