Selecting paint colors or a color scheme can be a real challenge. I wish I could tell you all you have to do is wave a magic wand and then you’re done. Sadly, my husband informed me that it doesn’t work that way. So, I’m here to tell you how to do it without your magic wand.


choosing paint colors

The best place to start is to write done a list of the colors you like and the colors you don’t like.

painting an open concept room


Free downloadable PDF at the bottom of the post to guide you through picking out the best paint colors for your open concept rooms.

Paint Open Concept

Free guide to choosing the best paint colors for an open concept rooms.

Color Can Alter Mood

Keep in mind that warm colors, such as reds and yellows make the walls appear to advance while cool colors, such as greens and blues make the walls appear to recede. Warm colors are easy-going, informal, and intimate. They also increase heart rate and create excitement.

Cool colors are refreshing, associated with formality. They recede away from the viewer giving the appearance that the walls are farther away than they actually are. These cool colors slow down heart rates and release mental tension.

Use a unified scheme of one color throughout the whole house to give a sense of continuity and make the house seem larger. Introduce some variety by using tints lighter and darker of the same color.

warm and cool paint colors

Warm Colors                                                                                                     Cool Colors

Color Schemes

It is important to not use lots of color schemes no matter how big or small the space is if you desire a sense of calmness and unity throughout your open concept where you can see multiple rooms all at one time.

Two color schemes that work well in larger spaces is a unified scheme or a positive/negative color scheme.

A unified color scheme using the same color throughout making the house appear larger and give the space a sense of continuity. Use lighter and darker tints of that color throughout your furnishings and add interesting textures. Feel free to switch up the accent colors that you use from each room.

open concept paint colors

The positive/negative color scheme uses a light wall color with a dark accent color and the adjoining room uses the opposite with a dark paint color and light accent colors. It is important to use the same colors to give the adjoining rooms a sense of continuity but use different amounts of those colors to give a sense of variety throughout. This color scheme, allows you to easily create a dramatic effect from room to room.


The Color Wheel

We can use the color wheel to help guide us to which paint colors go together and which colors do not. Looking at the color wheel allows us to see the relationship between colors. When you look at the color wheel there are primary colors, such as red, yellow, and blue. Evenly spaced between those colors are orange, green, and violet which are called secondary colors.

If you mix two adjacent colors it creates tertiary meaning third and quaternary meaning fourth colors.

Analogous colors are colors that are one main primary color with two adjacent colors on either side of the primary color. Analogous colors work well together because they are so closely related.

Then there are complementary colors which are colors that are opposite each other, such as blue and orange. If you use complementary colors it is important to use different proportions of each color and not equal amounts as this can cause tension in the room.

Color Wheel

Image by aekikuis /

Color Schemes to Choose From

One Neutral Color: For this option, you could use one color or different tints of one color.

paint kitchen


Two Opposite Colors: Use complementary colors, which are two colors opposite each other on the color wheel, such as blue and orange. Be sure to use more of one color and less of the other color.

complementary colors

Tiger Color

complementary paint colors


Three Closely Related Colors: The analogous color scheme is 3 colors with one primary color and the two secondary colors that lay on either side of the primary color.

analogous colors

Tiger Color

analogous color scheme


Three Almost Related Colors: A split-complementary is one main color then draw an imaginary line to its complement and select the color to the right and to the left of the complementary color.

split complementary

Tiger Color

blue and orange living room


Three Equally Separated Colors: A triad color scheme is when you use 3 colors that are equally spaced apart on the color wheel. For example, red, yellow, and blue.

triad color scheme

Tiger Color

violet, orange, green, roomTriad Color Scheme

Open Concept Paint Colors

The greater the area that you need to paint the lighter the color should be.

Typically floors should be the darkest surface, with the walls a medium color, and the ceiling being the lightest color. However, if your open concept has too high ceilings you can paint the ceiling darker to visually lower the ceiling.

living room high ceilings

Paint Color Tips

Painting tips to keep in mind when choosing your paint colors:

  • If you want to make the room appear larger use light, cool colors and paint all surfaces the same color.
  • To make a room feel cozy use medium tints and warm neutrals.
  • To make the ceiling appear higher use white paint.
  • If your ceilings vary in height don’t be afraid to use different colors.


picking paint colors

Painting an open concept room may sound overwhelming. It may have even paralyzed you into not picking up a paintbrush. With your new found knowledge and ideas to picking out your paint colors for an open concept, it’s time to start picking out some paint color samples and giving them a try.


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