This article appears in Spring Home & Garden 2018 magazine.
The color relationship between rooms matters — especially if your home features a fluid floor plan and guests can see from one room into another.
“Color coordination is something many people contend with because open floor plans have been on trend for quite a while,” said designer, TV host and author Vern Yip. “The problem becomes how to differentiate between rooms, or do you want to paint all the rooms the same color,” said the author of “Vern Yip’s Design Wise” and host of TLC’s “Trading Spaces,” premiering Saturday, April 7.
Painting may be the first thing to come to mind, but there are many other ways to tie rooms together, Yip said.
“Drapery, upholstery, throw pillows, art on the wall. Realize that you don’t have to change the color of the room to add distinct characteristics. You have other tools,” Yip said.
Accent with color
“Use the same accent color, repeated in different ways, in different rooms,” said designer Debbie Wiener, owner of Slob Proof Furniture in Chestertown, Maryland. A homeowner who wants a variety of beige, taupe and cream-colored neutral walls but loves lavender can add lavender in the living room with throw pillows, a vase or a picture frame, Wiener said.
In a master bedroom/bath suite, you could bring the color of the walls in the bedroom into the bathroom as accent tile or cabinet color, said Carla Aston, interior designer at Aston Design Studio, The Woodlands, Texas.
“If this was a living room/dining room that adjoined, the dining room wall color could be picked up in the living room as pillows, upholstery accents or even drapery treatments,” Aston said.
Pulling color through your home helps create interest and flow, said interior designer Jill Thomson, Jill Thomson Design, Las Vegas, Nevada. If you’re embracing trendy colors like millennial pink, bold reds and yellows or organic greens, Thomson recommends adding the color in subtle, inexpensive ways like accessories that are easy to replace or change when you tire of that color.
Another idea for creating flow would be to use a primary color in one room and using it again in the adjoining room, as an accent color, to tie them together, said Sue Wadden, director of color marketing with Sherwin-Williams.
Break the rules
“Many of our clients’ homes are open-plan spaces without boundaries from room to room. We find using a limited palette of colors can be a sure bet for a great look,” said interior designers Hector Romero and Chris Obeji, romero + obeji interior design, Long Beach, California. “For instance, try using all cool colors such as blues and greens and don’t be afraid to mix it up. Gone is the day when you’re forbidden from mixing hues, like black and navy. What about introducing avocado to kelly green? They’ll love each other!”
Paint the trim
“One great way to make spaces feel consistent is to use matching trim and other finishes, like doors and crown molding. Keeping the same paint or stain color on these accents will help the flow of the entire space, even if you opt for different wall colors in every room,” said Erika Woelfel, vice president of Color and Creative Services at Behr.
Avoid the amusement park
When every room is a new, rich color it can make your home look “like an amusement park,” Yip said. Instead, work with the same color tones but in shades. Make it easy by picking up a paint strip at the paint or hardware store that shows gradation from light to dark, he said.
That said, if you want one room that really stands out with a dramatic paint scheme, “that’s OK. That works,” Yip said.
Smooth tip: For a smooth transition always change color in an inside corner rather than an outside corner of a room, Yip said. Aston calls this the “sweet spot for a transition” as it gets rid of uneven edge and creates a “seamless approach to material changes.”