Where Does Color Start and Stop in Large Rooms

Large rooms and open floor plans top the list of many homeowners’ wish lists. Open floor plans are great for family gatherings and entertaining, but can present some challenges when it comes to choosing color.

Should I use light or dark colors in a large space? Do all my walls need to be the same color? How can I introduce an accent color?

These choices can seem daunting, but before you make any bold (or boring) color choices, pay close attention to these tips from Hirshfield’s Mark Masica:

Generally speaking, the larger the area the more color it can handle. Light plays equal importance when considering the use of a more saturated color (both daylight & artificial light). Mark recommends not using a color past the midtone range unless you have good light.

With large, open spaces, it is best to start with a more neutral color then break it up with accent colors to add definition to rooms. Whether you choose to accent an area with paint or wallpaper the “rules” are the same. The wall simply must look like it should be accented. This is most often achieved via the design of the home. A great example would be a “floating” wall that perhaps partially divides the kitchen from the living space. Another example would be if there is a “thrust” wall surrounding a fireplace. Bottom line is the wall must look like it should naturally be a different color or be wallpapered. Gone are the days when one would just pick a wall and paint it a different color. Today, you have to have a logical reason why you’ve chosen that wall to accent.

The accent color or wallpaper should echo something already present in a space. This could be an area rug, artwork, an accent chair, some accessories… just so the accent color is linked to some element existing in the space. You want to avoid the feeling that you just chose a color for an accent that doesn’t relate to the space in some manner. Try to make the color look like it is part of the overall plan, not just a different color for the sake of being different.

So don’t let your large space intimidate you. Tackle with thoughtful consideration to color and accents, and remember, Hirshfield’s is always there to help with color choices and design inspiration.



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