My current residential projects all, weirdly, involve the same major focus: creating color plans. The homeowners have lived in their homes for years with walls they’ve kept white or beige. They want to infuse their homes with new energy and better highlight furniture, art and favorite colors. It’s time to repaint!

Some challenges

With each paint color plan come similar challenges:

  • How to blend color room-to-room, when one room flows to another
  • Wall openings between rooms with different colors – where to stop the first color and start the second
  • How to handle ceilings that have bulkheads (a section of ceiling that has been dropped and boxed-in)

Some answers

Room to Room

Select colors that are the same shade, only lighter or darker. The eye travels easily room-to-room with versions of the same color. For different colors in adjoining rooms, make sure the intensity of each color is the same. That is if one room is a grayed version of green (sage), the blue room next door should be a grayed version of blue (a steel blue rather than a royal blue.)

Wall Openings

If your wall opening is an arched or rectangular opening that is not trimmed with molding that connects with an existing door, baseboard, window or crown molding trim, paint the inside of the opening the color of the room with the primary directional traffic flow. So, in a hallway with a wall opening to a kitchen that will be a different color, continue the hall color to the internal edge of the opening. Begin the kitchen color on the wall once inside the room. (See below.)

opening in walls



Often in loft spaces, powder rooms or spare bedrooms, there are areas of the ceiling that are dropped, forming bulkheads. If the walls in your room are painted a unique color and the ceiling is white, the question becomes, is the bulkhead the ceiling color or the wall color? The entire bulkhead – even the surface on the same plane as the ceiling – should be the room’s wall color.

Final Caveat

Armed with these suggestions, there is still nothing better than to “eyeball it” before painting is completed. Ask your painter to paint swatches in the transition areas so you can ensure your color flow choices are comfortable and pleasing.

Have Questions? Get In Touch.

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