You just moved in and you couldn’t be more excited about your new place, there’s just one small thing… It’s, well, small. Whether it’s a new home with an awkwardly small dining room, or you’re renting and smashing down a wall to make your bedroom larger would be frowned upon, there are a ton of ways you can make a room feel larger with color.
Choosing your colors wisely
It’s no shock that dark colors make a small room seem smaller. White will absolutely make your room feel more spacious because it reflects light and tricks your eyes into thinking the room is larger than it actually is. But, painting a room entirely in white can be a bit much. Instead try cool tones, like Frosted Green, which seem to recede from the viewer while cool neutrals, like Parisian Eggshell, give the illusion of more space. Be careful with warm colors such as reds, oranges, and yellows. While they create a sense of comfort, they can also make a small space feel smaller if used too frequently. Browns and dark tans will do the same. If you love dark colors but have a small space try using them as accents. And remember neutral doesn’t mean just gray or beige anymore. Try playing with metallics like gold and silver as alternatives.
It’s also helpful to choose a color scheme before you start. The easiest is monochromatic, which uses several shades of one color. Complementary color schemes, which use colors opposite each other of the color wheel, will create more dramatic effects. A happy medium would be to pick three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. This usually includes two primary colors plus a secondary, such as such as blue, yellow and green.
There are a couple different ways to use stripes to make a room appear more spacious. Vertical stripes, if done correctly, draw the eye up and give length to the walls. Choose two shades of the same color, be careful not to go too dark, and paint the wall in alternating shades.
Horizontal stripes can play tricks on the eyes too. Choose a dark color and add two or three horizontal stripes around the room and it will appear longer. You can also break up the wall with a dark color on the bottom third. If you have dark furniture this a fantastic option because it will blend into the wall better.
If you aren’t too attached to your furniture or inherited some pieces that need a little TLC, painting them a lighter color is a very easy way to help them blend into the room and avoid looking large and clunky. If you have bookshelves painting them the same color as the wall will help them disappear.
More often than not small rooms have low ceilings, especially if in older houses. One way to make your ceilings look higher is by painting it a different color than the walls and extending the ceiling color onto the walls by about 6 inches. Again, make sure to choose a light, neutral color for this so it opens up the room rather than closing it in.
If redoing all the walls in a room seems too daunting create an accent wall instead. If you’re lucky enough to already have a light color on the walls, choose a dark color for an end wall. This is perfect for short rooms because it will make them appear longer. You can achieve the same effect using a light color on one of the shorter end walls if the room is already painted with dark colors.
Don’t forget the floors
Changing your floors is going to be much more time consuming and expensive than adding color to your walls, but don’t forget about them. Adding a light or neutral carpet over dark floors will contrast nicely and help tie the room together. If you’re floors are light adding a rich accent rug will give the room a cozier feeling. If you have an open floor plan, changing the the floor by just one shade makes it easy to separate the family room from the living room from the kitchen.
Don’t be afraid to add pops of color, after all you don’t want your house to look too cold and vanilla! The 60-30-10 rule is a good one to follo: 60% of a dominant color on the walls, 30% of a secondary color on furniture and 10% of an accent color. Choosing two accent colors for accessories will help make your home feel more pulled together as you go from room to room. Pulling inspiration from furniture or paintings you know you’re going to keep is one of the easiest ways to start to put together a new color scheme and will ensure that everything feels like it belongs once you finish.