Paint color is probably the most important factor in giving small spaces a larger appearance, so use it to your advantage. But how do you know which colors will bring you the results you want? Decorators know how color can change a room. Colors can make us feel calm or energized, happy or sad, edgy or relaxed. They can affect the mood of a room as well, making it seem open and airy or small and cozy.
Do what decorators do—choose a word to describe your favorite style, like "seaside", "sunny" or "peaceful," and come up with colors to match. Then use the Color Selection Tool on TrueValuePaint.com to see how your color choices look in different rooms.
Visit the paint department of your local store to find Idea Cards with the latest colors and palettes. Experiment with different color combinations—even ones you've never considered—by sticking them on different walls to see how they look at different times of the day.
Warm colors, like red, orange and yellow advance (come forward) so walls feel closer and rooms feel smaller. Darker colors also have this effect. A better choice is to use cool colors, like pastels, whites and neutrals, lighter blues and greens. These colors give the impression of receding or moving away, making rooms seem larger and more open. However, if you have your heart set on a yellow (warm colored) room, select a washed-out, lighter tint. Light and brightly colored walls are more reflective, making a space seem more open, which helps maximize the effect created by natural light. See Step 2.
If you want to use several colors in your room, it will appear larger if you choose hues of the same saturation (intensity), no matter if they're pale or bright. To determine similar intensity, look for colors similarly positioned on their individual color swatch strips. This creates the illusion of space because similar levels of saturation seem to flatten out, with no distracting focal points to spoil the effect.
Another effective space-creating choice is a monochromatic color scheme, which uses different tints and shades of one color family, like light, medium and dark blue. To heighten the effect, paint trim and doors to match the walls and add matching tone-on-tone fabrics and textures to your furnishings.
Small, square rooms look larger if you paint two opposite walls the same color, especially one that's deep and dark. This is because the intensity of color will create depth in the room and visually open up its dimensions.
A white ceiling creates the impression of a higher ceiling.
For tips on how to best paint a room, see the project “Paint a Room.”