1. CONSIDER AN ACCENT WALL
A great approach is to paint one accent wall to give the small room more depth, as it hinges entirely on contrast by comparison. Some designers say a dark accent wall in a room painted otherwise light can work magic for a small space. But how does a dark accent wall make a room feel bigger?
2. KEEP IT LIGHT
Your first instinct to take a small, dark room and paint it white may not necessarily be the worst idea to make it feel as big and bright as possible. 'Tones such as cream, off-white or beige are great to use in interiors, to open up spaces as these do not have the dark visual weight of organic browns or the clinical quality of a pure white,' says,' Jarret Yoshida, a Brooklyn brownstone interior designer. 'Cream or beige is that warm background color that provides us with the idea of the blank slate and warmth.'
3. OR GO DARK
Rather than fighting the natural characteristics of a small, dark room, many interior designers are now leaning in to embrace the darkness for a more dramatic, less apologetic space 'Lean into the cozy factor,' suggests Jamie Gasparovic, owner and principal designer at Studio Gaspo. 'Pick a darker, moodier shade and paint the walls, trim, and ceiling the same color. It creates such a vibe in the room, and is a very intentional way to elevate the design of a small room with paint.'
4. PAINT A WHITE CEILING WITH DARK WALLS
When you're trying to make a small room feel bigger, your ceiling is a good place to start. It can be hard to get to grips with what effect a painted ceiling can have on your space. If dark colors draw a room in, for example, surely you should always paint a ceiling white, no? With the right color on the walls, this is a tried and trusted trick. 'For low ceilings, going dark on the walls and then painting the ceiling a light color will make the room feel airier and the walls taller,' says Lane.
5. DON'T SHUN COLOR
The idea of keeping it simple in a small room might sound appealing, but according to interior designers Jenna Choate-James and Mariana Ugarte of Interior Fox, more vibrant paint color ideas can be a useful tool in changing your perception of a room. 'The use of a bold pop of color in a small space will make it feel ten times larger,' the designers explain, 'especially when carried onto the ceiling. The color adds depth to your walls when oftentimes our clients think the opposite.'
6. SKEW PERSPECTIVE WITH HALF PAINTED WALLS
If you're considering a half-painted wall, whether it's just with paint, or combined with wall paneling or wainscoting, it's important to know how the height you choose will affect how you perceive the dimensions of the room. According to interior designer Rudolph Diesel, the key is to keep the color bottom heavy.
7. CAMOUFLAGE AWKWARD ARCHITECTURE
Small rooms often come with other drawbacks related to their compact footprint, but ones that might also be able to be remedied with paint. 'Awkward architectural elements can be minimized with paint too,' suggests Lane. 'For instance, that awkward corner fireplace that seems misaligned or maybe has unattractive tile will disappear if you paint the wall around it a similar color to the tile.'
8. MATCH YOUR WALL COLOR WITH YOUR FURNITURE
Many of the ideas surrounding small rooms link back to the idea of color drenching, even when it comes down to choosing the furniture to match your room's color palette. 'People are looking for a bright feel to their homes, but want the painting and lighting to feel warm, cozy, and inviting,' says interior designer Jennifer Davis. 'To go lighter, cleaner, and warmer, it's best to color the furniture and walls the same tone.'
9. PAINT THE DOORS AND TRIM
The big question is – should doors be painted the same color as the walls? The answer is probably yes if you're dealing with a small space. It all comes down to reducing the visual clutter of a room, and by painting the doors, trims, and more the same as the walls, you can stop these elements from overpowering the room.
10. CONSIDER REFLECTIVE PAINT FINISHES
A more reflective paint finish can help a small space not only feel a little brighter but give it more of a sense of depth, too. However, don't go reaching for the gloss paint right away, says Rudolph. 'Semi-gloss paint can help reflect light into the space but not highlight any imperfections,' Rudolph explains. Or, consider an even bolder approach. 'Consider metallic paint or wallpaper on the ceiling too for a little reflective element that makes the eye feel like the sun is shining down,' suggests Lane.
11. PAINT THE CEILING THE SAME AS THE WALLS
When you're trying to make a small room feel bigger, a good approach is with a painted ceiling and walls. A dark color can create a jewel box effect, and make the space feel cocooning and welcoming.