White has always been the fall-back color for smaller rooms because of the age-old advice that it makes a room appear larger. While white does create its own sort of optical illusion in a room, you don’t have to be bound by it as your only color choice.
Whether you’re painting a small half-bath, a well-loved mudroom or a small, studio apartment, don’t be afraid to experiment with color or shade.
Use Color to Add Focus
Accent walls have been staples in interior design for a while, but they are incredibly useful in giving the illusion of space in a small room. Consider adding in a darker color, like our Midnight Magic to one of the walls in your room. Choose a wall that you want to make a focal point, such as the wall a stunning fireplace mantel is on or where your favorite piece of art is placed. The darker tones will make the wall look like it’s receding, thereby tricking the eye into thinking the room is larger.
Play with Different Shades and Tones
Choose a wall color that you absolutely love, and then paint your trim in a much lighter shade. Lighter trim color gives the eye a sense that the wall is actually farther back than it appears, which makes the overall room seem larger. Don’t be afraid to paint your walls with a beautiful, jewel toned green, like our Atlantic Waves, and then opt for a lighter shade, like Sweet Ariel, as the trim color.
Paint Accents Rather Than Walls
If you have stunning built- in bookcases or a set of tall pocket doors, experiment with adding color to those accents rather than your walls as a way to create visual interest and expand the space even more. Even if you paint your walls with a white, flat finish, you can give yourself the flexibility to paint with dark colors (even almost black!) to punctuate the space.
Or, in a smaller kitchen, try painting your shelves a darker color than your walls to bring energy to an otherwise cramped space.
Always Keep it Cohesive
No matter what color you choose to paint your small room, always consider how each room leads into the next. It’s important to consider the entire color palette of your home versus thinking of each room separately. A stark change in color from room to room will segment the space and give the feeling that the rooms are small.
Find Colors that Grab Light
It’s true that darker colors tend to soak in light, whereas white will help the light bounce around the room. In smaller rooms, grabbing the light is key to giving the space a feeling of openness. However, you don’t always have to commit to entirely white rooms. Experiment with cheerful, bright colors like yellow (we’re dying to see Lemon Surprise painted in a powder room!) or even pastel colors. If your floors are darker in tone (think hardwood floors or dark tile), your eye will naturally float upwards to the brighter colors.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Stop by for a few samples of paint colors you’re hoping to try, or request a design consultation to have one of our interior designers put together a concept board of colors we know will work in your space. We’re always here to help make your small space come alive.