Visually Expanding Small Spaces with Paint

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Frustrated over small rooms but you don’t have the budget to renovate? Did you know you could alter the size of any room with paint? Apart from breathing new life to old spaces, the right combination of colors can create the illusion of space. It fools the eye into making even the smallest space seem larger. Below are tricks to create the illusion of space using paint:

Same-Color Scheme

Make any small room feel so much larger by using just one color to paint the walls and ceiling. This fools the eye to travel continuously in the space. Usually, the eyes stop at the line where the colors change. By using a single color scheme, you can remove these lines. The space seems to flow continuously, making any room seem bigger than it really is.

Also, if you have a small home, try painting adjoining rooms with the same colors. This way, the eyes will continuously move from room to room without stopping at lines or borders.

Same Color on Walls and Trims

Again, you want to remove lines that make the room smaller. So paint the walls and the trim with the same color. The trim should blend well into the wall and not attract the eyes. When the trim is lighter in color and the walls are darker, the eyes are drawn to the edges or borders. But if the trim is the same color as the walls, these edges or borders are eliminated. The space will then feel more expansive.

Using Deeper Colors

Traditionally, dark colors are used to make a space look smaller. You can play with darker colors to alter the shape of the room. For example, if you have long, narrow space, paint the ends of the walls with color that’s a shade or two darker than other walls. Visually, this will bring the space in. It creates the illusion of a square-shaped room.

You can also dress up bare walls with different colors above the space and darker color below the space. This is a great technique to dress up very large bare walls.

Adding Patterns

Certain patterns help give the illusion of space. Stripes are a great example. Painting vertical stripes will elongate the walls. It will make the room feel larger. If you want to make the space feel longer, paint with horizontal stripes instead. To up the ante, paint vertical stripes in the same color family as the walls. This will exaggerate the height of the room.

You want to use a flat base color as one stripe. Then, tape off the alternating stripes. Paint in a satin version of the base coat color.

Highlighting and Downplaying Room Features with Paint

Apart from altering the size and height of a room, using paint could also disguise certain elements in a space. Colors could re-direct the eyes from parts of the room you usually cannot get rid of – such as AC vents or heating vents. Just paint over these room features with the same wall paint color. These “eyesores” will blend in, making them less noticeable.

You can highlight certain features of a room by using contrasting colors. For instance, you can highlight a unique ceiling by painting your walls a different color. The eyes will automatically travel to the highlighted areas of the room.


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