How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger Using Paint Colors
Many of us have small rooms in our homes. Fortunately it's easy to make a room look bigger and brighter using a little decorating know-how. We start with paint and color.
Painting with Color and Light to Make a Room Seem Larger
Tricks and tips to make small rooms look bigger and lighter
If you have one or more small rooms in your home or office that you wish were larger or brighter you are not alone. In many countries of the world space is now at a premium and the large and spacious rooms of the past are harder to find. City apartments often condense our living space into as small an area as possible, and even in the suburbs and beyond we have been forced to make do with less. Or maybe a new addition to the family has meant finding an extra room. Whatever the reason, it's useful to know how to make a small room look both bigger and brighter.
The first in this series of articles exploring ways to visually enlarge your room begins with using paint to create an illusion of light and space.
Article copyright ©WordCustard, June 2011, all rights reserved.
More in the Home Decor for Small Spaces Series
Paint Colors for Small Rooms
Let's start with the easiest change for most of us. Painting a small room to look bigger is one of the easiest tricks of all and will cost you only your time and a few cans of paint.
I bet you already know that a light color will create a bright and airy feeling in a room, and that a dark one will make it feel more enclosed. This is because lighter colors reflect more light, literally making your room brighter, while darker ones absorb more.
White reflects the most light but pure white can be a difficult color to get right in home decor. Too much white with no variation can make an environment seem clinical or harsh. In my own experience, painting a small room white made it look cheap and uncared for, as if I'd just moved into a hastily redecorated rental property.
Changing the paint shade to an ivory instantly made the room more elegant. This isn't to say that white is to be avoided in all homes. However, if you do go for stark white walls, accessorize your decor carefully. Light neutrals will help to make it feel like a home and not a hospital. Add warmth and interest with shades such as ivory, cream, pale gold, ecru, bleached-out blues and greens (think of seaside colors), and soft browns.
Which Scheme do You Prefer for Brightening a Room?
Pretty pastels and sherbet shades
White doesn't have to be your only paint choice. You can choose from a whole spectrum of pastel colors. Technically, pastels are tints, being colours that have been mixed with white, so they are still excellent choices for adding more light to a room.
Pastels are soft and soothing. They can make a room feminine and romantic, but don't make the mistake of thinking that decorating with pastels means going crazy with pink.
Soft blues and greens are modern and suit beachside and country cottage decors. You can team them with off-white to create that rustic charm, or with darker tones and woods for a contemporary look. Shades of lavender and lilac can be lovely for a bedroom, and lemon is a wonderful fresh color for a kitchen. Pale aqua is perfect for bathrooms and can look great in a modern kitchen too.
You can even create a two-tone scheme, ensuring that your palest color is on the darkest wall and reserving an accent color for naturally brighter areas of the room.
These days you can even buy special light-reflecting paint that has been enhanced to make a room even brighter. It contains tiny glass balls that bounce light back around the room.
More Ideas for Painting a Room to Look Bigger
Decorating with White from Country Living
Stylish interiors based on white. The images show how soft neutrals have been introduced to stop the rooms from looking stark and cold.
Getting White Right from YourHome.ca
Advice from the experts on making white look good in your home decor.
Decorating with Pastels from My Home Ideas
Gorgeous pastel color schemes from sugar pink to soft blue and lovely lemon.
Flickr images shared under Creative Commons licence -- mouseover images for credits. Article preview image courtesy morgueFile.
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