Bedroom by Lopez-Fotodesign

Using colour to make your small rooms feel bigger

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan

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In a small space, everything counts – which is why it is so important to think twice about what you bring into it. Small rooms tend to feel confining and uncomfortable quite quickly, which is why we opt for certain home furnishing choices and touch-ups to fool the eye into making those interiors seem much more spacious than they really are. 

But forget about hanging mirrors and cancelling out curtains (although those tips work too), for today we focus more on which can of paint to take home with you. 

Hot pink? Seafoam green? Let’s see which colours can make that small room seem bigger.

Whites that are warm

White is genius at making a room feel bigger, but don’t start colouring every single surface white. A sunless day can turn that entire room into a cold setting, making those pure white surfaces seem clinical and uninviting. 

Rather go for whites with a warmer base – they will still help to reflect the light, albeit with a softer feel.

homify hint: Add some texture to stop that room from looking like a blank page. Panelled walls, knitted throws, textured pillows, and timber furniture are just some of the essentials you can use.

Beautiful in blue

International Prop Award Winner-Best Interior Design Singapore 2013:  Bedroom by Design Intervention
Design Intervention

International Prop Award Winner-Best Interior Design Singapore 2013

Design Intervention

Colour psychology (yes, it’s a thing) tells us that cool shades (blues, greens, etc.) recede, while warm tones (like reds and oranges) advance. Thus, picking a cool blue paint can visually push back a room’s walls, making it seems more spacious. 

homify hint: Worried that room might seem too cool? Add some warmth with a soft pink/peach by using it as accent tones on upholstery and soft furnishings (scatter cushions, rug, etc.).

Heavenly heather

New Ceylan Wallpaper ref 4400073:  Walls & flooring by Paper Moon
Paper Moon

New Ceylan Wallpaper ref 4400073

Paper Moon

Powder-soft shades are the adult alternatives to pastels. So by picking out a nice heather tone for those walls, your room is guaranteed to look (and feel) more opened up. 

homify hint: Bring in vertical stripes to accentuate the height of those walls.

Sunlight shades

Dark corners are never trendy, and if that window’s natural light doesn’t reach it, a bucket of paint is your other option. Opt for some sunny shades of yellow to brighten up those light-starved areas.

Speak to your painting professional about using a paint that has a matt finish, but includes light-reflecting particles so that the natural daylight can bounce around the room. 

And always use the lightest tone for your ceiling.

Make it mint

Happiest when the skies are blue:  Kitchen by Alaris London Ltd
Alaris London Ltd

Happiest when the skies are blue

Alaris London Ltd

Need to space up that tiny kitchen? Go with a cool mint green for the cabinetry doors, and team that up with a pale-toned countertop to help reflect the incoming light. 

Stay away from busy wall tiles, instead opting for a simple off-white. Even better if you can include open shelves to elevate that spacious and open feeling.

Good to glow

Bold & Noble South Downs Wallpaper in Heron Grey:  Walls & flooring by Bold & Noble
Bold & Noble

Bold & Noble South Downs Wallpaper in Heron Grey

Bold & Noble

Neutral tones are always winners in smaller rooms, helping to set up a calm and tranquil vibe. But to add a bit more space-enhancing ambience, introduce a metallic finish wallpaper to help that reflecting light glow with positivity. 

Avoid a too-glitzy look by balancing the glows with some rustic touches, such as a natural wooden floor or raw timber furniture.

Daringly dark

 Kitchen by SAMF Arquitectos
SAMF Arquitectos

Caseiros House

SAMF Arquitectos

Don’t throw out those dark colours just yet; the trick is to use the same deep colour everywhere if you want to space up that small room. Walls, skirting boards, cabinetry, even the ceiling – colouring them all in the same deep tone will blur the boundaries of the room, tricking your eye into thinking it’s a wide and open space.

Deep blues (cobalt, admiral, navy) and rich greens (emerald, pine, basil) have proven to be very successful with this trick. 

We’re not done with hues just yet; improve your colour education with: 11 Psychological Room Colours Your Home Can Benefit From.

How have you used colour to alter a room’s size?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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