Trying to decorate a small space? Then you’re probably wondering what colors make the room look bigger.
And…is it even possible to make a room look bigger or smaller by simply changing up its color scheme?
Yes! You can absolutely use paint or wallpapers to visually expand your space — without having to build a new extension on your home.
Changing up your colors can change a room immediately. Color is powerful, and using it the right way can make transforming your room easy, fun, and affordable.
If you want a room to look bigger, you’ll need to use colors that can create the illusion of space.
You can contrast and coordinate your colors to give a room a geometric perspective, which gives the appearance of being bigger than it is and can make some rooms appear larger than others.
Moving on… Which colors work best to make a room look bigger?
Let us answer that question for you!
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Top Color Recommendations
We’ll dive into everything else shortly, but first I wanted to get right to it — the top ten colors that make the room look bigger.
1. Light Gray: Sherwin Williams Passive | Benjamin Moore Gray Owl
2. Blue-Green: Benjamin Moore Sea Foam | Sherwin Williams Window Pane
3. Light Blue: Benjamin Moore Breath of Fresh Air | Sherwin-Williams Atmospheric
4. White: Sherwin Williams High Reflective White | Benjamin Moore Super White
5. Blush Pink: Benjamin Moore First Light | Sherwin Williams Blushing
6. Navy: Benjamin Moore Hale Navy | Sherwin Williams Storm Cloud
7. Taupe: Benjamin Moore Smokey Taupe
8. Black: Sherwin Williams Black Magic
9. Violet: Sherwin Williams Veiled Violet
10. Pastels: Benjamin Moore Sea Foam | Benjamin Moore Rainforest Dew
Colors That Can Make Your Room Look Bigger
Now, let’s dig a little deeper into each of those ten colors.
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For your convenience, I’ll include direct links to each of the color recommendations listed below.
The key to making gray work in your favor is to use it wisely. If you cover every wall with a dark gray, your space could end up looking small and cramped.
Instead, consider selecting a light, airy gray paint color for your small space. Here are a couple suggestions.
Best Light Gray: Sherwin Williams Passive | Benjamin Moore Gray Owl
Green makes us think of nature, and we associate nature with openness and space. This is why so many spas have green walls.
Light blue-green gives us a sense of openness without overwhelming us with too much color, which could feel confining if used in an already-small space.
Best Blue-Green: Benjamin Moore Sea Foam | Sherwin Williams Window Pane
Blue is another color that makes us think of open skies and expansiveness. Pale blue is soothing and, when paired with white, can evoke a relaxing, spa-like feel.
Best Light Blue: Benjamin Moore Breath of Fresh Air | Sherwin-Williams Atmospheric
White is classic. It has been used as a go-to for interiors since the beginning of time for this very reason — it never fails to make a room feel open, light, and ready for anything.
Whether you’re working with an expansive space or a small one, a splash of white will remind you of how much potential there is when your room is a blank canvas.
Best White: Sherwin Williams High Reflective White | Benjamin Moore Super White
A soft pastel color like blush pink will help a room to feel larger. This is because dark colors absorb light, and light colors reflect it.
So when you paint a wall in blush pink, you’re using color to do what white alone can’t: Create dimension!
Best Blush Pink: Benjamin Moore First Light | Sherwin Williams Blushing
If you’re looking for a way to make the room look bigger while still giving off a cozy vibe, navy walls are perfect for you.
Because navy is so similar to black, it has all the same benefits as black walls while being a little more inviting. It also gives off a great deal of contrast when paired with white, creating dimension in a room.
Navy is particularly stunning with white trim around windows, doors, and flooring.
Best Navy: Benjamin Moore Hale Navy | Sherwin Williams Storm Cloud
Taupe comes from the French word for “mole,” which is a bit of an unfortunate name for this elegant and sophisticated shade.
Taupe comes in many different shades, ranging from pale beige and gray to brownish ochre. The paler shades are best for giving your room a modern, airy feel.
Taupe is also an easy color to work with, since it’s neutral and goes well with many other colors.
If you want to create a romantic atmosphere, stick with darker shades of taupe and pair them with reds and pinks. Or if you want an ultra-modern look, try accents of bright pink or green against pale taupe walls.
Best Taupe: Benjamin Moore Smokey Taupe
Really…black?! Black seems like the exact opposite of what you want to use in a small space, but if you choose the right shade, it can also give your room an expanded look.
It’s important to choose a soft black with plenty of gray tones to avoid making your room look too harsh or dark.
Black’s ability to absorb light is what makes it so good for expanding visually — because it absorbs light, it helps other colors around it pop more and appear bigger than they would without any black in the space.
So, yes — you can have black walls in a small space!
Best Black: Sherwin Williams Black Magic
Violet and other shades of purple are some of the best options for making your room look larger. Purple has been shown to have a calming effect on the mind, so it’s easy to feel at home in a dusty violet space.
Not only does it have an uplifting effect on your mood, but it also creates a visual illusion that makes rooms seem larger than they actually are.
Best Violet: Sherwin Williams Veiled Violet
Pastel colors are great because they’re light and soft, which gives the space an airy feel.
It can be a little intimidating to use pastels because people often associate them with kids’ rooms or nurseries. But that’s not really fair, especially when you consider that pastels are all over fashion and makeup these days.
Plus, there are so many different pastel colors out there, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for among the ready-made options, you can always have a custom color made.
(Just make sure you’ve gotten a good sense of what exactly you want before heading into the paint store.)
Best Pastels: Benjamin Moore Sea Foam | Benjamin Moore Rainforest Dew
Does Painting a Room All One Color Make It Look Bigger?
In short, yes, it can help make a small room look bigger. Here’s why.
When you paint a room one color, it draws the eye around the room in a single sweep, so your mind doesn’t have to take as much time to process what you’re looking at.
This makes the space feel like it’s moving faster.
It also means that your eye is less likely to be drawn to some part of the room over another — it will instead take in all of it at once — so your brain sees the whole space as one unit.
The effect is that you perceive the room as being larger than if there were two colors or more.
That’s not to say that you can’t make a small space look big with multiple colors. But when it comes down to making a room look spacious quickly and easily, painting everything one color is the simple way to do it!
What Colors Make a Room Look Smaller?
Color is incredibly important when it comes to setting the tone of a space. There are a few colors that can help make your home feel smaller, and we’re going to go over them here.
- Dark gray. It can make the walls of your room look closer together, which means the room will feel smaller.
- Brown. It has a way of shrinking things down, which makes it perfect for rooms that need a little help looking smaller.
Quick note on dark wood: The problem with wood is that too much of it can overwhelm a space and shrink its visual size. So while wood floors might be great in a larger living room or kitchen space, they can make a smaller bathroom or bedroom feel particularly cramped and closed off.
Should Ceilings and Walls Be the Same Color?
If you’re struggling with your home’s paint color, you’re not alone. Deciding what to do with your walls is a big decision and it can be hard to commit to something — especially if you’re not sure how it’ll look in the end.
One question that comes up a lot is this: Should your walls match your ceiling?
In other words, should they both be the same color? It’s a tricky one, so we asked a fellow expert for her advice.
Here’s what she said:
“I think that, in general, having all the vertical things (walls) be the same color and all the horizontal things (ceilings) be the same color creates a sense of cohesion and simplicity. You can also get really creative and do things like painting the walls white and using wallpaper on the ceiling (yes, really).
There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to painting; it’s all about finding what makes you feel good.”
Still not sure what to do? Head over to our list of pros and cons of painting your ceiling the same color as the walls.
If you want to make a room seem bigger, then you need to create visual fluidity, which means making the transition from wall to ceiling as smooth as possible.
Does your small room need a little help to make it look bigger? Which of these colors will you choose?
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