Do you want to make your living room, bedrooms and kitchen just that bit bigger, without all the hassle of knocking up an extension? Trust us, you can! There’s no need to bash down walls and splash out on an extension, when you can create the illusion of more space with a simple layer or two of paint. It’s a quick fix that works out much cheaper, while reaping the same benefits as physically larger rooms.
Use our guide below to find out how you can make your room look bigger with paint, and totally change how you feel about your home.
Making a room look bigger starts with decluttering, putting furniture in its rightful home and letting as much light in as possible.
Your first step is to break out your inner Marie Kondo, and get rid of as much of your stuff as you can, anything which is gathering dust or doesn’t bring you joy. Use storage baskets to keep clutter hidden and keep surfaces clear. Position your furniture flush against the walls, leaving plenty of floor space visible.
Place a large frameless mirror opposite your window. This will help the light bounce around your room. More light means an airier, more open space. Your curtains should be light, plain and pulled back to reveal as much of the window as possible.
Having a smooth, polished floor is also a great way to make a room look bigger. Though this can be an expensive process, either sanding or varnishing your current wooden floor or laying laminate flooring gives a reflective surface to distribute light around the room.
These are all great tricks to make a room look bigger, but the most impactful change you can make is to paint the room.There are several painting techniques to make a room look bigger. Using light colours, selecting the correct tone, painting the woodwork and ceilings, and strategically painting specific walls, will all improve your space. Now it’s time to take a look at each of these in a little more depth.
Choose light colours
When thinking about paint colours for small rooms, the rule is to go light. This isn’t a revolutionary idea, but the reason it’s stuck around for so long is because it actually works.
Walls that are painted with a paler shade produce a reflective effect, bouncing light from wall to wall. Natural, white light responds especially well in rooms with lighter walls.
You might think that ‘pale’ is a vague description, so we’ll be more specific. When we say pale, we mean light neutrals and pastels or, at its simplest, white and off-whites. Our Screenshot shade is a prime example, a flawless, pure white with great coverage. If you’re looking for an off-white shade, then Low- Salt is a must.
If you don’t want white, you can still embrace your favourite colour, but just opt for the paler shade. Safe Play is a warm sandy neutral, Pampas is a light putty, Sweatpants is a delicate grey, and Humble is a neutral sand beige – all great picks to perfect the pale look.
Low salt by @cicelyandparker.
And cool colours
The tone of the paint you choose is just as important as the colour. Cool colours are best for making small rooms look bigger, and you should be able to spot warm and cool colours instantly while you browse. Red, orange, and yellow are warm colours, whereas blue, grey and some purples are cooler. It all gets a little more complicated when a cool colour, such as blue, has a warm undertone, like red, or if a green shade is tinted with yellow, making it a warming tone overall. It’s important to be aware of this, because the undertones of the paint can influence the feel of the space and can make colours fail to “go” together.
Paint tones affect all colours but are more impactful in neutral shades. Cream, taupe and greige are so pale that their undertones are more obvious. How much blue, or red, or yellow that went into the base of the paint can completely change its tone.
To work out if your chosen colour is the right tone you need to grab a few of our Peel & Stick Swatches in different shades. By placing them next to each other you’ll be able to spot the undertones. When trying to work out the tone of a neutral, hold it against white.
Choose the colours and tones which are the coolest to make your room feel lighter, airier and bigger.
Pick the perfect finish
Each of these finishes react differently with light and affect how the light works in your room. Choosing the right one is essential to get a perfect coat of paint, and to help your room look bigger.
For example, a Flat Matt paint absorbs the light in the room. It’s great to have a uniformed consistent colour, which Flat Matt offers, but it’s not a reflective surface. When you’re looking to make a room look bigger, this paint is probably one to avoid.
Soft Sheen, however, does reflect light. It provides a gentle, classy finish which is not only hardwearing but perfect for making a room look bigger. The walls appear to have a gentle shine, almost unnoticeable, but enough to make the light work hard in your room.
Quick tip: Eggshell is what you’d use for woodwork, such as skirting boards. It’s long lasting, wipe clean and modern.
Paint your trim
You’ve got two great options with woodwork and windowsills to make your room look bigger.
Sticking to a bright Pure White Eggshell is traditional on your skirting boards, window sills and door architrave. In fact, they’re probably already white. Simply painting a fresh coat of white paint will give you a clean, bright, reflective surface. Make sure you give them a good wipe first, and a light sanding before painting them.
Another painting trick to make your small room seem larger is to paint all the wood in your room the same colour as your walls. Reject the traditional white and go for colour. The seamless transition from wall to wood means the eye can’t pick out any hard edges of the room, and the room will look bigger as a result.
Not only do you get a beautiful fresh space, but you'll miss out on all the tricky cutting in around the edges. By painting it all the same light colour you’ll save time and effort and achieve a designer look, all while making your room look bigger.
Get creative with your paint
A classic painting technique for a small room is to strategically paint the walls.
Sometimes this is called a feature wall, where one wall is one colour, but the others are a lighter shade. You can do this simply because you like two colours, but you can actually make a room look bigger by choosing which wall you make a feature.
For example, if your room is narrow it can feel like a corridor. To make the room feel wider paint the smaller walls a slightly darker colour. This draws the walls in and will make the room look more in proportion.
If your ceilings feel low, you can use paint to make your ceilings appear higher. Try painting the top quarter of the walls a lighter colour. Traditionally, this would be called a picture rail, but you don’t need to add the wooden rail. Having a clean, sharp horizontal line around the top of your room will give you a stylish focal point.
Take the lighter colour from the upper quarter of the wall right up onto the ceiling. A painted ceiling is a super popular trend and it creates a sense of consistency in the room. It also conceals the line between the wall and the ceiling, making the wall blur into the ceiling.
Decorate with vertical stripes
Some other painting techniques for small rooms include using masking tape to create vertical stripes. This makes the room look taller and the ceilings look higher. You could use wider stripes, or thinner ones, or create a pinstripe look. Use two complementary neutral shades to create your stripes.
Match Walls And Ceilings
Another way you can strategically apply colour is by mirroring the colours of the ceiling and the floor. This technique makes the room look wider, and works best when the walls are very light.
If you have a cream carpet, you could paint the ceiling cream too. Or, if you had a pale grey painted floor, you could paint the ceiling pale grey to match. There is a risk this will make the ceilings look lower, so this technique would work best in rooms with high ceilings.
Blend it all in
When you want to make a small room look bigger, you should aim to create the perception of one clear, uncluttered space.
Carefully consider what is on your walls and if you can paint it the same colour as the wall colour. This works for shelving, radiators, small pieces of furniture and even light switches. With this technique, nothing stands out or takes attention away from the expanse of space.
Quick tip: You can use Eggshell paint for both metal and wood surfaces. Make sure you use the right paint for the surface you’re painting. Give everything a clean and/ or a light sand before you apply a new coat of paint.