How to make a room feel larger with paint

How to make a room feel larger with paint

There are lots of variables when it comes to the feeling of space in your home. The shape of the room, the height of the ceilings, the size of the windows, the colour schemes, and the furniture, flooring and accessories.

Houses that were built in the Victorian and Edwardian eras usually have high ceilings in the main living areas and they may have larger windows, as the sash styles were needed to cool and brighten rooms before technology stepped in. Modern homes tend to have wider rooms but they are more like to feature smaller windows (unless Bifolds are fitted, of course!) and usually have lower ceilings, which can make sometimes make a room feel a bit darker and smaller.

A common question we are asked at Zhoosh is, how to I make my room feel larger with paint?

There are a few ways your choice of colour, finish and design can help with this.

Colour palette

The traditional approach to making a room feel larger is been to go for pale paint colours: they reflect the light better and lift the space. We would suggest that in particularly small rooms it does make sense to make more of the walls paler colours, but if you are looking to include a contrast colour anywhere, choose a wall opposite a window: it will still have more light bounce onto it and actually provide depth and contrast that will work to exaggerate the paler walls.

Colour washing or drenching

How you apply your colours can also make a difference. Traditional white skirting boards and cornices look very smart but in some rooms, they can make the walls actually seem shorter: if you think about it, they are in effect cutting off the height of the wall. By continuing with the same colour on the skirting and architraves, the eye naturally carries the full length and width of the walls. No white to break it up can make a wall - and therefore the room - feel larger, and naturally lighter. This is known as colour washing and you can even paint your radiators the same colour using specialist metal paint in the same shade.

Lighter top section

Using a different paint colour in the top section of a wall (traditionally the section above a picture rail in older homes) can give a feeling of height, if it is the same colour as the ceiling as it make the ceiling feel larger and higher. It doesn’t have to be white: sometimes a paler shade of the colour on the walls can work really well in providing a feeling of flow while adding a brighter layer that naturally draws the eye upwards.

Different finishes

Creating a border or trim with a different paint effect can naturally add depth or height to a room, as again, the eye naturally follows it. Creating a mid level border or trim from the same colour paint but with an eggshell finish can work really well -  it reflects the light more than the matt colour on the majority of the wall so can create what almost looks like a moving point of interest.

It’s a well-known fact that light is good for us. Exposure to natural light helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, improves our circadian rhythms and sleep patterns, helps us to focus, enables us to get more done, and even makes us happier. So it’s understandable that we are always looking at ways of making our homes feel lighter and larger, whatever their size. By using your paint creatively, you can help in this - adding more than just colour and actively creating a home that is relaxing and mindful.