Paint Ideas for Small Rooms


Adding paint is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to change the look of a room. However, with small rooms, proper paint choice and paint style are critical to making the limited space appear bigger and more comfortable. Below are a few paint ideas and tips for small rooms, but before you dive into any paint project, consider getting paint samples and cards from your local hardware or paint store to test the colors on the walls before you paint your space.

Using Solid Colors in Small Rooms

  • There is some truth to the idea that painting a room dark colors will make it appear smaller, but don't avoid dark colors entirely when painting small rooms. Dark colors often camouflage edges, shadows, and therefore depth perception; therefore use them in moderation. Use dark colors in combination with light and medium colors. Create a dynamic look by using light tones for trim, medium to medium-light tones for walls, and dark colors for accent walls or doors. Use paint from a similar palette for the walls and trim and use a contrasting color for the accent color. For example, combine cream trim with sage green walls and a fire-engine red accent, or off-white trim with light blue walls and a chocolate-brown accent for paint schemes that pop with color and combine light, medium, and dark.

    To create the visual illusion of a larger space, continue a solid color throughout multiple rooms or areas in your home.

Creating Depth with Paint in Small Rooms

  • Creating depth in your small space will make it appear larger. Paint horizontal stripes around a space to draw the viewer's eye around the room. Use a wide continuous stripe that stretches around all walls of the room to create a sense of depth. The wide stripe will make the room appear longer, as it draws your eye forward.

    For rooms with multiple colors, use colors from the same color palette (for example, cream, tan, and chocolate brown) to create depth while maintaining a cohesive look. Layer your colors by using glazes or faux finishes such as stripe painting, antiquing, and leather finishes to create depth and texture in your small room.

Using Patterns When Painting Small Rooms

  • Patterns such as geometric and organic shapes can be used in two distinctly different ways when painting a small room: to create cohesion within a space or to break up a space. Repeat the same or similar paint pattern on the walls of the room or spaces you want to create cohesion between and use different paint patterns or an alternating display of paint patterns and white space for areas you want to create distinctions between. When working with patterns, use soft neutral tones that coordinate with your furniture to avoid overpowering the furniture and putting too much emphasis on the walls, which will create the illusion of a smaller space.

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