How to Use Color Paint to Add Depth & Width to Rooms

Use the right colors to change a room's appearance.
Use the right colors to change a room's appearance. (Image: Gary Houlder/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Paint provides the easiest way to transform a room, and usually one of the least expensive. By following some easy designer tips, you can totally change the feel of any space. Paint can help you warm up a cold space or enlarge an undersized room. You can give the impression of taller walls or visually bring down the height of a too-tall ceiling. And it’s an easy fix if you don’t like the results when you’re done. Be bold, be creative and make your space your own.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measures
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Camera
  • Ruler

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Assess the room you want to transform. Measure the length of the walls and the height of the ceiling. Note the number of windows and the direction they face. Draw a floor plan of your space.

Lighten a small or dark room by using soft creams and pastel colors. Choose a paint sheen in a satin or semi-gloss finish to reflect the available light.

Paint large horizontal stripes on a wall to make the room seem wider. For best results, use two shades from the same color family. Paint stripes that are at least 12 inches tall.

Choose a darker color paint for two opposite walls to add depth to a room. Stay within the same color family.

Balance a long, narrow room by painting the two short walls opposite each other in a darker color than the shade on a long walls.

Striping your walls vertically will help make lower ceilings appear taller. Make the stripes at least 8 inches wide so the room won’t appear too busy.

Bathe your ceiling in a darker hue than the walls to make a room with very high ceilings seem cozier. For extremely high ceilings, bring the darker color down the walls about a foot from the ceiling.

Tips & Warnings

  • Photograph your room during the day and at night to help assess what you'd like to change.
  • For best results, choose colors that are similar to each other on a paint strip. For example, use a soft cream with a hue two shades darker for techniques that require two colors.

References

  • Decorative Painting and Faux Finishes; Sharon Ross and Elise Kinkead; 2004
  • New Color Schemes Made Easy; Rebecca Jerdee; 2008
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