How to Paint a Room to Make It Look Bigger

by Robin Hewitt Google
Deep colors make a room seem smaller.

Deep colors make a room seem smaller.

A small room can appear cramped and boring, but sometimes you have to live with what you have. You can make a room appear larger by using paint to create optical illusions that open up a room and make it feel airy and comfortable. Combined with a few other decorating tricks, you can transform a cramped room in a weekend with a minimum of cost and effort. All you need is an understanding of how colors work to choose your room-enlarging palette.

Step 1

Visit a paint or home improvement store for color samples and examples of color combinations for smaller rooms. Often it's hard to picture what you're trying to do, and seeing it in a photo will help you bring your ideas together.

Step 2

Choose light and airy colors such as creams, whites, soft or icy blues and pale greens and yellows for the main wall colors. These hues will expand the room and make it feel more spacious.

Step 3

Consider painting the trim and borders a lighter shade than the walls. This will make them appear to "fade" backward and give the walls a more fluid look.

Step 4

Arrange your paint colors so that the darker shades are nearest the floor; if your ceilings appear low, paint them a bright white to give the illusion of height.

Step 5

Emphasize a focal point wall by painting it a different color that complements the other three walls. This will draw the eyes to that wall when people enter the room and make the room seem longer.


  • Minimize the size of furniture, and choose furniture that is the same color as the walls.
  • Remove extra pieces in the room that you don't need and remove all clutter.
  • Utilize natural light by hanging sheer drapes on the windows and add lighting to make the room brighter.
  • Hang fewer (or no) pictures on your walls to make them look bigger.


  • If you are renting your home, always check with the landlord before painting any room.

About the Author

Robin Hewitt began her writing career in 2008. She is the coauthor of several books, including "The Joyous Gift of Grandparenting," which covers the nutritional and fitness needs of both grandchildren and grandparents.

Photo Credits

  • MorgueFile