6 Paint Colors That Make a Room Look Bigger

gif of 3 different paint swatches

Graphic by Cristina Cianci

Small rooms can be tricky to decorate. Beyond the simple issue of having to triple-measure furniture for size and crafting the best layout for your space, paint color can actually have a huge impact on how big or small your space feels—and this decision goes beyond pure color choices. Paint a room in a color that's on the darker side, and you may make a light-filled room feel smaller. But use a stark white paint color in a north-facing room, and you may end up with a classic "white box syndrome"—a sad white room with no personality.

There are a ton of variants that dictate which color you should choose for your small room, like the direction that the windows of your space are facing. Dark colors work best in north-facing rooms, while light ones will look better in bright south-facing spaces. Sunset hues can do wonders to a west-facing room, especially at dusk.

Ahead, find the top 6 paint colors that will make any room—of any size—look instantly larger.

One paint trick that never fails is to paint the ceiling, trim, and doors in the same color to give the impression of space.

Stark White

Paint Colors That Make a Room Look Bigger — Stark White
Courtesy of ASH NYC

Naturally, white is an obvious choice for making a room feel bigger. It's no secret that light colors make a room look larger, especially if the space is bathed in natural light. Eggshell or satin finishes will help reflect the light, creating the appearance of even more space. 

What's more, it works no matter your aesthetic or room type. Whether it's a modern kitchen, deco living room, or country-inspired bedroom, white is a great palette to begin your decor process.

Use this color in: South-facing rooms

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Soft Black

Paint Colors That Make a Room Look Bigger — Pitch Black
Courtesy of Tali Roth

Conversely to white, in a room with little to no natural light, white may not be the way to go. With no light bouncing off the walls, the color could have the opposite effect on your space. Lean into the lack of sun, though, and go fully into the dark realm.

Instead of white, a dark hue like charcoal or black will give the space an intimate feel while simultaneously giving it an appearance of grandeur—especially if the ceiling and trim are also painted in the same hue. 

Use this color in: North-facing rooms

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Light Taupe

Paint Colors That Make a Room Look Bigger — Light Taupe
Courtesy of Tali Roth

For those who aren't willing to go entirely white but still want a light neutral paint color for their room, a light taupe or greige can make a space feel large and elegant. It is still bright enough to allow the light to bounce off from one wall to another, but adds a touch of warmth that a true bright white doesn't have.

This rich tone has the potential to make a room look expensive, so use it in a space with little architectural detailing to give it stature. When using this color, it helps to keep other furnishings white in the room to help give the space a light and airy feel.

Use this color in: Rooms with no architectural details

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Blush Pink

Paint Colors That Make a Room Look Bigger — Blush Pink
Courtesy of Fantastic Frank

A soft shade of blush pink can brighten up a small room and make it feel cheery and light—and it looks wonderful at sunset hour. This hue works best in a room with more natural light and is well complemented with light warm neutral tones like beige, sand, and ivory. Paint the ceiling in the same hue for an enveloping feel.

Don't be fooled by pink acting as an ultimate feminine tone, either (though it can!). The pale blush is also a great compliment to more masculine woods, modern metals, and luxe velvet or leather furniture as well.

Use this color in: West-facing rooms

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Dark Navy

navy room
KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

In rooms with little bit of natural light, a deep navy hue can create an impression of depth and make a space feel dramatic and stately. If you want that romantic and cozy feel that a black room would give you, but not willing to take the plunge into the absence of color, navy is the way to go.

When painting your walls in a navy color, it also helps to keep large furniture like sofas in the same hue to blur the lines between the edges of the room and making it feel larger. This also makes it a great choice for rooms with cabinetry like kitchens and libraries. Pro tip? The monochromatic styling works equally well, no matter what color you're dealing with.

Use this color in: Kitchens and libraries with little natural light

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Cool Gray

Paint Colors That Make a Room Look Bigger — Cool Gray
Courtesy of Brady Tolbert

A great alternative to a white paint color is a light cool gray, which can feel fresh and bright without the starkness of pure white. Cool colors feel fresher and brighter than warm ones, so it helps visually create the appearance of more space. Use this color in a room with moderate amounts of light to give the space a cozy but expansive feel.

A light grey brings the crisp and bright quality that a bright white does, allowing light to bounce off the walls, while it also keeps the room remaining cool, as opposed to the warmth that a taupe would infuse.

Use this color in: An east or west-facing room

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