This One Easy Trick Can Make Your Room Feel Bigger Instantly

Updated 12/14/18

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. One paint trick that never fails: Paint the ceiling, trim, and doors in the same color to give the impression of space. Ready to pick your small room's color? Here are six paint colors that make a room look bigger.

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

Stark White

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. 

Use this color in: South-facing rooms

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

Pitch Black

Conversely, in a room with little to no natural light, white may not be the way to go. Instead, a dark hue like charcoal or black will give the space an intimate feel while 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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Paint Colors That Make a Room Look Bigger — Light Taupe
Courtesy of Tali Roth

Light Taupe

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

Blush Pink

A soft shade of blush pink can brighten up a small room and make it feel cheery and light—and 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.

Use this color in: West-facing rooms

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Paint Colors That Make a Room Look Bigger — Dark Navy
Courtesy of Jeremiah Brent

Dark Navy

In rooms with little natural light, a deep navy hue can create an impression of depth and make a space feel dramatic and stately. 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.

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

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

Cool Gray

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.

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

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Next up: The bathroom paint colors interior designers swear by.

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