How to Make a Room Look Bigger with Paint


Even the smallest of rooms can seem bigger than it truly is. 

In this article, professional North Vancouver painters will share with you the secret behind some of these visual tricks—Paint!

From figuring out the right choice of color to learning about strategic ways of applying paint, this quick guide covers five painting strategies that will make any tiny room feel spacious. 


The size of a room isn’t determined just by its square footage. The mind’s perception matters, too!

Top 5 Tricks to Make a Room Look Bigger with Paint

Paint Trick #1 – Light Is Right

Lighter paint colors, especially white, reflect a lot of light in a room. This ability transforms a small room into a space that feels bigger and more open. 

Some people think of white as too boring though. Fortunately, alternatives like pastel colors and soft neutrals, such as gray and beige, produce similar results as plain white paint. 

To further open up a small room, remember to pay attention to your choice of paint finish. In general, the glossier the finish is, the greater the light it can reflect around the room. 

Given this, light-colored paint with a high-gloss finish is the best choice to visually expand the size of a tiny kitchen. Worried about stains and splatters? Don’t sweat it because this type of moisture-resistant finish may be easily cleaned with some wiping or scrubbing. 

If you’re not keen on glossy finishes, a satin or eggshell finish is also effective at reflecting enough light to trick the eyes and brighten up your small space. 

Paint Trick #2 – Join the Dark Side

It’s a common misconception that dark colors can make any room seem like a cave—cramped, gloomy, and intimidating.

However, that usually happens when the walls have been painted in dark hues, but the adjacent trim is painted with a light color. Such a design choice makes the room appear boxier because the light colors enclose their much darker counterparts. 

Here’s the thing though: matching dark walls with dark borders produces a similar effect as an all-light-colors scheme. The eyes will not immediately recognize the edges of the room. Instead, they will roam across the expanse of its dark surroundings.

Even rooms that don’t get a lot of natural lighting can be painted with dark colors. Of course, you’d have to be more mindful about your choice of artificial lighting, but the general principles behind the expanding effect of dark-colored paints still apply in this case.

Because of this painting strategy, you’re not limited to light colors only if you have a small space. The absence of the light-colored trims or edges tricks the gaze into moving without pause. Meanwhile, the dark hues make it seem like the space is intimate yet boundless. The overall effect of this trick negates the assumption that dark paints should never be used to decorate tiny rooms.  

Paint Trick #3 – Embrace Contrast

Though the traditional design rules for small spaces say you should stick to one color scheme only, that doesn’t mean that you should follow them no matter what. After all, optical illusions are meant to be fun and exciting! 

Consider choosing paints with highly contrasting colors, such as black and white, for your walls. This trick adds visual depth to the room, thus making it seem bigger than in reality. 

Painters Calgary recommend applying this strategy to narrow and long rooms in particular. If you want to make the room look more like a square, the opposing walls of the shorter side should be painted with a darker color. The length of the room should then be painted with a contrasting light color. 

On the other hand, if you want to emphasize how long the room is, the dark-colored paint should be applied to the walls of the longer side. Meanwhile, the contrasting light hues must be paired with the opposing shorter sides of the given space. 

Both of these approaches work using the same design trick. Your choice between the two depends on how you want to present the room. 

Paint Trick #4 – It’s All About the Accent 

Another rule-breaking trick involves painting a single accent wall inside the tiny space. This optical illusion guides the eye into paying more attention to the focal point in the room. 

Traditionally, an accent wall is painted using one striking color that pops out from the rest of the room. For example, every wall in the living room is painted white, except for the flame-red wall behind the couch. 

Modern takes on accent walls have widened the design options—for example, pairing up complementary colors on a single wall, or decorating a single side of the room with bold patterns. 

Given this, feel free to experiment with new and innovative ideas on how to paint an accent wall in your tiny space. Just keep in mind that the key to make this trick work is to keep the rest of the room as simple as possible. 

Paint Trick #5 – Reach Up!

Painting the ceiling with the right color makes a room appear taller than it is. For this trick to work, pick a shade that is close to the color of the walls. Some experts recommend going for a shade that is lighter by around 20% to be more precise.

By opting for similar-looking colors, the edges between the walls and the ceiling will appear seamless. Furthermore, the subtle change in colors tends to draw the eyes up, thus making the ceiling seem higher than its actual height. 


Paint can be applied to highlight the best features of the room and downplay the elements that lower its appeal and value. 

Small rooms benefit greatly from the right paint colors, but don’t be afraid to explore your color choices, and even break some traditional interior design rules. 

As long as you have a clear vision of how you want the space to look, you will likely find the perfect paint colors and choose an effective visual trick to apply to your tiny room. 

Given what you have learned in this article, which of my recommended approaches do you think would work best for your home improvement project? Do you have any other paint tricks that you want to share with our readers? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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