Tricks with Colour: How to Make Rooms Look Bigger

Tricks with Colour: How to Make Rooms Look Bigger 

Whether you’re decorating a small living room or one with lots of space to work with, using tricks with colour and pattern to make rooms look bigger, more spacious and organised is a must-do.

There are plenty of tricks with colour that can be used to enhance the size of rooms in a house. Careful use of colour can offer a simple, but effective way of making a home feel more cosy.

When making your room appear larger, choose colours from the cool end of the colour wheel. Paint all surfaces the same colour while keeping the flooring dark and the walls light (it will make the floor space appear to expand). A low ceiling will also appear much higher if painted a lighter shade than the walls.

Use deepest tone of colour near to the floor and the lightest shade on the ceiling – giving the illusion of space. Try it the other way around to see how a room can be made to look smaller. Large pices of furniture will appear smaller if same colour as walls. A small room doesn’t have to be painted in light colours. Emphasis the cosiness by painting it a midnight blue or deep red.

How To Make Rooms Look Bigger
Click here to get more information on how to utilize the colour wheel.

To make a room appear cosier, choose colours from the warm side of the colour wheel.

Other tips:

  • A sunny yellow will ‘heat up’ a room, but don’t go overboard, compliment it with white ceiling and woodwork.
  • A warmer shade used on the ceiling will bring the height of a room down and make it feel cosier.
  • When using bright colours such as orange and red, remember to maintain balance by keeping the floor and carpet neutral.
  • The far end of a long hallway will seem closer if painted in a darker shade.
  • In a long corridor like room, paint the two, shorter end walls in a slightly darker shade to make the room appear larger.

Take a look at some hot tips below with example photos to help you choose the right space-stretching colour scheme for you.

1. Mix touches of primary colours with neutrals

How to Make Rooms Look Bigger
The Montrose display home.

There’s no reason why you can’t use bold colours in a living room you want to feel bigger – just use them sparingly.

2. Use vertical patterns to raise ceilings

How to make rooms look bigger
The Spectrum display home.

In a low-ceilinged room, you can use pattern and colour to make it feel taller. Vertical stripes are the most effective way to do so, but a vertical pattern like this one will do the trick, too.

3. Link long rooms with complimentary colours

Spectrum 10
The Spectrum display home.

If your living room is a through-room, choosing a colour scheme can be tricky. To make rooms look bigger, the simplest approach is to use blocks of different tones of the same colour. This will define and link the various zones in the room while helping it feel as big as possible. Choose a pale tone for the smaller or naturally darker end of the room, and a deeper tone for the bigger, brighter end. Keep the flooring the same throughout, going for a white, reflective finish.

4. Choose contrasting primary colours

Spectrum 15
The Spectrum display home.

You need not just use light colours to make a living room feel bigger – darker tones will work, too, if you use them in the right proportions.

5. Add reflective metalics to honey tones

Monticello 7
The Monticello display home.

Pale creams, warm beige and pink-tinged neutrals will create a living room that’s inviting and sophisticated, but to emphasise the feeling of spaciousness, match these calming shades with mirrored furniture and metallic accessories to make rooms look bigger and more ‘airy’.

6. Lay plain furniture over a striped rug

The Meridian 9
The Meridian display home.

Who says colour schemes have to be limited to walls? If your living room could do with being longer or wider, you can change its proportions immediately by placing a patterned, bold rug, which will draw the eye along its length. If you’re going for such a bold colour scheme, choose plains for the rest of the room, picking colours out of the carpet or rug for furniture and walls so they different elements don’t compete for attention.

7. Blend white walls with neutral furniture 

Nirvana 10
The Nirvana display home.

Brilliant white walls reflect light better than any other colour, and if you furnish the room with low-slung pieces in pale shades, too, you will only heighten the effect to make rooms look bigger. Stretch your space still further by accenting horizontal lines – the wood panelling, shelf and coffee table all highlight the horizontal and make the space seem wider. Floors don’t need be pale – but choose monotones over busy patterns.

8. Soften monotones with dove grey

Haven 26
The Haven display home.

South and west-facing rooms have warmer light than north- or east-facing rooms, so you can experiment with cooler colours to make your living room feel bigger. Pale grey combined with monotones are contemporary and elegant – use the lightest colours on the upholstery and floor for maximum impact. Add splashes of bold colours, such as yellow, for added warmth.

10. Choose natural blonds for a busy room

The Indulgence 5
The Indulgence display home.

Pale cream or off-white walls, cool beige upholstery and lime-washed wood combine to create a room that’s incredibly calming and relaxed. The mix of natural, toning shades also makes a busy space look much more streamlined, making this colour scheme ideal for an open plan living room, kitchen and diner.

11. Exaggerate space with reflective wallpaper

Nirvana 13
The Nirvana display home.

Just as mirrors, satins and metallics bounce light around a living room, making it feel bigger, so do reflective wallpapers. Ideal for a focal wall, choose a wallpaper with a neutral, two-tone colour scheme, such as this just-beige and silver design, to help emphasise the impression of space.

12.Integrate pastels into dark rooms

The Meridian 21
The Meridian display home.

Ideal for a north- or east-facing room, yellows and greens make a living room feel sunny and welcoming. To make the space feel as big as possible, avoid really punchy tones, instead choosing pale shades that reflect as much light as possible. Add extra warmth with honey-coloured wood for floors and furniture – or make the room feel bigger still with white-painted or lime-washed wood.

Like what you see? Did you enjoy our How to Make Rooms Look Bigger article?

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Hat Tip to: UK TV | BBC Homes