Colors Make A Room Appear Larger
It’s purely a matter of physics. Pure and simple science.
Dark walls recede, they go deep, they give the illusion of a black hole, just like the dark pants that makes your legs go away. Light rooms on the other hand come forward, pulling the walls in closer to your eyes, which has the illusion of a smaller space. More importantly though, get your compass out and determine the direction the room faces. There is a clear advantage having a north facing room, consistent light, which is why artist prefer painting in a north facing studio. South facing rooms are more challenging, cool shadowy mornings but opposite in the afternoon.
Let’s Continue by Asking an Expert.
Laurel Bern is an award-winning New York Interior Designer, keynote speaker and blogger. Her studio is in Bronxville, NY, just outside of New York City. My husband Chris, staying up late one night, found her while surfing online (so glad he couldn’t sleep). He emailed her to ask for her expert assistance with our newly purchased historic 1929 beautiful architecturally amazing condo. And she agreed!
At that time in her biz, you could send her your interior pics and tell her which way the room faces and ooh-lah-lah, the magic began. This lady knows her colors and at that time, I wanted white on white on white on white on white…just so you understand.
I have continued to play and paint at an earlier flip we did. In that project, Laurel helped us select the right colors to make rooms appear larger.She blogged on that condo flip a couple years ago. We achieved the same sense of a larger room by using a white color palette based on our compass and room orientation.
Design Note: The above image features Benjamin Moore’s Van Deusen blue paint color.
I had wanted a very dark master bedroom with warmth and boldness but was too afraid of dark colors. I kept reading her blogs how dark colors play out in a north, south, east, or west facing space room. I finally made a beautiful choice (at least for me), Benjamin Moore’s Van Deusen Blue.
Domino Offers Their Take on Making Rooms Feel Larger with Color
They offer 6 nice color options from cool white to shades of blue. From our research we find that blues are a recurring theme for making a room feel larger. Julia Bower at Bustle offered this use of blue in a bedroom.
Time for a Compass and Laura’s Tips on Choosing Darker Colors.
- Dark colors love white.
- Dark colors love brighter colors.
- Dark colors love mirrors and metal, especially gold.
- Black loves dark blue. Insanely.
- Cooler dark colors will make the room seem the largest. (another myth is to paint a room a warm, bright color to make it larger but that’s a different post!).
- To make a ceiling appear higher, paint it darker than the walls and don’t forget the floors. Dark floors will appear to go deeper.
- To make a room look longer. Paint the back wall dark and the side walls light.
- Lighting the corners of a dark room is essential.
- While I love matte paint, for blacks and navy I generally favor an egg-shell or even a satin finish. However, the walls must be very smooth. No shiny orange peel please!
Laurel has a wealth of information on every interior design. To sign on to her blogs, visit her website.
As you have read, you can absolutely fool the eye by using color to make a room appear larger. Love and enjoy your space and respect your compass, it’s your guide! Have fun creating your colors and room attitude. Remember…white is a color too.