Will dark colors make a room look smaller


One of the most common design tips you’ll hear is to avoid dark wall colors to keep a room from looking small. But is there any truth in the advice? Well, like many age-old questions, there’s some debate. While many designers advocate for lighter colors such as whites, pastel blues or yellows when trying to improve the visual depth of a room, others put little stock in the technique. And while there may not be consensus on color, there is greater agreement on other techniques for working with small spaces.

Wall paint color palette

Minimize contrast

One technique is to minimize the contrast within a room – particularly when choosing a paint color for the walls. Consistent tones in a room allow the eye to span a room more quickly and easily, giving the impression of a wide open space or a larger room. Harsh contrast disrupts this process, making changes in color standout, and thus giving the opposite effect.

Perhaps the recommendation of using light colors to make a room seem larger stems from the impact of contrast. Considering that trim and ceilings are typically painted white. So, darker paint colors will contrast more heavily with the trim and the ceiling, causing the room to look smaller.


Remove clutter

Just like heavy contrast, objects scattered throughout a room hinder the eye’s ability to scan from wall to wall, giving the appearance of a smaller space. If making a space appear larger is more important than having it well decorated, stay away from unnecessary accent pieces and tchotchkes. No wonder real estate agents always suggest keeping personal décor to the bare essentials.

Try a mirror

While most decorative items only take up space, mirrors create space – or at least trick you into thinking that they do. Mirrors make great substitutes for framed art or other wall hangings, offering both beauty and a sense of openness. Mirrors are also a great choice when struggling to find the right accouterments. They coordinate with virtually everything and never go out of style.

While not everyone agrees if it’s necessary to avoid dark wall colors in small spaces, there are tried and true steps you can take to make a room look bigger. Take your place from snug to spacious by using low-contrast colors, minimizing clutter and introducing mirrors. Have any tips of your own for making a room look larger? Share your ideas in the comments.

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Published : 19 Oct 2015
Category : Blog

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