5 Ways Paint Can Make a Small Room Look Larger

ECOS 04/15/2024

Want your home to have a little extra square footage, but building an addition is beyond your budget (or control)? We have a solution! Create the illusion of space with just a little bit of paint. Here are 5 ways paint can make a small room look larger. It’s easy, inexpensive, and delivers awesome results!

1. Choose light paint colors. Creams and shades of white reflect light making a room brighter, which also makes it appear larger. If whites and creams are too blah for your taste, choose one wall for a splash of light color.

2. Use cool hues. Our brains perceive colors differently. Warm colors, like red, orange, and yellow, tend to draw in a space and make it feel smaller. Alternatively, cool colors like blue, green, and violet, tend to recede or move away and make the space seem more open. (If you have your heart set on a warm color, choose a tint that’s dampened with some cool tones and is very washed out. ECOS Paints in Yellow Tail is a good example of a cooler yellow.)

3. Create an optical illusion with stripes. Use vertical and horizontal stripes separately to make a room look bigger. If your room is narrow, paint horizontal stripes on the walls to make it look wider. Similarly, if you have a low ceiling, try vertical stripes on the walls to make the ceiling seem higher.

4. Paint trim and moldings lighter than the walls. When moldings and trim are lighter than the walls, the walls look as if they’re further back. Once again making your room appear bigger.

5. Keep things monochromatic. Use one color scheme, in different shades and textures, on the furniture, flooring, and walls to keep things “clean,” which also creates the illusion of space.

Do you have a trick for making a small space appear larger? Share it in the comments for others to learn from!

Ready to tackle your own painting project to make your small space appear larger? Order ECOS Paints free color cards to see what colors will work best in your home.

A small room doesn't have to equal small style. Here are some fun ways to add visual interest to any room in your home.


#1 Experiment with an accent wall

A Coruña for rent?
Adding an accent wall has become a tried-and-true technique that adds interest to a particular room. Usually, the best wall for an accent color is where you want to draw the eye, such as the backdrop for your headboard, fireplace, or couch. Don’t think that it has to be a solid color, though! There are tons of patterns, textures, and funky ways to step up a standard accent wall. Check out 8 Eye-Catching and Easy Accent Wall Ideas for specifics and how-tos.

#2 Have fun with interior doors

CraftMaster Interior Doors
This is a classic for a reason! Painting a door in the right color will set off the rest of room, giving it a whole new energy without, well, having to put in a whole lot of energy. If painting your door a bright color feels too bold, try painting the edge of it. That way, you can keep your neutral door, but get a subtle surprise when you open it and see a peek of color.

#3 Switch up that ceiling

Retro Bathroom in Downtown Delaware
In a room that needs some oomph, stray from a basic white ceiling and go for a “look-at-me” hue. This is the same idea as an accent wall but a little more unique. Definitely a wonderful choice for smaller spaces, but can easily work in large rooms, too!

#4 Trim it down

The New Farmhouse
No need for those pops of color to go overboard. Keep it simple yet fun and quirky with accent trim on doorways, windows, or other moldings. Although this acid yellow looks pretty neat, muted colors achieve the same effect with less of a bite.

#5 Become a stair master

Up, Up and Away
Give your staircase an update with a splash of color. How? Paint the stairs themselves, the risers or the railing. Our favorites include alternating shades against crisp white (above), or painting the railing a complimentary color to your newly painted stairs. For a heavily used staircase, consider painting the risers instead for less maintenance.

#6 Stencil in your style

How to stencil, easy step-by-step roller stenciling technique
Using a wall stencil to paint patterns into your home is such a chic way to use color (and eliminates the headache of wallpaper!). A stencil can be used for the whole wall or just a portion, as stencil designer Janna Makaeva, does above. This step-by-step from Houzz.com shows you the ins and outs of how to recreate it.

#7 Fire up the mantel

Living Room
Give your fireplace style points by painting its mantel a fresh color. By choosing the right paint color, it will turn it into a focal point with no remodeling necessary! Extra points for something bold and punchy.

#8 Accessorize

A bright coat of paint gives new life to shelves, cabinets, and furniture. Little extras like this might be just what a simple room is looking for and can make a huge statement. This teal island, for example, is totally on-theme with the rest of the kitchen and brings out the warm wood flooring.

Feeling inspired? Enter to win a $200 gift card for ECOS Paints, so you can get started on adding pops of color to your home!

UPDATE: Congratulations to our lucky winner, Christina! Thank you all for participating -- watch our blog for December's giveaway launching soon!

Here’s how:


Let us know in the comments below what your favorite idea is for a pop of color.


For each additional entry, leave a separate comment letting us know what you’ve done (and what your profile name is where relevant). You can enter up to 7 times by taking all of the actions listed above and the more entries you make, the more chances you have at winning!

One random winner will be selected on November 30, 2016!

Good luck!!!

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Participants must be 18 years of age or older and must be U.S. residents. Click through for full sweepstakes rules.

CATEGORIES Tips & Tricks