Wednesday, June 11, 2014

5 Tips for painitng small spaces

 The one topic I've written about on my blog that gets attention from thousands of decor happy readers is decorating small spaces.  I think that is because rooms and homes today are smaller than they once were.  People living in condos or apartments must be conscious of using every trick in the book to enlarge their living spaces. So stay awhile and see how colour can solve some of your small space dilemmas.  Perhaps in these suggestions you will find a treatment for your small space.

Use one colour everywhere

This might seem like an extreme solution but it isn't really.  Using one colour all over a room makes the different planes blend together  to give a more unified look.  You can even use the same colour on the floor and ceiling if you wish.  Since your eye continues to move  freely around the room you have no sense of the boundaries of it.

same colour on walls and ceiling bedroom

If I could change one thing about this room above, I would paint the trim a soft pink too to keep the eye moving. Painting  trim white creates vertical and horizontal lines that your eyes automatically go to and follow. You can see the difference in the room below where the trim is painted out.  The room has an unbroken field of colour that is certainly expansive even though a dark colour was used.

painting trim and walls same colour


More blue, but the trim is painted a coordinating colour that is closer in value to the walls decreasing the emphasis on  the trim which seems to just blend in.

dark colours in small living room

Use cool colours 

 The rooms above are using the same colour almost everywhere, but they  are also utilizing another colour trick. Cool colours like blues, blue grays etc. make the walls of a room recede thus making the space appear larger than it actually is. Blues are an excellent choice for small bathrooms, laundry rooms, spare bedrooms, etc.  When walls recede you tend to notice the furnishings rather than the  "box" that contains them.

There's nothing like a cool lavender with white and light grays to expand a space.  

dark walls small living room

Use a dark colour on the walls

That's right, a dark colour!  Would you ever think that would work?  It does because  the corners disappear in the shadows and your eye moves around easily. Darker colours are often perceived as  visually deeper. There are  decorators who take the opposite approach to keeping walls light in a small space.  And the final trick with dark colours in small rooms is to paint them in a semi-gloss or gloss to reflect light.  This approach is not for the faint of heart,  but it can be quite stunning.   If you're afraid to go really dark choose a mid value gray or taupe.

Use a colour you see outside

Blues and greens give the impression that the room continues beyond the windows. You can paint the walls an outside colour or use one  in your fabric choices.  I love the freshness of the room below. It certainly is reminiscent of  plants.

blue and green living room

blending outside and inside colours

Designer Christina Murphy uses green to great effect  to visually extend this room by connecting it to the view outside the window.  Keeping a simple colour scheme is also visually enlarging.

blending outside and inside in decor 

Everything about this room invites the outside in and blends the two together. Lighter floors always enlarge a space.  There are no dark hardwoods in my life, I like light and airy all the way.

Keep walls and furniture a similar colour 

 When you keep the furniture and walls close to the same colour you are blurring the lines between them. As a result the mass of the furniture is decreased and the overall volume of the room is increased.  If you don't wish to have all the furniture the same colour consider having at least  the bigger items like armoires and chests close to the wall colour so they will begin to blend into the room and widen it out.

Decor by Jennifer Inc contemporary family room

I also want the cabinet for the TV to be a lighter colour, but it is undeniably a focal point in the room  and every room needs one. I'd also skip the dark wood rods which your eye travels to automatically because of the contrast, but I also understand why the decorator chose them (all the woods in the room are dark).   Overall I love these two rooms.  They are warm and inviting.

Alexandru Apartment lviing room contemporary living room

I equally love the cool minimal look  of this room, but it isn't for everyone.

Paint a Focal Wall


 I'm not a large fan of painting a focal wall.  I think sometimes it works to great advantage, but most times it is a less than creative solution in a space. This strategy  can work wonders in a small space, Don't be afraid to paint an accent wall a darker receding color thus  making the space look larger.

Living Room  dark focal wall

 And there you have it.  The only thing left to do is decide which of these solutions will work in your space. 
 Happy painting.

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