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How to Make a Room Look Bigger With Paint

Let’s talk about how to make a room look bigger with paint! Paint is a powerful tool that can drastically change the appearance of any room quickly and easily.

In this article, I’ll share valuable techniques to help you enlarge your room without ever needing to change its size. Learn how to effortlessly make rooms feel spacious, calm, and airy while only using paint, home furnishings, and decor.

A room with the walls painted a light neutral and white trim and ceiling.

How to Make a Room Look Bigger With Paint

Using lighter paint colors versus warm is an excellent way to give your home a grander appearance. I personally saw this technique happen right before my eyes. It’s truly amazing how our eyes work!

Personal Experience Building Our Home

While building our first home, we ended up building simultaneously with friends. We also both picked the same floor plan.

Our builder’s allowed us to choose only one interior paint color. We chose a light gray hue, and our friends decided on a deep tan.

When we first stepped into our finished houses, we were amazed at how the same square footage looked so different! Our light gray paint versus their darker color made all the difference. Our house looked significantly bigger, while theirs looked smaller.

Sight Lines and Visual Light

Sight lines are the area you visualize from any point in a room. Great thought is put into creating visually pleasing spaces. The idea surrounding “how to make a room look bigger with paint” gives your eyes an appealing, straightforward and unobstructed sight line by using paint as an illusion.

Uneven, unbalanced, and obscured views feel unsettling to your eyes. Dark, tiny rooms with smaller amounts of natural light give humans claustrophobic vibes.

A small room with ligh-colored walls and an accent color on the far wall.

How Our Eyes React to Color

The human eye’s retina houses two types of cells used to catch and answer incoming visual light called cones and rods. Cones respond to brighter environments and are sensitive to different wavelengths.

Color also helps us identify previously viewed objects and plays a part in the colors we choose, items we purchase, and views we enjoy.

When natural light hits an object, objects absorb a fraction of the light and reflect the rest. This reflected light then enters through the cornea. The cornea’s job is to bend light towards your pupil and limit the light that bounces off your lens. Finally, your eye’s lens focuses the light on your retina.

Color Perception In Our Eyes

Humans also have three different types of photo pigments; blue, green, and red.

For example, viewing the color of lemons during the day activates red and green cones. These cones send signals to the brain’s visual cortex through your optic nerve. Then your brain processes the number of activated cones and their signal strengths. Once your nerve impulses process thoroughly, you’d see the color yellow.

Darker environments only stimulate the eye’s rods from the reflection of light given by a lemon. In this case, you wouldn’t see yellow, only shades of gray.

How To Create Depth In Your Room Using Paint

Let’s explore ways to create illusions of depth and width without ever needing to change your room’s dimensions.

Step 1: Light, Bright, and Airy

First, try painting all the walls of your room but the back wall and ceiling a bright, airy color. Leave the back wall and ceiling a blank canvas for now.

Step 2: Using a Darker Hue

Here’s how to make a room look bigger with paint using darker colors.

Choose a color that falls within the same color category as what was painted on the other three walls. Then, paint the back wall and the ceiling your darker color. Next, let it fully dry and cure.

Step 3: Stand Back and Be Amazed!

Finally, after you’ve let the paint dry, turn on the lights, stand back, and be amazed. You’ve now created depth illusions by only using paint!

How to Add Height to a Room With Paint

Did you know you can add height to a room without changing its measurements or square footage? Here’s how to make a room look bigger using paint undertones.

The Importance of Undertones

First, pay close attention to paint undertones while selecting colors for your projects. Choosing the right undertone will make all the difference in the world and add height to your space.

Undertones are the product of mixing and blending different colors to create paint. The primary color in paint is the color you’ll see, while the undertone helps make the final color.

Use Horizontal Stripes

Here’s how to make a room look bigger with paint using stripes.

First, use painter’s tape and section off areas of your room, creating stripes in a horizontal pattern. Then, apply your paint inside these sections and let it dry.

When your paint is fully dry, peel off the tape to reveal your stripes.

The striped pattern will help trick your eye into thinking your room is much larger than it is. This visual effect leads your eyes to the end of each stripe and towards the ceiling, making your space feel much bigger!

Lighten Up Your Crown Molding

Crown molding painted white.

Another suggestion to make a room look bigger with paint is to paint all of your crown molding white. Bright white tones open up areas and give off the illusion of a bigger space without changing room size.

Try painting your ceiling light colors, such as light gray or bright white, to take it further. These colors will give your eyes the illusion of raised ceilings!

Bright and Airy Rooms

Finally, learning how to make a room look bigger with paint can be easier than you think!

Paint your entire room in a very light or white color. White is the most significant way to create the largest space without remodeling.

In addition, having light-colored floors, walls, ceilings, and furniture always help any room feel extraordinarily open and bright!

Choosing the Right Paint Colors

Here are more foolproof ways for making a room look bigger with paint! Try to use color schemes to create grander room illusions. These “tricks of the eye” will work every time, guaranteed!

Painting With Light Colors

When it comes to how to make a room look bigger with paint, it’s as simple as using light colors. Lighter colors help make your room appear grander because they reflect off any natural light filling the room.

Designers always aim for white to maximize natural light and give you the look of a larger space. Choosing satin or eggshell finishes will help reflect the natural glow even more.

A room painted all white.

Painting With Dark Colors

What happens if you paint a room using dark colors? If you choose dark colors, those hues absorb natural light, giving off the illusion of a smaller space.

If you want to know how to make a room look bigger with paint using darker shades, try painting only one wall. This will create an accent wall leaving the other three walls lighter.

You could also paint just the ceiling using dark-colored paint. This method leads your eyes upward, giving you a feeling of depth.

Painting With Neutral Colors

Stick with neutral colors. Painting a room using neutral colors creates an effect of clean, inviting, and open spaces.

Neutrals also pair well with all home decor selections and help put the focus on the focal points of the room, never just the walls themselves.

Open Concept Homes

Open concept floor plans have been extremely popular over the last few years. Here’s how to make a room look bigger with paint in your open concept home.

First, these floor plans have less wall space to define specific living areas. Using a single white or light color and featured natural light helps the most.

In addition, one color keeps the feeling of openness. Stray away from darker colors with these floor plans and use furniture to define your spaces instead of colors.

Paint Your Ceiling

A room painted in two colors of gray for effect.

Ready to trick the human eye even more? I bet you’ve never thought about painting your ceiling!

To accomplish this look, choose paint colors in the same color wheel as the colors on the wall. You will need to look at the spectrum’s light and dark color hues. Painting your ceiling helps your eyes stray from where the wall ends and the ceiling starts.

You could also paint your ceiling the same color as your walls while leaving the crown molding white in between. Doing this instantly creates the illusion of a grander, more elegant space!

Painting Your Crown Molding or Wood Paneling

If your home features oak paneling or outdated crown molding, it’s time to grab a can of paint and help your room feel larger and calmer. Crown molding changes quite drastically when it goes from an oak finish to a lovely light, neutral, off-white or white color. You’ll be amazed at the transformation!

Try also painting your outdated wood paneling a lovely crisp white. Your room will “grow” and transform before your eyes!

Another suggestion is to use the same paint color on your trim and crown molding as you did on your walls. This method helps your walls magically appear taller than they are!

Additional Interior Design Suggestions

Now that you’ve freshly updated your spaces and learned how to make a room look bigger with paint, here are some other things to try to maximize your space!

Neutral Furniture

Decorating with neutral furniture is a great way to keep things open.

Neutrals help give you an even bigger illusion of space. Make sure you never select furniture that is too big on the scale for the square footing of your room. Add accent colors to give your room the perfect pop of color!

A small room with neutral furnishings to create a sense of space.

Additional Lighting

Look into adding additional lighting to your space. Extra lighting gives the illusion of depth and coziness. If you’re lucky enough to have great natural light, open up all your windows!

Long Simple Mirrors

Another trick to help make a room appear larger is adding simple large mirrors. The best spots to add a large mirror are in your entryway, above the sofa or loveseat, or vertically on your wall to create a “dressing room” type mirror.

As you learned how to make a room look bigger with paint above, you now know light reflects off bright colors and gives illusions of bigger spaces. The same idea holds true with a mirror. The room’s reflection and the natural light against a mirror will give your area a beautiful, elongated feeling.

White Linen Drapes

Using drapery to create height in your freshly painted room also helps you gain depth and height! Try raising your curtain rods to the ceiling. You’ll be amazed by the transformation!

Simple Artwork and Home Decor

Simple art and home decor give your room the perfect finishing touch. When choosing the theme, remember less is more and place things in groups of odd numbers.

Reduce Your Clutter!

Finally, removing clutter in your space will always help your area appear larger! Use baskets and storage bins, then organize by ensuring everything has a “home.”

Now You Know How to Make a Room Look Bigger With Paint!

A child's room painted entirely in light green to seem bigger.

As you can see, there are many ways to trick the human eye through interior design. Now you know all the tips and tricks on how to make a room look bigger with paint and other home finishes. You’ll love the look of your bright, airy, and open rooms!

Check out these great interior paint suggestions here at DIY Painting Tips. As always, happy painting, and thanks for stopping by!