I remember when I first moved in to my small apartment, one of the big questions was which are the best colors for small rooms. Walls have a big presence in the space and thus are a crucial component in the decoration’s concept and have a big influence on your mood. While reading a lot of the articles regarding the subject and talking to people, I’ve noticed that there is a live discussion, let’s say there are two approaches to the subject. One gives you restrictive rules how to color small rooms and the other claims there are no rules. Usually, the ones to claim there are no rules are professional designers that have a lot of experience in the field and thus are fearless playing with the entire color spectrum.
OK, rules or no rules, color can emphasize certain features – and minimize others. In a small room, the main effect we want to achieve is making it feel bigger. Knowing how colors play with our eyes can make a big difference. So let’s see the guiding lines, considerations and tips that can help us in order to achieve the best result for your needs in your small space.
1. Color effect
The first thing you need to decide is your color theme. You need to set your mind on a main tone you want to give the room. For this you need to take in consideration the color effect. There are two groups in the color pallet which create two different effects. The first group is the warm colors such as red, orange and yellow, and the second group is the light bright and cool ones such as white, blue, green and purple. Both groups have two main qualities to consider. The first quality is the feeling they give and the second one is the way they fool our eyes in perceiving the size of the space by making it seem bigger or smaller. The bright colors reflect the light and thus create an illusion of a larger space. The warm ones make the walls appear closer and thus create the illusion of a smaller room.
To sum it up, the warm colors create a cozy feeling and a smaller space and the cool ones create an airy feeling and a bigger space, so having a small room we will want to use the bright colors. So what about the cozy feeling? If you are concern about this so no worry, a small room is already cozy due to its size. With the right furniture and decoration elements you can have a lovely cozy space. But of course if you are fixed on a yellow room then go for it! There are no “rules” . When I was a teenager, I did that in my room painting it in yellow. The cool thing was that during the day time, when I was looking at the room from another spot of the house, it looked like I left the light on – It was sunny! But I must admit that after one year I just couldn’t stand it and cooled it down painting back to something more settled. I love white and other bright cool colors, it’s clean and clear and emphasizes what’s inside the room and I like this concept.
Image via Iroonie
Talking about great designers that are taking the liberty to play with colors, check out this space, a great example of a color scheme, work of architect Scott Weston:
Image via Scott Weston Architecture Design
2. Room form
It is amazing how much impact a color have to alter perceptions of a room’s size. At this point you can also use it to play on your favor if your room is rectangular (tending to narrow) using the color to balance the distance between the walls. As we saw in the first point, just like warm colors make the wall appear closer, dark ones have the same effect. You can paint one or both of the short walls of the rectangular room with a darker shade of the same color scheme you have chosen. This will bring back proportions to the narrow feeling.
3. Room height
The same thing here. If your ceiling is low, you can paint it just a shade lighter than the walls. It will be as if you “pushed” up your ceiling making it look more distant. It is nice how you can “move” the surfaces of your room with no effort like a super hero . The same way if your ceiling is too high, yes you got it, paint it just a shade darker to make it appear closer.
4. Focal wall
Another great idea that concerns not only a small space, is to highlight the room’s focal point. Every room has a special side, a wall with a fireplace or a wall with bookcases etc… Play up the best feature of the room! You can paint the focal wall with a deep rich color and the rest of the walls a lighter, coordinating color as we mentioned before, to allow the focal wall to stand out. Another way to create a focal point is using wallpaper.
Image via Bed Rooms Design
If you want to create the impression of a bigger room, the advice is to have your furniture in the same color scheme because this way they blend in the space.
Image via Must know How
Like in the first image in this post, a great idea when you have it all white is to use one dominant color like a red or whatever you like in one of your furniture.
OK, so now you are facing the moment in which you are about to decide your color scheme and buy it. You look in the color pallet and you find your combination. If it’s not white then it’s hard to judge from a small swatch how it will appear on your wall. You might love the color you see on the pallet, but when it comes to a big surface, the result might appear overwhelming, especially in a small space. If you are not sure, there many paint companies that offer samples, so try it out and experiment!
Choosing the best colors for small rooms is a confusing and time consuming moment. I know that for me it was very helpful looking at magazines, reading eBooks and talking to people. I hope this was helpful for you; it sums up the main basic concepts. I will be glad to hear your opinion or learn more from your experience.