‘Immediate’ way to make rooms look ‘bigger’ – ‘you’ll wonder why you never did it before!’

Styled UK share tips on best interior colour combinations

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Homeowners should never underestimate the power of paint. The right colour or shade can add value to your home and the wrong paint colours can devalue homes just as easily. How you use them can be equally as transformative to enhance and improve any room – it’s just about knowing how. From l two-tone walls, to colour drenching techniques and using alternative shades for ceilings, there are a number of current clever ways you can make a room look and feel bigger.

Try these simple ways with paint to instantly create a sense of space, with suggestions from industry experts and interior designers who know all the best tricks when decorating for maximum impact.

Paint ceilings in a colour other than white

When it comes to painting ceilings, it’s commonplace to reach for white paint. However, experts recommend looking for an alternative shade for ceilings to elevate the appearance of the roof.

Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director of Little Greene explained: “Many of us paint ceilings white out of habit, which can often make a space look smaller, drawing the eye to the shape and scale of the room.”

Instead the expert advised opting for tonal colour instead. 

She said: “By immersing an interior in one colour and incorporating all elements within the space, you can create a truly engaging scheme that will soften architectural detailing to create a cohesive and enveloping space.”

Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director at Dulux, agreed: “Popping the lid off the room and creating a sense of limitless sky by painting the ceiling in a breezy summer blue like Bright Skies. 

“It will immediately make the space appear bigger and less hemmed in and you’ll wonder why you never did it before!”

While the illusion of an open sky works especially well for Marianne’s suggestion, if blue is not to your taste the concept would still work in an equally soft shade such sage green or pale grey, because the idea is simply to remove the stark white contrast that puts a figurative “lid” on the room.

Use colour drenching to create the illusion of bigger walls

Colour drenching is the latest interior design trend that involves saturating an entire room in one colour.

This includes furniture, as well as painting walls, woodwork, and even ceilings in one cohesive colour palette that “stretches” the space by making the walls appear endless.

Ruth explained: “Colour drenching uses a single shade or closely related colours across everything from skirting to ceiling: walls, window frames, doors, and radiators.”

Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown, added: “Not only does colour drenching create a contemporary, monochromatic look, but it is also an easy way of creating the illusion of bigger walls, making the room as a whole appear more spacious.”

The experts warned that not using this effect can cut the height of the room short and therefore make the space feel smaller. 

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This is incredibly distracting when decorating with dark paint colours, meaning in that instance it’s always advisable to paint the woodwork in the same shade – with the right paint finish of course.

Make surfaces recede with soft shades

Light, bright colours are generally favoured to open up small or awkward spaces because they reflect natural light and therefore create a sense of space. 

But there are many lighter tones that can do the trick, it’s not all about white paint colours.

Marianne explained: “Probably the simplest way you can make a room appear bigger with just a bit of paint is to use pale ‘receding’ colours that make walls look further away than they really are.

“These are soft organic greens and sky blues. Paint them on all the walls and keep the woodwork in the same colour or a delicate off-white.

“This offers a subtle way to bring colour into the home and open up those small spaces whilst connecting the indoor and outdoor spaces seamlessly”.

Try two-tone effects to add height 

Trick the eyes into thinking the room is bigger than it actually is by painting a two-tone effect on the walls. 

This will add height by creating an off-centre divide that creates a taller perspective and will make a room look bigger with paint.

The paint pro advised: “A band of colour painted around the lower third of the walls teamed with a subtle off-white above and on the ceiling will help to make a room look taller and airier.”

For best results, split the room into thirds and paint the bottom third in a richer shade than the remaining two-thirds above, to anchor the gaze down and in effect extend the space between the floor and the ceiling. 

All Britons need to do to achieve a crisp line between the two different colours is a roll of masking tape and a spirit level to ensure its preciseness.

Disguise storage with paint

One of the most effective ways to organise small spaces is by providing plenty of storage. To make a room look bigger with paint, simply painting these storage units and shelving in the same colour as the wall is a great way to make the extra storage blend in with the colour scheme. 

This will make the room feel more spacious and is one of the best ways to make small rooms appear bigger when you can’t cut down the amount of stuff needed in the space.

Michael Rolland, interior expert and MD at The Paint Shed, explained: “Tall storage furniture such as a bookcase or walls filled with shelves can quickly eclipse a room.

“An easy way of disguising it is to paint it. Try painting this furniture or shelving the same colour as the walls. 

“This will allow them to blend into their surroundings, not making them look too daunting in a small space.”

Use paint to create a continuation of colour further by choosing a tone that matches the upholstery of the sofa and other soft furnishings. 

This will create a seamless wall of colour (like colour drenching mentioned earlier) that will help to prevent the space from feeling overcrowded and enclosed.

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