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Make Room: The Best Paint Colours for Small Rooms

Want to know how to make a small room look bigger? We’re making the case for black, among others, as one of the best paint colours for small rooms.

Faye deGavre


Jun 18, 2021


4 min read

Make Room: The Best Paint Colours for Small Rooms

If your home lacks space, you need to pull out every trick in the book to make it feel larger. And while a small room may limit your choice of furniture, you will have much more choice when it comes to painting the walls.

While white is the most obvious choice for a small room, it’s far from the only great option. Hint: it’s not all about light colours, either. If your space could use some more square footage, here’s how to make a small room look bigger with paint.

Paint colours for small rooms

  • Grey

- Image credit: Recreate Interiors

Grey is a fantastic choice for small spaces in both modern and traditional homes. It’s easily dressed up or played down, depending on your furnishings. A light grey with a white trim still has that all-important contrast while keeping the space feeling light and fresh. Soft greys on the walls are neutral but more interesting (and less clinical) than all-white. Use it in kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms for a relaxing, unobtrusive look.

Our top choices: Cox & Cox Cobble (an honest, simple grey), Cox & Cox Pail (generous grey with warmth), Cox & Cox Mineral (fine grey with quiet intensity)

  • Teal

- Image credit: Katie Malik Interiors

In small areas, shadow can be your friend. With a trick of the eye, painting a room a dark colour camouflages the fact it’s small. A deep blue, such as this stunning teal, creates a perception of depth. The teal is spread unapologetically on the walls, built-in storage, chimney breast and skirting boards that make this snug feel cosy but not at all confining. Along with the dark teal furniture, the gold and light wood accents restore some balance. There’s even a pop of complementary coral in there to lift it further.

  • Beige

- Image credit: Recreate Interiors

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that neutral never goes out of style. Beige, or even off-white, creates a softer palette to work with. And the possibilities are endless – it pairs well with bold furniture, tiled flooring and other neutrals. This non-committal colour is ideal for anyone who’s not ready to brave darker shades but doesn’t want their small space to feel stark with basic white either.

Our top choice: Cox & Cox Deauville (a beautiful neutral with grey undertones), Cox & Cox Landsdown (an architectural neutral)

  • Navy

- Image credit: Honeybee Interiors

Sometimes, compact areas are the best places to make a statement. You can be bold and moody with dark colours, including rich navy blue, without it being overwhelming – because the space itself is small. In this example, they’ve left the skirting boards a crisp white for definition and added bright cushions for a bit of colour relief.

Our top choice: Cox & Cox Hainsworth (classic rich blue)

  • Blush

- Image credit: Jack Robinson

A soft shade of pink is a top contender for small spaces. Keep it light with white furniture and features for a classic feel or matte black for an industrial contrast. In small places with lots of angles like lofts, one trick is to try painting the ceiling the same as the walls. This removes any harsh lines that emphasise a low ceiling and creates a more cohesive look. Emulating golden hour at sunset, blush pink warms up any room.

Our top choice: Cox & Cox Smock (beige with barely-there blush), Cox & Cox Marlott (natural and romantic)

  • Black

- Image credit: Southover Design

It stands to reason that a paint devoid of colour will swallow up a space, making it feel dark and dingy. But because of its incredible depth, black actually has the ability to increase a room’s size rather than make it feel smaller. 

If you’re not ready to use it on all four walls, start with a small slice, like in this home office. The black backdrop highlights quirky nooks and alcoves, pushing them back and creating the illusion of extra space. You can also consider painting two parallel walls this shade for a lengthening effect. 

Used sparingly, black paint can be the secret to making a small space feel bigger (not to mention giving the room a chic, modern look).

Our top choices: Cox & Cox Soot (a grounded shade), Cox & Cox Nocturne (luxurious and dark, with a hint of navy)

  • Purple

- Image credit: Studio Milne

Once again, dark colours show us how well they work in small areas of the home. Can you imagine how loud this rich damson purple would be all over a giant living room? By limiting it to a single, smaller space, you still get that intense colour without feeling like you’re trapped inside a giant aubergine. This snug pairs the walls with the furniture and extends the paint all the way down onto the skirting boards, which dissolves the edges of the room. The gold accents finish off this decadent space.

  • White

- Image credit: Jacko Interior Design

The last choice is arguably the most obvious: white. White reflects light, and the more light reflected, the larger a room can feel. If you add a satin or gloss finish to the walls, it will further increase the amount of light reflected.

White pairs well with other accent colours and helps bounce natural sunlight around the room for a spacious, expansive feel. The white brick in this snug makes the room look even brighter along with the wooden flooring and exposed lighting.

Our top choices: Cox & Cox Wick White (a hard-working heritage white), Cox & Cox Flaxen (soft and warm)

Play in the space

Now you know what colours make a room look bigger, what paint will you use in your space? Source home design inspiration from local professionals and paint colours from top retailers – all on the Property Playground. Once you’ve transformed your small space, share your images to inspire others in the Playground community.

Faye deGavre

Content Writer