10 Paint Colors That Make Small Spaces Feel Bigger

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated March 8, 2022
A woman using her cellphone while relaxing at home
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Is it spacious in here, or is it just the color?

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Whether it’s a tiny living room, cramped dining room, or other awkwardly small space in your home, the wrong paint color can make it feel like the walls are literally closing in. Luckily, with color comes an endless opportunity for optical illusions. Here are the top color choices for opening up a small room.

1. Sandy Beige Tones

A beautiful small living room interior
Photo: bmak / Adobe Stock

Light, sandy beige tones brighten and open up a room, while bringing in an extra touch of warmth. They pair beautifully with sunshine, so they are ideal for rooms with lots of natural light. If you’re into cooler colors, light taupe or greige tones are a great neutral for opening a space up. Either way, these colors are about as versatile as you can get, so you’ve got tons of options for decorating.

2. Light Blue-Greens

A light blue bedroom
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

Blue is well-known for the relaxing effect it has on a room, and that extra touch of green makes the space look even more tranquil. A muted teal or seafoam green can give off the feel of a calm overcast sky or a sea breeze gently coming in, distracting from the confined borders of the room. These colors look great in bedrooms or small living rooms and pair especially well with stark-white trims, furniture, and bedding. Bronze accents and decor will also pop.

3. Warm Golden Tones

A modern scandi boho style bedroom interior
Photo: Aleksandra Konoplya / Adobe Stock

Golden tones light up small rooms and bring in tons of warmth and comfort. The afternoon sunshine will bounce off the warm tones, making the space look radiant and inviting. Adding bright white furniture and painting the trims white adds a beautiful, elegant feel throughout. Accent with metallic golds, olive greens, natural woods, or amethyst for dramatic contrast.

4. Dark Colors

A stylish designed studio apartment
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A lack of windows can make a small living space feel more like a closet. Rather than trying to disguise the size with a light color, lean into that darkness and paint it in a bold, dark hue. 

Whether it’s a tiny bathroom or that awkwardly small room off the kitchen, this creates a moody color statement that will distract from the lack of size. Consider a deep emerald green, midnight blue, or dark teal for a statement-making wall color. 

5. Bright Yellow

A yellow bedroom
Photo: Larissa / Adobe Stock

A bright yellow may seem overwhelming in a large room, yet the cheerful color can really light up a “just passing by” type of area, such as a foyer or mudroom. A warm, sunny yellow is sure to brighten and provide a welcoming feel.

Bright whites and fresh-cut flowers make the space look even more lively and inviting. The color also beautifully accentuates the natural warmth of stained hardwood in foyer flooring, staircases, and front doors.

6. Blush and Peachy Tones

A stylish spring decor in the living room
Photo: Мария Балчугова / Adobe Stock

Blush and peach tones can literally make you see a small room with rose-colored glasses. A bright, creamy peach illuminates a room and goes well with bright white furniture. Blush tones create a cheery feel and pair well with light wood grain and sand tones. You can also contrast the color with dark furniture and decor pieces for tons of visual interest.

7. Cool Light Gray

A light gray living room
Photo: itchySan / E+ / Getty Images

Gray is a classic, versatile color that can suit a wide range of decorative styles. A light, stormy gray brings a sense of peace and calm to a room. This agreeable paint color works especially well in living rooms and bedrooms, though it can work in any small space throughout the home.

8. Off-White

Interior of light kitchen
Photo: ADDICTIVE STOCK / Adobe Stock

Stark whites are always a solid choice to make a room appear larger, but they can also have a manufactured look that may look flat and boring. Consider bright whites with just a kiss of another color. Be it cream, bone, custard, or whatever else suits your personality, the right shade of white offers all the space-enhancing benefits with an extra touch of color. 

9. Light, Earthy Greens

Interior of modern room with comfortable armchair
Photo: Pixel-Shot / Adobe Stock

A light and natural shade of green works wonders in opening up a space by bringing the illusion of the outdoors in. Earthy greens are ideal in well-windowed rooms because they lead the eye right to the greenery outside, make the room feel like a part of it. Plus, if you’re a plant caretaker, your leafy friends will make the space look even more nature-driven. Accent with dark forest greens, white, gold, and natural wood tones. 

10. Bold Accent Wall

A dark gray living room
Photo: photographee.eu / Adobe Stock

A surefire way to eliminate the perceived borders of a small room is to add a brilliantly-colored accent wall. This will act as a focal point, drawing the eye away from the walls on either side. Accent walls are also way more forgiving if you want to add bold or dark colors, such as a bright eggplant, emerald, soft black, or robin’s-egg blue. As a bonus, they’re also a way easier painting project to tackle.

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