When decorating smaller spaces, you may feel restricted on the colours you can have. Especially when darker colours are associated with making rooms seem smaller. So many of us are inclined to opt for a traditional white to give an illusion of space. However, this too can actually create a small, dull room lacking imaginative flair.
To better understand the colours that compliment smaller rooms, and the way we can use paint to optimize the size of the room, we talk to Charlotte Cosby, head of creative at craftsmen in paint and paper Farrow & Ball, who shares her top tips for decorating small rooms and bringing the walls within to life.
“Before painting your room it’s important to consider the amount of natural light and the direction the room faces, as this will have a significant impact on the appearance of each colour,” says Farrow & Ball’s Charlotte Cosby.
If you’re wanting to use a light colour
She adds: “We often think the only way to create light and space in a small room is to paint it crisp white, but try using an off-white for a softer, more interesting alternative. Warm, yellow toned neutrals such as White Tie or Matchstick are best for reflecting light.
You can have bold colours in smaller rooms
“For those who wish to be bolder with their colour choice, then strong colours often soften a room and are the perfect distraction from its size and shape. Using our colours such as Radicchio or Studio Green can help create an inviting retreat, while adding impact and depth to a room.”
“Using a single colour in a room is a clever way to create more space. With no point of reference and without contrasts, you’re less aware of where things stop and start. Try applying just one colour such as Vardo or Pitch Blue over the picture rail and up onto the ceiling to make the room feel higher and give an illusion of loftiness.
Painting the woodwork dark can help create an airier room
“If you’re hoping to use two colours in your room, consider choosing a darker shade for your woodwork to accent the scheme. By brushing a paler colour onto the largest wall space, you’ll create a brighter feel, while the darker trim gives you a very sophisticated, elegant look. We’ve found that when skirting boards are very dark, it makes everything above them look lighter and airier. Try Mahogany, Railings or Mouse’s Back for a contemporary touch.
“Painting your own dado is another brilliant way of creating a more spacious feel with just two colours. Try painting the bottom half of the wall with darker shades such as Railings or Blue Ground to really anchor the room. By brushing on a lighter paint such as Purbeck Stone or Ammonite above, you’ll find the paler colour of the wall will then flow into the ceiling to help delineate your small space.
If you’re unsure, experiment with bolder colours in less lived-in rooms
“It’s worth remembering that it can be just as effective to embrace the darkness of a small room by using strong colours such as Pelt or Brinjal to create a dramatic, intimate feel. Cloakrooms and powder rooms offer the perfect opportunity to inject bold colour without committing to larger, more lived-in rooms in the home.”
Renowned for its depth of colour and rich pigments, each of Farrow & Ball’s 132 paints respond extraordinarily to the changes of light throughout each day to create a uniquely beautiful look in spaces both large and small.