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Which Paint Colours will Make my Room Look Larger?

By 11/19/2016July 12th, 2021No Comments

I recently received a question with a picture of a bedroom. A reader was selling her home and she wanted to know which colour would make her bedroom look bigger.


If you are searching the web to find a magical colour to make your room look larger, possibly to sell your house, a paint colour all by itself, is not going to do that for you.

However, it is true, that a white or very pale colour will give you the feeling of a more expansive space, but the real truth of the matter is that a room that shows well is about how it feels more than if it looks big.

I polled a few of my True Colour Expert staging professionals and here were some of their comments:

Some rooms need nothing to communicate their fabulousness and can be shown empty. Other rooms die or absolutely confuse without showing a buyer how it should/could be used. Malissa McLeod 

Which Paint Colours will Make my Room Look Larger? | Maria Killam

via Pinterest

So, in case you were looking for the best paint colour to make your room look larger, well first, you should start by choosing the correct undertone. There is no one colour that will do it across the board.

If you are reading this but you’ve already read read 5 posts with headlines that say “Best neutrals that will work in any style of home”, well, no surprise that you’re still reading right?

Because those posts were not useful.

Which Paint Colours will Make my Room Look Larger? | Maria Killam

Understanding Undertones® – The Colour System

Out of the 9 neutral undertones (above), choose the one that relates to your finishes the most. It’s not about choosing the opposite colour on the colour wheel. Choosing the correct neutral is more often about pulling the room together by finding the shade that relates the best.

If your house was decorated in the Tuscan Brown trend and you choose a popular shade of grey because you think that’s current? What you need to keep in mind is that the undertones of many of your fixed finishes are more yellow, pink or green beige. If you choose a green or blue grey, you will be adding an additional colour that doesn’t relate to anything.

A Tuscan house will often look the best painted in SW Wool Skein because while it’s not in the grey category and is actually a green beige, there’s enough yellow in it to relate to those yellow undertones or not fight with the pink undertones and you end up with a colour that feels fresh and takes you away from the feeling of beige.

Malissa went on to say:

 It’s not that furniture will make a room categorically larger or smaller – what it does is provide human scale and context to a room that might otherwise be difficult for some people to imagine. In the same way (IMO) one can’t categorically state that a light paint colour will make a room larger and a dark paint will make a room smaller – it always depends on the context.

Many years ago I wrote a post about John Saladino’s definition of human scale that was really interesting, you can read it here.

Ginny Truyens, a Stager and True Colour Expert in Toronto sent in these photos:

“Furniture definitely gives context to an empty space and selecting the right pieces is key to making a small space FEEL larger.

We use white/off white solid coloured, proportionally scaled sofas; glass tables, mirrors, no pattern or subtle pattern in an area rug and art work to bring the eye up and move around the room.

Using reflective pieces as glass, mirror, metals… helps bring more light into a space; which helps to expand it. Using chairs, tables…with tall legs to see more floor space, also helps to expand the perception of more space.”

Which Paint Colours will Make my Room Look Larger? | Maria Killam

{ Before }Submitted by Ginny Truyens

Which Paint Colours will Make my Room Look Larger? | Maria Killam

{After}  Design by Ginny Truyens, True Colour Expert

Carolyn Soltesz from Style it Home said

We know that only 10% of the buying population has the ability to imagine what they cannot see. An empty room is lifeless, while requiring the ability to visualize furniture placement and function of the space.

Placement of properly scaled and demographically pleasing furnishings will not only show ample size of the room but create the emotional connection that sells the home. Unless you are in a very hot market,vacant rooms often translate to necessary price reductions In order to grab attention from the bargain hunters!

Thanks to my True Colour Experts for adding their expertise to this post!

Terreeia and I popped into an Open House in Siesta Key, Florida (below) when we were there last weekend. The walls were entirely painted in a dark, pink beige shade and the house was completely decorated in the Tuscan trend.

Which Paint Colours will Make my Room Look Larger? | Maria Killam

When we were leaving, I thought I’d give the real estate agent a colour to re-paint the walls if the place did not sell, so I asked her how long it had been on the market.

She quickly replied ’38 days’ because there’s so much space and because it’s ‘So beautiful’.

I left without saying a word.

One of my new True Colour Experts from my course in Upper Montclair this past week said she had been looking to buy in Florida for a long time but even the brand new subdivisions are still building dated Tuscan homes.

Specify Colour with Confidence | Maria Killam

Maria Killam and Marianne Pawlicki

Here’s my class in Upper Montclair, New Jersey from last week!

Specify Colour with Confidence | Maria Killam

New Jersey Class | Photo by Melissa Bolinger

Check out my new blue suede shoes from Stuart Weitzman!

Loved this class so much! We really had an amazing three days! I’ve done so much on-line consulting with clients in the East, it’s no surprise that I was in 4 cities here this Fall. I probably should have been born a New Yorker since I’m as blunt as them, haha.

Two designers who worked together came up to me at the end of the class and said they wished they had attended five years ago!

So don’t wait, I’ll be posting my Spring schedule shortly!

I Love New York | Maria Killam

I’m in Manhattan this weekend, this is the view from our hotel room. I love New York so I can’t hold a course this close and then not stay for the weekend even though I sure miss being home!

Follow me on Instagram to see more of New York this weekend, we’re home Monday night!

Related posts:

Styling, Waxing and Country Living in New York State

I Heart New York: Where to Start When Defining Your Look

What It’s Like to Be the Boss of a New York Magazine


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