7 Designer Tricks That Will Make Any Space Look More Open

If your space feels cramped instead of cozy, it may not be just the square footage — it could be the paint color. Give yourself a little more breathing room with these seven pro tricks that will make your space feel more expansive.

1. Paint a Dark or Paneled Ceiling White

A traditional living room with a white shiplap ceiling
Photo: HomeBunch

If your dark room needs a fix, look up. A ceiling painted a dark color, or one of dark paneling or wood can bring the whole place down. Make it feel airier and cleaner by painting the ceiling a light, balanced neutral, like Delicate White.

2. Lighten Up the Floors

White cottage bedroom with blue painted floors
Photo: Remodelista

The lighter floor color can make a room look bigger, too. Pale carpet, a bright throw rug or painted wood floors instantly improve the mood of the room. One ideal choice for painted floors? Porch gray. This battleship hue was leftover after the war years, and many homes used it on their porches because it was practical and wore well with foot traffic. Use Outdoor Frost to capture this post-war spirit.

3. Paint Walls and Trim the Same Color

An English cottage-style attic with green walls and ceiling
Photo: Pinterest

One way to make your space seem larger is to paint walls and trim the same color. That way, your eye isn’t stopped as it travels through the room. For example, this small attic bedroom looks wider and taller thanks to the matching green walls and trim. Copy this bright look with Leap Frog.

4. Match Furniture and Walls

Neutral gray living room with gray transitional furniture
Photo: Architectural Digest

Paint color plays a significant role in how a room feels, size-wise, but it’s not the only actor in the production. Furniture has a starring role, too. So keep your furniture in the same color family as the walls for a style that’s ready for its closeup.

5. Go Low and Leggy

Romantic pink living room
Photo: West Elm

While we’re talking furniture, give your paint color a boost by choosing furnishings that are low and leggy. The flow profile leaves more wall above the furniture, making the room seem taller, while the furniture legs keep things airy. P.S. Paint the fireplace the same color as the walls — it’s the same principle as #3. Love this light pink? Try Touchable.

6. Paint It Dark

Dining room painted dark teal
Photo: House Beautiful

It’s counter-intuitive to think that a dark color can make a room look bigger. But dark colors recede, so painting a room a dark hue creates the feeling of depth, thus masking its size. Adding bright furniture and light- or mid-toned wood creates a fun, expansive style.

7. Camouflage Built-Ins

Teal living room with matching teal bookshelves
Photo: Apartment Therapy

Built-in bookshelves and media units can be space hogs, but they don’t have to look at it. Unify your space by painting them the same color as the walls. Tip: This works with freestanding units, too — and (bonus) it gives the illusion that they’re expensive built-ins. Go for a rich hue like Deep Emerald.

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