Wondering how to make a small room look bigger? Most people crave spacious homes. But, sadly, the reality is often quite different. The good news: If your bedroom or office feels cramped, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start knocking down walls or building additions to create a more open, airy ambiance. We have some answers!

How to make a small room look bigger

A room’s size, after all, is as much a matter of perception as it is the nitty-gritty square footage. One easy way to create the illusion of space is to carefully choose the paint you slap on those walls.

Read on to learn what colors make a room look bigger, and get to it!


Designers love covering a tiny room in white paint, which promises to make even the smallest spaces feel a bit more grand. Because white reflects light, the room will feel brighter and more open. Plus, white walls give homeowners unlimited freedom to decorate (or even pick a fun, bright accent wall).

“White will make any room appear bigger and complement the natural lighting,” says Than Merrill, a real estate investor and host of A&E’s “Flip This House.”


Yellow reflects light well
Yellow reflects light wellvicnt/iStock

White isn’t the only color that reflects light: Yellow walls can have the same space-enhancing effect. In fact, neutral yellow creates a softer alternative to white. Just make sure you’re not going too yellow. Consider combining your citrus shade with white accents, like beadboard or trim, to add dimension to the room. Just keep the yellow creamy and soft—think banana or dandelion, not neon. Oversaturation is a real concern.

Cool blue and green

Cool blue colors can be quite soothing
Cool blue colors can be quite soothingStockernumber2/iStock

Blue and green can also impart brightness and depth. Our brains perceive these “cool” colors as receding, or being further away, creating the illusion of distance. Consider a sea-foam green or a soft, calming teal. Painting the molding and baseboards white will add clarity and dimension to your colorful space.


If white doesn’t strike your fancy but you still want a neutral palette (which, in addition to helping impart the perception of size, is also recommended for home staging), consider covering your walls in gray. Look for a gentle, calming shade that reminds you of soft summer clouds. Like white and yellow, it bounces light around the room to expand the space. But, unlike white, there’s no glare.

Deep jewel tones

While it might seem counterintuitive, dark, jewel-toned walls don’t have to feel confining. Consider rich, dynamic colors such as sapphire, emerald, or amethyst. Deep colors give the room a cavernous feel, softening sharp corners and blending the walls. This is especially effective in making extra-small rooms, like bathrooms, feel private and secluded. Just keep in mind that going dark can be a risky proposition: The wrong undertone or sheen could send your room wildly off balance (terms such as “cavelike” or “forbidding” come to mind). Consult a paint expert to help you choose the right color.

Monochromatic schemes

If you choose a lighter, softer color (like white, gray, or yellow), consider using a monochromatic scheme throughout the entire space. Choose rugs, furniture, and accents in similar shades—like a patterned rug in white and light gray. This creates a minimalist, clean look that makes the entire space feel larger. And that was the whole point, right?