How to Use Color to Change a Room
Color can change a room by creating a mood, disguise flaws, and create illusions. Knowing how to use color in a room reinforces your design ideas.
To make a room look bigger, use light, cool colors to create an atmospheric look. Paint all surfaces the same color and match the upholstery to the flooring. Add interest with contrasting textures.
To make a room seem cozier, use medium-toned, warm neutrals. Decorative wall features like wainscoting or paneling also add warmth. Use contrasting paint for paneling, and either match or contrast the molding.
To make a ceiling look higher, use white paint or at least a shade lighter than the walls. Keep floors relatively light.
To make a lofty ceiling seem lower, bring the ceiling color down a foot or so into the wall. It sounds strange, but when you are looking up at a 10 or 12 foot ceiling, you won't see the line; it will just look like the ceiling is only 8 or 9 feet tall.
To shorten a long, rectangular room, paint or paper the long narrow walls in light, cool colors to make them recede. Make the short walls advance by using a dark, warm color.
To narrow a wide room, use deeper, warm neutrals on long walls, and lighter cool tints on shorter walls.
To darken a high ugly ceiling, use black, dark gray, midnight blue, or even the same dark, intense color (such as hunter green or chocolate brown) you may be using on a wall.
If the room has varying ceiling heights, don’t hesitate to paint them different colors. Paint a raised ceiling white or a light contrasting color.
To distract attention from dropped acoustical tile ceilings, paint them the same color as the wall. The acoustical tile ceiling will seem to disappear. Hooray!