painting techniques room size

Paint is a simple and cost-effective way to dramatically change the look and feel of a room. Aside from changing the color of the walls and ceiling, the painting techniques you use can give the illusion that you’ve changed the size of the room. Whether you’d like your room to feel cozier, bigger, or even like the ceiling is taller, several room-painting tricks can completely transform your space.

Color choice is also a phenomenal tool that can have a significant psychological effect on the ways we perceive the space we're in. The human eye is naturally drawn to light; painting with white or light colors is good for accent walls. A brighter wall color also has the effect of making things feel further away. Light and warm colors feel inviting, while dark and cool shades can be calming. Dark colors also absorb light, which has the effect of making things feel closer and smaller.

The color you choose is also important, as it can impact how you feel in your room. Numerous studies have been conducted on color psychology. Blues are calming and relaxing, browns and purples can help with productivity, yellows are warm and inviting, greens are refreshing and connect us to nature, and oranges are attention-grabbing and energizing.

Need to see it to believe it? Let's look at some examples of how color combinations and various wall painting schemes can impact a room's perceived size.

1. Expand the Room

Suppose there's a room in your house that feels tight and cramped. If you cannot knock down walls or make any structural changes, painting the whole room a shade of white or another light hue is the easiest way to make it feel more spacious.

Room Painting Technique Expand the Room

2. Raise the Ceiling

Another way to create the perception of a larger space is by painting the walls a darker color and leaving the ceiling white. This gives the appearance of taller ceilings and vertically expands the space.

Room Painting Technique Raise the Ceiling

As you can see, the darker the walls are in comparison to the ceiling, the more dramatic this technique will be.

3. Narrow the Room

If your room feels too wide, an easy solution is to paint opposing walls a darker color. Dark colors absorb light, which has the effect of making walls appear closer to you.

Room Painting Technique Narrow the Room

This technique is perfect for spaces that run long because it makes the walls feel more proportionate.

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4. Draw Attention to One Wall

We’ve all seen accent walls created by painting one wall a different color than the rest, but another way to draw the eye to one wall, in particular, is by doing the inverse. Painting one wall a light color and the rest of the walls and ceiling a darker color. By doing so, you have an instant focal wall.

Room Painting Technique Draw Attention to One Wall

Our eyes are drawn to lighter shades, so the focal wall would be perfect for highlighting a favorite piece of art or furniture.

5. Elongate the Room

Our eyes love to follow contrasting lines. Take advantage of this if you need to elongate a short room! Paint the ceiling and one wall a dark color, and leave the other walls white.

Room Painting Technique Elongate the Room

The white walls in this room painting technique will make the room feel wider and the eye will be drawn to the sharp lines of contrast created by the dark ceiling.

6. Shrink the Room

Bigger is not always better, as may be the case for rooms that feel oversized and empty. If you need your space to feel more cozy and intimate, there’s an easy fix. Pick a darker color and put it everywhere!

Room Painting Technique Shrink the Room

Dark colors on all the walls and the ceiling will give your room the visual effect of a smaller space. Again, this is because dark colors absorb light and make the walls feel closer.

7. Stretch the Room Horizontally

If you’re looking to widen a narrow room, this is one of the trickiest painting techniques because it can be impacted by where the line is drawn and what other elements are in the room (furniture, wall art, fireplaces, etc), but it is possible! You’ll need to paint the ceiling and the bottom half of your walls white and the top half of the walls a dark color.

Room Painting Technique Stretch the Room Horizontally

This sandwiching effect of dark between light makes the space appear wider.

8. Lower the Ceiling

Rooms with tall ceilings are beautiful, but a tall ceiling often feels large and grand rather than cozy. If you're looking for a cozier vibe that is less expansive, one way to achieve this effect is by painting the ceiling a darker color than the walls.

Room Painting Technique Lower the Ceiling

Since dark colors absorb light, this technique will make the ceiling feel lower and closer, instantly making the room feel intimate and inviting.

9. Shorten the Room

Depending on the layout of your house, you may have a room that seems to stretch on into eternity. One easy way to shorten things up is by painting the back wall a dark color.

Room Painting Technique Shorten the Room

This effectively brings the room to a definite end, making that back wall feel closer.

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10. Make the Room Taller

In addition to painting all the walls one dark color (see above), if your room has low ceilings, vertical stripes are an eye-catching way to make the space feel taller.

Room Painting Technique Make the Room Taller

Vertical stripes draw the eye upwards, which gives the appearance of elevated ceilings.

11. Make the Room Wider

Another option for widening a narrow room is by painting horizontal stripes.

Room Painting Technique Make the Room Wider

Just like vertical stripes draw the eye upward, horizontal stripes seem to stretch a room by drawing the eye outwards. This room painting technique can expand your space in a striking way.

12. Draw Attention Upwards

Perhaps you don’t need to change the size of your room, but you’re hoping to direct attention away from old flooring or some other eyesore in the lower half of your space. One way to do this is by drawing the eye upwards using exposed beams. Painting them a fresh color redirects attention where you want it.

Room Painting Technique Draw Attention Upwards

If you’re looking for an easy way to transform your space and aren’t afraid of using color, choose a painting technique above and see what it does for you. Make your space work better for you!

REtipster Room Painting Techniques

About the author

Seth Williams is the Founder of - an online community that offers real-world guidance for real estate investors.

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