Can You Really Make a Room Bigger with Color?

© Kelly Berg

I get asked this question a lot.

The answer is no. No, you can not make a room bigger with color. No matter what colors you paint your walls, ceiling, trim...no matter what color your drapes and flooring...no matter what color your furniture and accessories, the actual square footage of a space will never change with even the most expertly designed color palette.

However, you've probably noticed I left out the word "appear." What happens when we rephrase the question to read "Can you Really Make a Room Appear Bigger with Color?"

The answer to this question gets a little more complicated.

Yes and no. Yes, there are times when using a particular color or combination of colors can help a space feel grander than it is. Contrary to popular opinion, however, I have never found white to be the antidote to a small-feeling room. My mantra: The bigger the color, the bigger the space. Within reason, of course. In my experience, bigger, bolder colors demand more of our attention and have much more visual volume, or depth, therefore "filling up" a space and giving it the appearance of being larger.

But you're still not going to change the square footage, so the answer is also still no.

But all that aside, when I'm asked this question I usually respond with "Why does the room need to be or appear bigger?"
© Kelly Berg
Most often, size is not the biggest problem. Yes, sometimes it can be. A room can simply be too small to function like it needs to. (But - again - you will not change the usable square footage through color alone.) But more often than not, when someone is concerned about making a room feel bigger, what they usually feel is that it lacks character. That it lacks a mood. That it lacks any sort of interest at all.

And that is where color steps in and does its magic. Because, although it won't be able to add an addition to your master bedroom, it can bring character, mood and interest to a space. It can make your room feel full of life. It can make a space sing. It can make you fall in love. (Yes. In love with a room. It really can happen!) And when you love something, who cares what size it is?


Do you want your space to sing? Give me a call or shoot me an email to discuss your project at 650.867.3896 / kelly@artestyling.com
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