Using Paint to Make a Room Pop

Paint advice for creating an arresting visual effect

The right paint can dramatically transform a room. By following specific paint tips, you can make a large room seem smaller and more intimate, or make a small room seem larger and more spacious. You can make the walls seem to "jump out" at you, or create a sense of movement and rhythm by using advanced painting techniques. Your success depends on choosing paint, colors, and techniques carefully, realizing that each choice you make has a profound influence on the overall effect of the room.

Paint Advice: Make a Large Room Seem Smaller

The single most effective way to make a large room seem more intimate is to paint it using a "warm" color, such as red or a bright shade of yellow or orange. If you'd rather not go with so bold a color, you can also create a sense of intimacy by choosing a rich, intense hue or shade. Dark brown, forest green, deep gray and aquamarine are all good choices. Remember, the greater a color's saturation, the more pronounced this effect will be.

Paint Tips for Making a Small Room Seem Larger

One of the best ways to increase the sense of spaciousness in a small room is to use "cool" colors, such as icy blues and pale greens. These colors do more than create a "mood" in the room; they also boost the effect of natural light, and the visual cues they create make your brain perceive the walls as being further away than they really are. To maximize the effect, add "cool colored" furnishings that are the same color as your walls.

Alternately, you can choose to paint your moldings a lighter color than the walls themselves, which will make them seem to "recede" into the distance and create a striking effect that adds to the sense of space. Some paint experts also recommend using horizontal striping on the walls, as this creates a sense of outward movement.

Above all, remember that color intensity is the best way to make walls "pop." Rich, highly saturated colors and bold hues go a long way to grab attention, so spend some time mixing and matching color choices, and don't be afraid to get creative.