Which Colors To Choose for the Illusion of a Larger Living Room
Are you wondering how colors make a room look beautiful or what colors make a room look bigger and brighter? You've come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss the perfect shades and finishes for your living room, based on your desired aesthetic and the natural light that the living room already receives. Read on to learn more.
For South Facing Rooms
Southern exposure rooms will receive more sunshine than other orientations in your home. Sunshine should, for the most part, come through your windows from dawn until dusk, so you should do your best to capture the lighting in a beneficial way.
Choose a color on the whiter, brighter end of the spectrum.
Stark white is the best at reflecting light but can lack personality; you will need to introduce wooden accents, plants, colorful furniture, interesting knick-knacks, or some unique styling to make up for the plainness of the color. Of course, you can always lean into the clean, minimalist look that bright white brings too.
If pure white isn’t your thing, but you still want the light, bright, and airy feel– go for a light taupe color. This tone brightens the room more than bright white, so it feels cozier. This shade has an elegant, rich aesthetic that will make the room feel expensive.
Conversely, you can also go with a cool tone bright color, such as cool grey. While warm shades feel wealthy, cool shades create a fresh, calm, and clean aesthetic. It is crisp, modern, and can go well with painted– rather than wooden– accent colors.
For Northern Exposure Rooms
Rooms on the north side of your home with no eastern or western windows will not receive any direct sunshine during the day. This is your chance to make a bold, moody statement and go the completely opposite direction when it comes to light.
Choose pure black, soft black, dark grey, charcoal, deep navy, or some intense, really moody jewel tones. This effect is best achieved if the entire room, including the ceiling, is dark in color.
Lean into the fact that there won't be any natural light bouncing off the walls. Go dark, paint the walls and ceiling, and be sure to use a matte finish; the walls and ceiling will look like they're further away, thus creating the illusion of a larger room.
Keep in mind that colors that naturally complement the space's natural lighting will be the most effective at making your room look more spacious.
Rooms that just have north-facing windows are the only spaces where matte paint finish is the best choice.
Dark colors, especially if paired with appropriate accents such as gold, or colorful jewel tones, can appear very wealthy, regal, polished, and finished.
For Eastern Facing Rooms
Eastern-facing rooms will only have sunshine in the morning after sunrise. Their window of natural lighting is limited but oh-so-promising and quite romantic.
As the sun comes up in the morning, the world looks moody, cool, and blue. Play off of this beautiful, hopeful moment by choosing coordinating paint shades.
Consider painting with cool colors, such as navy, sage, a light lavender, or cool grey. These colors will seamlessly integrate your room with the outside world, making your space feel larger and more usable.
For Western Exposure Rooms
What colors make a room look bigger and brighter for western-facing rooms? Warm colors that accent the evening hours.
Rooms that have western-facing windows will get that delicious golden hour and the sunset every evening.
The light and mood of evening sunshine is warm, golden, and very, very bright.
If you want your room to work well with this natural lighting, thus making the room feel more spacious, choose a coordinating shade for here as well.
Adobe colors, blush pink, terracotta, muted reds, beiges, or even lighter shades of yellow or orange can do a world of good here.
How to Choose the Finish of the Paint
A satin, semi-gloss, or eggshell finish will allow the sunshine to bounce off the walls easier, and these reflections will really make your space seem larger and more impressive. If your room receives any amount of natural lighting, use one of these three options.
If your space doesn’t get any natural sunlight for any part of the day, it is best to lean into the dark and moody and choose a finish that absorbs light and glares. Matte looks incredible in these spaces. Just remember to always avoid matte paint in rooms that receive any amount of natural lighting; it’s unflattering and makes the room feel significantly smaller.
Creative Uses for Paint to Make Spaces Look Larger
Paint the Ceiling
One creative hack that I love is to paint the ceiling a different color.
An all-white room reflects light well. If you opt to use stark white paint, you may want your ceiling to stay stark white too.
If you chose any other shade, though, consider painting your ceiling.
Light colors on the ceiling of a light-colored room can draw your eye upward and make the room feel a little less stuffy.
Monochromatic rooms, that is, rooms with a similar shade throughout the paint, decor, furniture, and artwork, always appear more extensive than what they really are. For a truly monochromatic room, paint the ceiling to match the walls. If you choose to paint your northern exposure room monochromatic, it’s totally okay to paint the ceiling a dark matte color to match the walls.
Another unique option is to add designs or wallpaper to the ceiling. It directs the eyes upward, adds another element of interest, and makes the room more spacious.
Use Accent Walls
Using one accent wall can make the accent wall appear further away from the rest of the room, enlarging the space.
The color for the accent wall is not nearly as important as you may think. It’s perfectly fine (and usually stunning) to use a dark or otherwise bold color that you would typically shy away from for your accent wall.
Other Ways to Make Your Living Room Look More Spacious
Raise Curtain Rods
This allows you to see more of your window and naturally draws your eyes upward, thus making the space feel taller and grander.
Curtain rods belong close to the ceiling, not at or just barely above the top of the window frame.
Open Blinds and Curtains During the Day (or avoid altogether)
Seeing outside, even if it isn’t the most spectacular view, allows your eye to wander into the outdoors, thus making the room feel larger.
Open the blinds and curtains during daylight hours. If you live in a remote area where they aren’t necessary, consider ditching the blinds and curtains entirely.
Window treatments stop your eye from absorbing the outside view, which will make your living room feel even smaller.
Bring in the Mirrors
Whether the room has windows or not, it will have at least one light source.
Use a mirror, or several mirrors, to further bounce the light around and create the illusion of a more spacious living room. Mirrors are simple, easy, and affordable solutions that are nearly as effective as windows when it comes to brightening up and enlarging a room.
Use Low Profile Couches (that still have legs)
Mid Century modern is the perfect style for this. Shorter couches and chairs automatically make your room feel taller. This makes the space feel larger overall and more welcoming for you and your guests.
Having ‘leggy’ furniture allows you to see more of the floor and for more light to bounce around the room. This is another sneaky optical illusion that makes spaces feel significantly larger than they really are.
Use Your Vertical Space Intelligently
Painted ceilings, floor-to-ceiling narrow shelves (like this floor-to-ceiling mug display), vertical shiplap, and way-up-high shelving are perfect hacks for this one.
For your extra tall shelving, make sure it is a relatively narrow (twelve inches or less) shelf that sits somewhere between six and eighteen inches from the ceiling. This makes your room feel nice and tall, so long as whatever items you place on the shelf fit nicely with at least an inch between them and the ceiling.
This is the perfect way to display plants, books, or other collectible items. The best part about tall shelves is that they rarely interfere with the natural light from windows or skylights, which is optimal for your large-space appearance.
Ensure Clear, Functional Paths
If your living room has two doorways, your furniture may be best suited to sit to one side or the other, rather than be centered in the room. You don’t want to have to weave or walk around your furniture to get from Room A through Room B to get to Room C.
If the space isn’t functional, it’s not going to feel spacious, no matter what color the walls are. Plan ahead and choose function first; the beauty will effortlessly follow.