There’s an abundance of advice regarding how to decorate a small space, especially when it comes to paint colour! Some designers swear that white is the best choice as it reflects light making your space feel open and airy. Others encourage the use of a darker or bolder colour with the intention of creating depth and space. So what are the colour rules for a small room? The truth is, there are no rules! The goal is simply to make the space personal, and make it work for you. If you’re planning on painting a foyer, hallway, mudroom, bathroom, small bedroom or tiny study, read on for some great suggestions. 


White: Light, bright walls are reflective making a small space feel open and airy while maximizing the effects of natural light. Be careful with stark white, since it can make a room feel cold. Opt for tones of cream, butter or ivory as well as whites with a touch of grey, green, blue or even pink.

Pale shades expand a space visually by making the walls recede. Pale blues, greens, grays, browns, and lavenders (with blue or green undertones) are great choices. 

Warm colours are associated with the sun, warmth and fire; evoking strong feelings. Yellows, reds, oranges, and reddish purples and browns create an intimate feeling. Painting the ceiling the same hue will create a cozy cocoon. 

Cool colours evoke the image and feel of water and include shades of blue, green and purple. They make a small room light and airy.

Bold colours are bright, rich, vibrant and noticeable! They create drama. Opt for comforting red, cornflower blue, tangerine orange or canary yellow. Don’t be afraid of bold choices for small spaces!

Deep colours are intense, saturated and pure. They make the space soothing and cozy. Try deep red, emerald green, deep turquoise, indigo blue and deep aubergine. Layer varying shades of the same colour in your trim, floors and/or rugs and window treatments for a unified feel. Or, paint one wall a deeper shade that will recede visually, making the space appear larger. Choose high gloss products to reflect light. 

Dark colours absorb light, cast shadows and blur the edges of the room making it seem larger. They make you feel cozy and secluded and trick the eye into thinking that the room has more natural light. Paint walls opposite windows a cool, dark colour to absorb light in too-bright rooms. Try a dark colour on the window wall with lighter colours opposite to reflect light back into a room. Paint three walls in a room with light color and paint one wall a warm, dark colour to bring the dark wall closer and make it a focal point. Try dark blue, navy, dark green, deep red, burgundy, dark brown, deep purple, deep russet, black and/or charcoal. 

Earth tones and neutrals are great for small spaces. Soft shades of grey, green or yellow lighten a small room. They make the walls visually recede allowing the room to appear larger and focusing attention on the room’s accessories.

Specialty techniques: Faux finishes and specialty techniques add character to a small space. Try painting the ceiling a darker colour and extending the same colour down the wall about 14 inches. Use metallic stripes with a chair rail and lighter colour below for a terrific look.

When it comes to picking paint for a small space, choose a colour you love! You really can’t go wrong! Not up for the job of taping, sanding, priming and painting? Call a local residential painting company. They have the knowledge, skill and experience to create an awesome space for you.


Have a small space that needs refreshing? Need help painting a small room? Call the Calgary residential painting experts, Cal Res Coatings at (403) 835-4817. We’re a residential painting contractor that strives for quality, has an eye for detail and colour, and will not rest until your job is done to your satisfaction. Request a free quote today.

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