Paint remains the easiest and quickest way to transform the mood and feel of any room. While small spaces might feel restrictive when it comes to décor and colour selection, there really is no limit to the options available.

Look beyond white

The natural default for home owners looking to make a small space feel bigger, painting a room white from walls to ceiling isn’t necessarily your only option. Classic though it may be, finding the right shade of white to suit your space is not always as simple as it sounds.

Dulux colour consultant Palesa Ramaisa says, “When it comes to interior spaces we would all like to have a space that feels spacious, even though it may not be the case in reality. The key is to select shades that are either neutrals or have cool undertones – so, if you are a little more on the bold side, then I would recommend shades such as green, teal, blue and purple.”

Dulux

As Plascon’s head of decorative marketing Katlego Kondlo explains, “Lighter colours are versatile and effortlessly open and lighten a space. While darker colours absorb light, when applied correctly, they can create an intimate mood in a room and the illusion of more space.”

Plascon

Darker colours have long been a staple of European interiors to create the illusion of more space, but it’s possible to embrace the trend here too, as chalk paint pioneer Annie Sloan reveals. “This will definitely still work in a warm country, especially in north-facing rooms. If you have a south-facing room, a dark colour is less likely to be effective at fooling the eye during the day, as the bright sunlight will make edges and corners more easily visible.

“In this instance, I would recommend choosing a light colour. That way you’re working with your circumstances rather than fighting against them. Don’t try to fight Mother Nature or the architecture of your home. However, if suggesting more space isn’t your number one goal, then using a dark colour can create a very cosy feeling in a small room.”

Annie Sloan

Talking technique

A small space needn’t limit itself to a single shade. When used correctly, certain colour combinations can work wonders to create a seemingly spacious feel.

“Playing with perspective is a witty way to suggest more space,” says Sloan. “Painting a band of darker colour around the base of your wall then a light colour from two thirds of the way up and continuing onto the ceiling will draw the eye upwards and suggest higher ceilings. If you paint wall trims and mouldings in a slightly lightened version of the wall colour, this will make the walls appear further away – although I would only do this with an already light colour to avoid a truncating effect.”

Annie Sloan

Dulux’s Ramaisa adds, “Creating a two-tone wall will make the eye flow throughout the space, making the space seem slightly more open. Vertical and horizontal lines tend to create movement and a sense of fluidity.”

Dulux

While Plascon’s Kondlo is a fan of painting outside the lines, “It’s all about making a statement – and you can create big impact in a small space by colour blocking a wall or making a feature wall. Painted door frames and windows can really frame a space with a different perspective.”

Plascon