Colour Theory: How to use paint to create visual effects in your home

Not everyone is lucky enough to live in houses that are in proportion, Do you have awkward shaped ceilings, low ceilings? Small narrow hallways and tiny little box rooms you don't know what to do with?

If this sounds like your place then don't worry, there is a paint technique that can help minimise all the awkward spaces that we all have in our homes. Let me show you how....


Using Colour to make a tall ceiling appear lower


Using a darker tone on the ceilings and by bringing the colour slightly down the wall, as demonstrated in these pics, helps visually lower the height of a space and also creates a feeling of intimacy. You don't have to go for black, as these pictures show, just use a colour that is slightly darker than your wall paint to achieve the same effect.  


Using Colour to make a low ceiling appear taller

There are a few ways to help make a low ceiling appear taller. One of these is to paint vertical stripes on the wall, but that's quite a statement and not to everyones taste!

A simpler way is to paint the ceiling lighter than the walls, the ceiling will appear to float above the walls and give you the perceived height you are after. 

Another option, if you have any moulding or cornice, is to paint this the same colour as the walls and again paint the ceiling a lighter shade than the walls.

The last option, and my particular favourite, is to paint everything the same colour, your skirting, walls and ceiling all one colour! Your traditional painter and decorator may have kittens when you ask them to do this but trust me this is the best way to make your room appear bigger. The boundaries of where the wall ends and the ceiling begins are blurred and without this definition of the boundaries between wall and ceiling the eye will read it as one thus giving you the height you want.


Using Colour to make a small room appear bigger

I imagine this is probably one of the key problems many of you face as not many of us are blessed with massive rooms. One of the most commonly held beliefs about how the best way to make your room feel larger is to paint everything in similar tonal light colours. When there isn't a huge variation in colour between the floor, walls and ceiling you create a feeling of space as your eye can't detect any definite edges, I appreciate that not everyone wants to rip up the carpets that they have and paint the floorboards a colour to match the walls and ceilings to help create that feeling of space, but what you can easily do is paint the walls and ceiling the same colour, this alone will help make the space feel airier and grander instantly. The use of lots of reflective surfaces, i.e mirrors and the like also help bounce light around the room, but more of that later! 

I believe and many others do too, that if you have a really small box like room or hallways with not much natural light the best thing to do is not fight it and to embrace the darkness and paint everything in a dark colour. This has the same effect of blurring the boundaries of where the the floor finishes, the walls finish and the ceiling starts. If painting your room a really dark colour is a little frightening then another quick and easy way to make your room feel bigger is by painting your hallway in a dark colour so all the rooms leading off it will feel large and brighter and airier by comparison. You don't have to go really dark, just a couple of tones darker than any of the other rooms will give you the desired effect.


Using Colour to make a floor area seem bigger



An easy way to make the floor area seem bigger is to paint the skirting boards the same colour as the floor, again this helps blur the boundaries of where the floor finishes and the skirting begins and gives the illusion that its all one expanse.

If this isn't possible in your house the use of one single colour or material on the floor will help create a seamless transition through the rooms of your house and will help make the floor area seem bigger as there isn't any break point. You can do this by having one single colour carpet or tiles run throughout your home or you if you have wooden floor boards you can choose skirting boards in the same colour to achieve the same effect.


I hope this helps give you an idea as to how you can use colour to create visual effects in your own house, If you have any other queries about how to decorate your room in order to maximise the feeling of space or help hide any awkward small spaces then please get in touch, I would love to help

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