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August 23rd, 2019 6 Ways to Maximize your Space with Paint

Are you feeling claustrophobic in your home? Tiring of your shoebox-sized apartment? Is your home’s old-world charm no longer making up for its tiny living spaces? In New Orleans, a city full of historical homes dating hundreds of years, protecting the integrity of space is always a priority. However, in century-old home design, some rooms dwarf in comparison to their modern equivalents. Pint-sized bathrooms, cramped kitchens, and barely-there bedrooms force us to juggle historical integrity and modern needs for space. Before you start tearing down walls or browsing classified ads for a new housing situation, consider maximizing your space with paint! While painting your walls does not actually increase square footage, using the right shades and techniques can make your space appear bigger.

1. Use Light Colors

white space

Lighter shades have the ability to reflect natural sunlight and brighten your room. Dim, dinghy, or dark spaces tend to make walls feel closer together than they actually are. Choosing a bright paint shade such as a crisp white or a soft light color allows your walls to reflect light rather than absorb it. Features such as bright white walls, ceilings, trim, and molding also help achieve this reflective effect. Using whites and light colors prevents the walls from visually closing in. Besides white, blue, green and grey tones achieve this effect quite well. The cooler shades add depth to your space while still reflecting light. 

2. Add Shine to Space

Instead of traditional matte finishes, in smaller spaces, consider opting for a satin or eggshell finish. Flat finishes do not have the ability to reflect light in the ways finishes with shine can.  In order to make spaces look larger, designers often add mirrors to create the illusion of more wall space. While matte finishes create stagnancy,  a shined finish can create a mirrorlike effect that reflects light and draws the eye around the room. Consider adding shine in unexpected places like molding and your ceiling to help subtly catch the light. We love Fine Paints of Europe for these high-gloss shades. 

white space high gloss

3. Add a Strong Style Element

Strong style elements help your eye focus on a specific space instead of the room as a whole. Elements such as accent walls and stripes create an illusion of more space by drawing in your focus. Whether through paint, hardware, furniture, or decoration, in the same way that striped clothing creates a widening look on people, horizontal stripes visually widen rooms. Consider painting an accent wall of horizontal lines in contrasting colors for a dramatic effect, changing up your furnishings or window treatments, or adding in molding for a more subtle look. Accent walls can also help achieve this effect. A bright colored accent wall draws attention visually to one part of the room. Instead of the eye immediately traveling around and noticing the size of the space, an accent wall draws in all attention. 

4. Draw Attention to the Ceiling

By drawing the eye to the ceiling, you can increase the size appearance of your space. By adding elaborate crown molding, intricate ceiling detail, gilding, or simply adding a fresh coat of paint, you can trick the eye into seeing your space as larger. With paint, using bright white shades reflects light back down through the room. A satin or eggshell finish amplifies this effect by reflecting light in a mirrorlike way through your space. Especially in rooms with ample natural lighting and windows, a bright ceiling can filter natural looking light through an entire room. A super clean, bright white makes your space feel lifted and bright. 

ceiling space detail

5. Keep it Simple

simple space

Older homes often had intricately detailed paint or wallpaper to match heavy furniture, intricate molding, and ornate artwork. Stripping that away in favor of simplistic modern design helps increase visual space. Highly detailed wallpaper and paint features draw the eye to the walls for further scrutiny which halts the eyes process of traveling through the space. Ditching these dated details in favor of a clean and simple tone helps keep your space fresh. In terms of furnishings and décor, keeping walls, ceilings, and floors as clean and simple as possible makes spaces feel larger.

6. Use the Same Color Family

Painting walls, ceiling, trim in shades of the same family helps create special continuity. Instead of the eye stopping at contrasting points, this encourages the eye to continuously move around the room creating the illusion of more space. Options include using different shades in the same color family, or painting walls and trim the same color. Both methods create an increased sense of flow. 

Rich blue bathroom

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