3 Interior Paint Ideas to Brighten A Small Room

It isn’t uncommon to have one or two small rooms in the house with poor lighting. Improving the lighting in the room and repainting the walls with warmer colors can make a huge difference. If the paint sequence in a small room is too dark, the room will appear smaller in size and depth. The following tips will help you significantly brighten a small, drab room.

Paint the Ceiling Extra White

The two before and after pictures on the left illustrate the effect of painting a dark ceiling white. This was a relatively small bedroom ceiling that we painted, using one coat of primer, followed by two coats of Sherwin Williams Extra White (7006) in a flat finish.

You can see that even with the lights turned on the bedroom looks like a cave in the first picture. We always paint ceilings with the brightest white paint available because it makes a room appear taller, and bigger.

Extra White (7006) is my number one color choice ceilings and closets because it’s the brightest white available in the Sherwin Williams color book. We use it for trim a lot too.

If you prefer a slightly tinted white, check out Pure White (7005). If the room is super small, you might also consider painting the ceiling in an eggshell finish, instead of flat. The eggshell finish will reflect the light to naturally brighten the room. Flat paint absorbs light.

Neutrals and Off-Whites

Warm neutral paints, like the ones in the two pictures above, work great for small rooms. I would avoid colors like dark blues, greens and brown. Lighter green, yellow, or blue, is alright. I definitely recommend looking at some of the warm neutral paint sample colors from Sherwin Williams. You might want to also check out the list of the 50 most popular Sherwin Williams paint colors and their color visualizer tool. The tools allows you to upload a picture of the room you’re painting, and experiment by dragging and dropping different colors into the image.

Off-whites are even brighter than tan and make a huge difference when painted in smaller rooms. Off-whites are still dark enough that they won’t blend in with the white of a ceiling, and still provide a little contrast. Off-whites are also great because there are hundreds of samples to choose from, unlike tan. Most paint stores have helpful pamphlets exclusively for off-white samples.

Paint Paneling and Trim

Like the walls, painting brown paneling and trim white will brighten a room a lot. If the wood base board in the room you’re painting is brown, paint it white. The downside to painting stained, unpainted wood, is that it requires a little preparation before painting. You need to sand the wood to remove the protective finish, prime with oil-based primer sealer, and paint at least two coats.

Old paneling is a terrible eye-sore, and it makes a small room look smaller. Painting paneling is a big project that, like unpainted base board, requires the same preparation procedures to prevent the paint from chipping or rubbing off easily. I painted the brown 70s paneling in my small basement, which made the room look brand new, and much bigger than before.

Category: Interior Paint Color Ideas, Interior Painting Ideas

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