GIF Magic: See How Color Changes a Super Small Space

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

The coziness of a small space — or the closed-in, cramped feeling of one — isn’t always due to how few square feet it is. What you fill a small room with matters, for sure. But another vital element is the color you coat the room in. Conventional wisdom has always advised to use lighter colors to make walls recede (and a room feel larger) and to avoid darker hues (which might make the walls feel like they’re closing in), but that’s just not always the case. Sometimes a dark color can make a room feel even cozier. From deep, dramatic shades, to warm colors versus cool colors, see how a rainbow of hues changes the way this small bedroom looks and feels.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The real-life bedroom digitally manipulated in this GIF Magic post is Tomoko and Michael’s small sleep space in Brooklyn. The original walls the couple lives with are a crisp white that complement a masterfully minimal bedroom perfectly. I love the bedroom just the way it is, but it also makes a great canvas I can Photoshop color on to show you the ways different hues affect a space.

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Below, use the sliders to see the original (perfect) white-walled bedroom on the left and a color on the walls on the right. Pay attention to your initial gut reaction to how the room looks — is it a color you’ve historically loved or hated, and how do you think it looks aesthetically when it’s up on walls? But then compare the side-by-side images to see how the two different wall colors can make a small room feel. It’s a fun visual exercise, but it might even inspire your own wall paint color makeover, no matter the sizes of your home’s rooms!

Though many people might not consider black an actual “color,” there’s no denying the dramatic impact it can have on any space, especially a small one! Personally, it feels cozy to me and not too cramped at all. But you can check out more inspiration to see if it’s the shade for you.

Gray has been *the* neutral for years now, so I thought it only prudent to show how taking black down a few notches (if you don’t like the intensity) can still add depth and coziness to a space.

And yes, even a light, pale gray can add a little something extra to a space that white walls don’t have, if the above shades are just too much for you.

Millennial pink is the new *it* color for home decor accessories, and I don’t care if it’s trendy — I love it. I wanted to try it out on a wall, but I think it might be better a little dustier in hue and on a textured textile versus a wall. What do you think? It does seem to work beautifully in this London house.

I was inspired by this recent St. Louis home and its walls for the color I chose above. I’m not often someone who goes for the color blue or turquoise for my home, so I’m always surprised how much I love it when I see it used on walls.

I will never not love this Minneapolis living room and its deep, stunning, blue-green walls (Dragonfly by Benjamin Moore). To me it’s one of those colors that adds coziness and drama without feeling claustrophobic, and I love it as a dark alternative to black or gray.

I wasn’t inspired by any particular rooms when I tried on a rich plum hue; it’s just always been a color I liked. On the fence about it as a small room wall color, though.

1970s-style, intense mustard yellows I love. Pale yellows? Not so much. I wanted to see if I’d like it in a small space — would it still bring cheeriness but also make the room feel airy? I’m not into it.

I appreciate shades of green as a neutral in a room. I think the softer, mossy shades evoke a calming sense of nature, and they seem to make any wood finishes in room feel so lovely. So it doesn’t surprise me that I like it here.

You heard it here first: Red’s the next latest color to make a big comeback in interiors. And we’re talking about an intense, crimson red. You could stick to accessories, or you could go wild and use it as a wall color. I think it works!