What paint colours will make a room look large and bright?

Updated April 17, 2017

Choosing the right paint colours for your walls can make the difference between a small, dark room and a comfortable, inviting space. Choose paint colours that will make your room look large and bright.

Light neutrals

To create the illusion of a larger space and make a room look brighter, paint in light, neutral colours like tan, beige and shades of off-white. Light colours reflect light, while neutral shades recede into the background, de-emphasising the dimension of the space.

Stripe pattern

Use stripes to make a small or short room look larger. Vertical stripes draw the eye up, making the ceiling look higher, while horizontal stripes draw the eye across, making a space appear wider. Paint 7.5 to 12.5 cm (3 to 5 inch) wide stripes in alternating shades of the same colour, such as beige and cream or gold and lighter yellow.

Focal points

Choose a focal point in the room, such as a fireplace or window, and paint that wall a dramatic colour. A focal point in warm gold or dark red, in contrast to lighter, softer colours on the other walls, will attract attention to that area and de-emphasise the size of the room.


If you choose to paint the room in deep colours, finish the walls with a coat of polyurethane. The finish will reflect light and brighten the room.

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About the Author

Lane Madison is a freelance writer and editor with over eight years experience as a corporate paralegal. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and English and a paralegal certificate. Her writing has been published on various websites.