Narrow Room Paint Ideas

Updated February 21, 2017

A narrow room can make you feel as if the walls and ceiling are moving to close in on you. It may also give you the impression that there is very little space in the room, and that it will be difficult to decorate. You can change the feel of a narrow room with a few inexpensive painting tips.

Accent Walls

Choose a shade of paint you like. Use a darker shade of that colour on the two shorter walls and a lighter shade on the two longer walls to create a visual impression of a wider room. Or make your shorter walls the accent walls, and paint them a bright colour such as orange. De-emphasise the length of the longer walls by painting them in a lighter contrasting colour such as a light yellow.

Horizontal Stripes

Horizontal stripes on one or both end walls will make a narrow room appear wider. Use a dark colour such as red for the base paint, and add stripes of a colour lighter than the base. Experiment with the width and number of the stripes, or use patterned stripes of different colours to divide your walls. The colour division of the walls will trick your eyes into seeing the room as being wider.

Cool Colors

Cool colours such as light blue or yellow will make a narrow room seem larger. Use a paint with a slightly glossy finish so that both natural and electric lighting will bounce off the walls. This infusion of light with slight colour gives a feeling of expansiveness. Paint the angled part of a narrow attic room's walls and ceiling white or a light eggshell to maximise the light reflection and make the room feel larger. Stick with lighter, cool colours if you want to paint the walls and ceilings with the same colour.

Border Stencils

Paint border stencils near the ceiling on the two shorter walls only, keeping the main wall colour darker than the longer walls. The borders on the shorter walls will feel as if they are widening the room. Use a lighter colour for stencils when the shorter wall is painted very dark, and a darker stencil colour when the shorter wall is lighter and glossy. The contrast in colours makes the stencils stand out and increases the impression of a wider room.

Ceiling and Trim

Lighting will make your room look different by the way it reflects off surfaces throughout the day. Paint the ceiling, room and door trim white, and paint the windowsills and trim a very light white or eggshell colour. The light will reflect off the white surfaces, creating the illusion of a wider room. A ceiling that is the same dark colour as the walls will not reflect much light and will make the room feel smaller and narrower.

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About the Author

Mary McNally has been writing and editing for over 13 years, including publications at Cornell University Press, Larson Publications and College Athletic Magazines. McNally also wrote and edited career and computer materials for Stanford University and Ithaca College. She holds a master's degree in career development from John F. Kennedy University and a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in counseling.