Choosing which colours to paint your home inside is a notoriously tricky business, especially if you and your partner are divided on what works best. There's also a huge range of colours and finishes to choose from and distinguishing between one shade and another, when the difference is so subtle as to be barely noticeable, can be more confusing than enlightening! It looks good on your screen, on paper, or on the side of the tin, but how will it look once you start painting your interior walls?
Apart from finding the colour you like, you also have to consider the size of the room you're about to paint. It's a fact that houses in the UK are among the smallest in Western Europe, with the average size of a new home being 76 square metres, nearly half that of houses in Denmark. Although there are no hard and fast rules for small room painting ideas - it's your home, after all - certain colours make a room appear smaller while others do just the opposite, and create an illusion of space.
As a general rule of thumb, lighter colours give the impression they are receding and darker colours appear as if they are coming towards you or closing in, so if you want to make a small space look bigger then it's best to use light colours. White can be very effective and is widely available in pure white, as well as in many different shades and textures which can help to give a warmer, less austere finish
Light blues, cream colours and even neutral tones also work well on walls and trim, helping to reflect the available light and give that airy feeling of more space. Painting the ceiling the same light colour will add to the sense of spaciousness, as will painting the floor if that's an option. White or light-painted floorboards can be very elegant, although it can make a room look and feel cool and is perhaps more suited to warmer climates than ours.
The shape of the room is something else to consider when choosing a colour. Painting the two shorter, end walls in a long, corridor-shaped room a darker colour, will make the space appear more square, and roomier. If you don't have a lot of natural light available, the addition of a large mirror is an effective way of reflecting light and making a small room feel larger.
Darker colours absorb light, hence the feeling of space closing in which may not be an issue if the room is large. Dark colours will help a big room feel more warm and cosy. In a small room, however, heavier shades of blue, green, red and brown will make the room seem smaller and darker. Dark colours can still work well if the wall trim and mouldings are painted the same colour, so everything blends together. Painting the trim a lighter colour from the walls, on the other hand, exaggerates the line between wall and ceiling and the contrast makes the room feel smalle.