9 White Paint Colors Design Pros Swear by to Make a Room Look Bigger
The right paint color is all you need to bring a small room to new heights.
1 of 10Benjamin Moore
Simply White by Benjamin Moore
When Claire Staszak from Centered by Design had to update a dated paneled ceiling, Simply White by Benjamin Moore was the answer. According to the designer, the color gave the room a brighter, loftier feel, and now "the ceiling feels sky high." The next time you want to take a low ceiling to new heights, turn to this pro pick.
In case you're noticing the trend, Alyssa Kapito of Alyssa Kapito Interiors puts it plainly: "Paint it white," she recommends. "Nothing makes a room look quite as big as a fresh coat of white paint ... and don’t forget the floors!" In her design studio, she covered both the walls and the floors with Wimborne White by Farrow & Ball.
"Painting walls and ceilings in one uninterrupted tone creates the illusion of expansive space," explains Sarah Barnard of Sarah Barnard Design. And the one tone she suggests? Igloo by Dunn Edwards, which she describes as "reminiscent of freshly fallen snow bathed in balmy natural light." How dreamy does that sound?
According to Melanie Burstin, a designer at Homepolish, this is one of the brightest whites around. What's the overall effect? "Your furniture will pop off a crisp backdrop and your home can feel cleaner and more sun-filled," she says.
This shade of white has creamy undertones, providing just the right amount of warmth, while still remaining crisp and clean. "It maximizes natural light in a room, highlighting architectural details and creating an illusion of openness," explains Katie Hodges of Katie Hodges Design.
When it comes to making a room look larger than it is, Jamie Davis of Portola Paints agrees that white is the way to go—but try to choose a shade with some depth and complexity to it. "A warmer, deeper white can add a relaxed and cozy feel to a bedroom and make it feel spacious," he explains.
When choosing a space-expanding shade of white, designer Nicole Gibbons, the founder and CEO of Clare, recommends one with subtle shades of gray in it, like Penthouse by Clare. According to Gibbons, this hue "will help maximize the light in any space, making it feel bright and spacious."
When the designers at Gamble + Design want to trick the eye into thinking a room is bigger than its square footage, they turn to this light, cool gray. "This sophisticated color looks as though it recedes, making it great for small rooms," they explain. Plus, this color is the ideal neutral backdrop for bright home accents or a large and colorful art collection.
Just because you're painting a room white to make it look bigger, doesn't mean the space has to feel cold, Shea McGee from Studio McGee tells us. For a color that does both, opt for Benjamin Moore's Swiss Coffee. "It’s a white, so obviously it’ll make the room feel bigger, but the best thing about it is it’s a warm white without a yellow undertone. It makes a small space feel larger but still cozy!" McGee says.
Want an alternative to the all-white paint options? Erin Gates of Erin Gates Design swears by black paint to expand a room. "I painted my tiny bathroom Benjamin Moore Space Black and the way all the edges and corners disappear and blend together makes the room feel much bigger than it is. My painter thought I was insane to do this, but I proved him wrong!" she says.