Sorry sports fans, but the answer is False.
I know, it’s a common misconception. But indeed, it is false. It is one of those interior design myths that’s proliferated into magazines and other media. I’m sure you’ve seen the headline on some magazine or blog:
“How To Make A Room Appear Larger”
“White Rooms Always Look The Largest. ” ~ Forbes
“Lighter colors tend to open up a space, while darker hues give a closed-in look.” ~ Bed Bath and Beyond
“Maximize your space by using light colors, specifically on the wall.” ~ Apartment Therapy
“For the illusion of a larger room, use a color scheme that’s light… ” ~ Lowes
Thousands of online magazines, forums and bloggers believe that painting a small room white will make it appear larger. Their justification is that white is reflective therefore creating “expanse,” while dark colors absorb light making a room feeling more closed in.
A light color will give the feeling of light and airiness because it reflects the light. But that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about the size of the room. And reflections of light come forward making the room appear to be smaller by making the walls appear to be coming towards us.
Let’s consider the white ceiling. Painting it white actually makes it appear to be lower. Here’s a question for you.
“If you want to look thinner do you wear, white or black?”
It’s not a trick question. Don’t think too hard. You know the answer.
It’s the same principle. Dark colors recede. Light colors advance.
This is physics, not an opinion; not a debate; pure science. Here is the proof..
The black recedes and the white projects. The white square also looks larger, doesn’t it?
It’s not. The two squares are the exact same size. And the two outer squares are also the same size. The white one appears to be thicker. Four walls and a ceiling painted white will look bigger and closer than they really are. Therefore the room will appear to be smaller. Here are some examples. Don’t these black walls recede? This is a trick for small spaces — paint the walls dark to make it feel LARGER.
Look how elegant this living room looks painted dark grey. You see the beautiful furniture and objects FIRST, and the walls last, right?
And check out this dreamy blue bedroom…serene isn’t it?
And what do you think of this dark ceiling? It seems to disappear into deep space.
So, have I convinced you?? If so, will you gently correct folks who insist that light rooms look LARGER? They don’t. They look lighter, yes, but smaller. This is why LARGE rooms (especially with a lot of windows) look fabulous painted in a light color!
My point is… Don’t be afraid to paint a room as dark as you like because you’re afraid that it’ll look smaller. That is baloney!
Now which paint color to choose…..that is another story…for another blog post!