Interior Design Experts Reveal How to Make a Living Room Look Bigger: 7 Tips to Fool the Eye

Choosing the colours for a living room can have a big impact, including the ability to visually enlarge a small space.

There are certain colour schemes that can make a small living room look bigger. Understanding how colours can achieve this clever trick is a valuable aspect of your custom interior design.

To help you with this, we’ve compiled a list of tips from two interior design experts on how to select and use colours to visually enlarge a small living room, creating a sense of expansiveness despite its modest square footage.

1. Crisp White for Elegance

White remains a widely adopted colour choice for accent wall paneling to create the illusion of a larger space in small living rooms. This holds particularly true when the room benefits from abundant natural light that can bounce off the walls, or in rooms that face south, where sunlight is more abundant.

“Choose crisp or brilliant white tones for small spaces to create a clean and calming ambience. 

To avoid making the room appear stale, incorporate warm or bright colours in furnishings, accessories, or lush plants for a pop of colour. White stands out beautifully when paired with darker wooden flooring or a stunning rug.

Eggshell or satin finishes typically reflect light, creating the illusion of more space,” adds Raf Michalowski, an interior design expert from Meble Furniture.

2. Light Taupe for Warmth 

For a gentle alternative to white, you can choose light taupe — a neutral colour that falls between brown and grey. Its brightness allows light to bounce off the walls, making a small room appear larger, without the harshness of pure white.

Unlike white tones, light taupe or greige (think grey and beige) can add warmth to any room, and make a space look elegant. 

In fact, when used in a space with no architectural character, it can make a room look more expensive, and give it a timeless feel. 

“It’s important to choose the appropriate taupe shade. 

Generally, a light taupe will brighten and expand small, dark living rooms, while a dark taupe will have the opposite effect, making them feel cosier and more enclosed.

To achieve a light and airy ambience, complement this colour with white furnishings throughout the living room,” says Zara O’Hare, interior design expert, from Land of Rugs.

3. Light Grey for Freshness and Brightness

Cool light grey is a great alternative to white paint. It offers a fresh and bright feel without the starkness of pure white. 

Cool colours create a sense of freshness and brightness, visually expanding the space.

“Use light grey in moderately lit rooms for a cosy yet spacious ambience.

A light grey brings the crisp and bright quality that a bright white does, allowing light to bounce off the walls, while it also keeps the living room remaining cool, as opposed to the warmth that a taupe would infuse,” recommends Zara. 

4. Blush Pink for a Cheerful Ambience

Choosing a shade of blush pink is a great choice to uplift a small living room, infusing it with a cheerful and airy ambience, particularly during sunset hours. 

This hue works well in west-facing rooms with ample natural light and pairs beautifully with light, warm neutral tones like beige, sand, and ivory. For a cosy atmosphere, consider painting the ceiling in the same hue.

“Pink should not be underestimated as just a feminine tone, as it can work well in various settings.

Blush pink serves as an excellent complement to masculine woods, modern metals, and luxurious velvet or leather furniture,” says Raf. 

5. Deep Navy for a Luxurious Feel

Rich colours possess a remarkable ability to infuse a room with drama.

Choosing a deep, moody shade is an excellent way to make a living room feel larger. These colours evoke a sense of grandeur and luxury while visually expanding the room.

“Choose a navy blue slate, so deep that it almost resembles black. 

When combined with lighter walls or accents, accompanied by warm wood tones and ample natural light, the outcome is timeless, comforting, and spacious,” recommends Raf. 

6. Sea Green for Nature

The colour green is often synonymous with the beauty of nature and botanical elements. For those seeking an earthy ambience, sea green or a gentler shade of green is an excellent option.

The best part is that softer green tones can increase the size of a small room and transform a dull space into a tranquil sanctuary.

“Embracing the calming power of green hues can infuse your environment with a soothing and rejuvenating atmosphere,” suggests Zara.

Choosing sea green in well-windowed rooms is an excellent choice, as they naturally guide the eye towards the outdoor greenery, seamlessly blending the room with its surroundings,” says Zara.

7. Soft Black for a Dramatic Feel

In rooms with limited natural light, white may not be the best choice. Without light bouncing off the walls, the colour could have an adverse effect on the space. 

However, embracing the lack of sunlight and opting for darker hues can create a captivating and cosy atmosphere.

Opt for a dark hue such as charcoal or black instead of white to evoke an intimate and grand atmosphere in the space, especially when complemented by painting the ceiling and trim in the same hue.

Dark hues have the power to create contrast and depth, making your walls recede and your ceiling appear higher. 

Using dark colours on an accent wall, ceiling, or floor can achieve this striking effect,” recommends Raf.

Eve Crabtree

Eve Crabtree is a journalist with a passion for interior design. She keeps up to date with the latest trends in the interior industry and regularly tests her hand at crafting and redecorating during her spare time.