Home » 7 Ways to Make a Narrow Room Look Wider with Paint

7 Ways to Make a Narrow Room Look Wider with Paint

Update On

A narrow room needs the right colors to transform the space into a spacious place because it is smaller than most rooms. The paint color sets the tone for the furniture and decor coming into the room. Therefore, it’s vital to pick a color that widens the space.

But, how can you make a room look wider with paint color? It’s all about strategy. Besides clever painting skills to make a narrow room wider, the right colors for the room are vital, too. Plus, discover what not to do when using paint color in tight areas.

How Do I Paint a Room to Feel Wider?

There are seven ways to make a narrow room look wider using paint color:

Uniform Color

White color for wall and ceiling

A narrow room should always get one solid paint color from floor to ceiling, and from wall to wall. A solid color scheme makes the room more seamless. Be sure to paint any rooms inside the room, like a bathroom or closet, the same solid paint color. Not doing so will interrupt the room flow, making the room smaller than it already is. 

However, there are some exceptions, like the six paint strategies mentioned below.

Monochromatic Style

Monochromatic Style

The first exception is painting the walls with two or more hues of the same color in the room. This effect works with all hues in all rooms, but it works better with darker shades in narrow areas. Light and dark hues of the same color add variety while keeping the hues uniform. The dark hues also erase corners, making the room appear bigger.

Give Consideration to the Ceiling

Painting wall gray with a white ceiling

When you paint the ceiling a different color, it makes it taller, shorter, or a focal point in the room. In narrow areas, focus on making the ceiling appear taller. Therefore, you can paint the ceiling a lighter hue than the walls.

Paint Crown Moldings, Pillars, and Columns a Bright Hue

Crown molding

If the room contains crown moldings, pillars, or columns, paint them a brighter hue. While white is the best color, the lightest hue from your chosen color should go to those room details.

Add an Accent Wall

Accent wall

If you prefer pizzazz in a narrow room, one of two ways to do this is by adding an accent wall. 

An accent wall is a focal point in the space that highlights a feature in the room. In this situation, an accent wall enlarges the room by creating distance. A distant wall in the room is the perfect spot to add an accent wall. Paint the wall a darker hue than the rest of the room.

In rectangular rooms, paint the shorter walls a bright hue and the longer walls a dark hue for the same results.

Add Horizontal Stripes

Narrow room white striped accent wall

The other paint strategy that will give your room pizzazz is horizontal stripes. Horizontal stripes make a room appear wider. In narrow spaces, black and white stripes work wonders, but so do two shades of the same color (i.e., navy and sky blue). Treat this the same way you would treat an accent wall.

As far as the stripe size, it’s important not to make the stripes too small. Thick stripe patterns are better.

Paint Finish Matters

No matter how you paint a narrow room, the paint finish contributes to the narrow visual. A matte finish makes the room dull. Glossy finishes reflect light in the room to widen the area, but it can be overwhelming. Choose a finish in the middle like satin, eggshell, or semi-gloss paint for a narrow space.

What Colors Will Help a Room Look Wider?

Neutral colored room

White is the quintessential bright, neutral color. It brings light to windowless areas and reflects it across the room. The brightness travels more with sunlight shining through the window. If white is too bland for you, you can shake it up with dark and light hues.

Beige is another bright neutral to include in narrow spaces as it achieves the same results. The shade echoes the spaciousness like white, while not being as bland.

While bright neutrals are the first choice, they’re not the only choice. Dark neutrals offer the same expansion as their lighter counterparts with striking results. The best dark colors are cool tone blue and the dark neutral black.

Blue has so many shades, from pastels to oceans and sky hues, to night sky-inspired hues. Some blues have green and gray undertones. Some dark blue hues mimic black, another great shade. Black ranges from jet black, ebony, and off-black to gray hues. 

Speaking of cool colors, those colors reflect light through the room, too. Green ranges from vivid to mellow with blue, white, or black undertones. Another shade, purple, ranges from light-colored pastels to dark, elegant, and regal colors. Some purple shades also have bluish undertones.

Another pastel color that’s great for narrow rooms is pink. Like blue and purple, the pastel shades make a small room appear more spacious.

What Should You Avoid to Make a Room Look More Narrow?

Paint ideas to avoid

There are some paint colors and paint choices you should definitely avoid in narrow rooms. These choices will make the room appear too confined.

All Stripe Room

A stripe-themed room is too much to handle for narrow spaces as it cramps and shrinks the area. Fewer stripes in concentrated areas are more effective.

Vertical Stripes

While vertical stripes widen the room from top to bottom, a narrow room needs to widen from left to right. Because of that, vertical stripe patterns shrink the room size.

All Black Room

Black is a suitable color to widen narrow rooms, but the colors crowd a room when misused. Do not pick one black shade and paint the entire wall that one color. It constricts light from entering and widening the space visually. Instead, go the monochrome route.

Two Unrelated Colors

Pick a color and stay with it and its hues for the entire room. If you choose an unrelated color, it will throw the room off. For example, an ivory white shade covers most of the room. Adding a pop of red as a ceiling or accent wall color is not a good idea as it breaks up the room instead of expanding it.

Warm Colors

Red, yellow, orange, brown, and other warm tone colors shrink a narrow room. This includes the black with brown undertones and the purple with red undertones. Pink pastels— not vivid or dark pink— are the only hues that should be used in small areas.

What Situations Would You Want to Make a Room Look Wider?

The room’s purpose has a lot to do with deciding if you want to make it appear wider. If the room will be used as a home theater, den, a playpen, or a guest lounge, enlarging the room with paint color is a good idea.

A second reason to widen a room is if you feel claustrophobic entering the room. The perfect paint color erases the restricted feeling by enlarging the area.


Once you pick a color and a method to approach the walls, ceiling, crown molding, and beams, you can begin to make your narrow room appear larger. Remember, there are so many hues within one color you can use to bring variety without losing sight of the goal. As long as you know what not to use, the results will be magnificent.

We encourage you to share your thoughts about the article with others in the comment box. If you want to know how to make a room wider with paint, it’s all about the color. Pick one, pick a few hues, know where to place those hues, and you’re ready.

Leave a Comment