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Understanding Paint and Small Rooms

Amy William
January 11, 2019
We have a 9x10 bedroom that we are looking to turn into a gender neutral nursery. Our upstairs already has already SW Sea Salt/SW Dorian Gray/ BM Oystershell/ Valspar Bouyant Blue palette going on.

I’ve so far thought of these colors from SW.
Silver Strand and Illusive Green
Stamped Concrete and Silverpointe

With small rooms, what colors do you want to go with that doesn’t make it appear even a smaller and do you have to put the dark on the bottom and the light on top or will not doing it that way make it smaller as well?

Comments (10)

  • K Laurence

    I would paint it all the same, why chop up an already small space?

  • PRO
    Rowland Interiors

    Here are some helpful tips I always recommend to clients:


    1. Do away with visual “breaks” in a small space, paint the ceiling and trim the same color as your walls, or to add height to your space, go one shade lighter on your ceiling.

    2. Small rooms often lack architectural interest. Use contrasting colors to define an accent wall or to add architectural interest by painting the inside of shelving or windows.

    3. Painting the walls with a neutral or white but adding color via your doors and/or molding can add a bit of bold, contemporary flair to a small room.

    4. Stripes can work well in a small space because they can be used to create the illusion of height or length.

    5. Avoid busy patterns! If you choose small patterns for a small space, try to avoid small patterns that have lots of things going on in them. This can almost be dizzying in a small room. Use your smaller patterns almost like textures.


    If you need more help and advice, we offer design services from just £80 per room: https://www.gemmarowland.co.uk/packages



  • Susie .
    A lot of contrast (as in the photo above) will chop up the room. I am a fan of using soft neutral colors throughout a home, and not painting every room a different color. Dark colors don’t always make small rooms feel smaller. Darks and cool colors recede. However, light colors do tend to make things feel lighter and airier. I would start with your bedding and then pick paint that works with the carpet or other flooring and the bedding.
  • junco East Georgia zone 8a

    I agree with Susie--start by finding gender neutral bedding that you like and then choose the wall color from there. I also would paint all the walls (top and bottom) the same color.

  • sloyder

    I would remove the chair rail

  • Amy William
    I thought about removing the chair rails but worried I would take half my sheet rock in the process.
  • hollybar

    If you fear removing the rail, then just paint it out. Same color top and bottom and rail. If you want the rail slightly accented,then just change the sheen of the paint not the colour.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    why gray? babies need to see color. What's wrong w/greens or yellow, or turquoise or purple/lilac,,,babies don't know blue-boy and pink-girl. Can't remember the study I read about babies growing in gray nurseries. I do know it had a negative effect on the eyes though.

    maybe you plan on doing colorful art, bedding, mobiles, curtains,,,,?

    you can carefully pry off the chair rail without damaging the wall (unless it was glued on there). carefully score the paint above and below, and use a pry tool (be careful not to dent the wall above) to pull it free.

  • Amy William
    I thought grays with blue undertones or green undertones would allow for me to incorporate art or curtains, or even a colored crib, to give it that extra pop of color. I was trying to keep it simple and easy to be transitional
  • greenfish1234

    Don't start with wall color. For some reason it has become an obsession and it is next to meaningless. Fall in love with some tangible objects: art, bedding, a stuffed animal...let's work from there.

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