Paint is much more than a colour. It can be a powerful way to make a room feel brighter or more spacious, or radically change the atmosphere! These are a few of our favourite ways to completely transform a room with nothing but paint.

Size It Up With Light or Dark Colours

Jane Lockhart Interior Design dining room


With the right colour selection and a helping of natural light, paint has the remarkable ability to create the illusion of space.

Since lighter colours reflect natural light, painting a room in light tones can make the room feel bigger. This post by Apartment Therapy showcases numerous examples of the dramatic difference lighter tones can make.

However, light colours aren’t the only way you to make a room look larger with paint — sometimes, darkness is on your side. In fact, you can use it to create depth! When dark walls are framed by much lighter paint colour (in the baseboard, moulding, or ceiling), the wall appears to recede in contrast. See how one designer employs this effect with an elegant charcoal accent wall.

Make the Ceiling Pop

Tineke Triggs designed room with painted ceiling.

Image via HOUZZ

Most people aren’t sure how to choose a paint colour for the ceiling and simply default to plain white. However, a bit of colour can turn the so-called “fifth wall” into a design focal point that tops off the room’s transformation.

The simplest way to utilize the ceiling is to add a few drops of the wall colour to a can of white ceiling paint; this creates a subtle hue that reinforces the theme of the space. Painting the ceiling a few notes lighter than the rest of the room appears to heighten the vertical space. If you have a taste for the bold, the ceiling can also become a canvas in and of itself. This stunning painted ceiling gallery demonstrates the power to transform a room with nothing but paint.

Paint a Pattern with Stencils

Sarah Greenman designed stenciled wall


A growing trend in home design is that of wall stencils: creative cut-outs that give you the effect of wallpaper with the freedom and versatility of paint. Though time-consuming to apply, stencils leave a unique design that creates a dazzling focal point in the room.

Stencils can be as simple as this lettering or as complex as this brilliant birch bark pattern. Plus, they aren’t just for walls — you can also use stencils to paint doors, ceilings or even hardwood floors!

Alter the Atmosphere

Though the effect is often subtle, colour can have a powerful influence on our emotions. Some colours invoke an immense sense of familiarity or nostalgia; others seem to feel uneasy, loud, or even uncomfortable. While studies disagree with the notion that certain colours are always associated with certain moods, colour has an undeniable impact on us as individuals, and you can harness that effect to completely transform a room with nothing but paint.

You should never choose based on current trends alone. Always take time to consider how a particular shade makes you feel, because that can change how you feel about the room as well! Does the colour stir up a specific memory? Does it remind you of a flavour or smell? These kinds of questions can lead you to unexpected and creative colour choices that pay off in a big way.

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