Optical Illusions Using Paint

Using light and dark colors differently in a room can give an entirely perception of the space. Typically light colors and warmer tones will make a room look bigger while darker and cooler colors make a room look smaller.

Read below other optical illusions you can create using different colors and tones.


1 Color: Using the same color &/or various tints and shades of it throughout a room keeps the room looking as it actually is. Light makes it seem bigger though and typically dark makes it seem smaller.

Accent Walls:

  • Lighter: Makes the wall appear as if it is recedes further back and helps to elongate a room.
  • Darker: Makes the wall appear to come forward. Good for really long hallways.


  • Darker: Makes the ceiling appear shorter. Good for rooms that have really high walls.
  • Even Darker: Take the dark paint down further on the walls and then divide with a picture rail/moulding. With a light color below this makes the room appear broader.
  • Lighter: Makes the ceiling appear heigher. Helps when trying to make a room look taller, good for large rooms.
  • Even Lighter: Putting a light color on the ceiling and bringing it down to the picture rail lowers the line of vision to the picture rail.


  • Dark: Floors that are dark with dark walls can make a room look smaller. Be careful with small rooms, it can make it look cramped. With dark flooring make sure the paint color is light and airy so it opens up the room more.
  • Light: Floors that are lighter than the walls will typically make a room look even larger.

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