When decorating to change the shape or size of a room visually, depth of shade is not as important as color “temperature.” Colors at the cool end of the spectrum — blues, greens and blue-violets — will seem farther away than warm reds, oranges, yellows and red-violets. If you paint with warm, dark colors, you create a closer and cozier feel, while cool, dark colors will seem more distant.
Bold, dark colors are popular in home decor, but some homeowners are reluctant to use them for fear these tones will overwhelm the space. The best use of color may seem a mystery to the uninitiated, but there are some simple rules to follow for great-looking results. Knowing how color works will help alleviate the fear of painting a wall a dark color.
Paint walls opposite windows a cool, dark color to absorb light in too-bright rooms. If you want a brighter room, paint a dark color on the window wall with lighter colors opposite to reflect light back into the room.
Paint short walls dark warm colors like reds and browns to bring them toward you visually. "Darker colors on the walls make the space seem smaller. Use warm and deep tones that you love but might hesitate to use in a smaller space. You can even paint the ceiling a rich tone to bring it down visually. If you prefer wallpaper, choose one with a large pattern and deep, rich colors," according to iVillage. Paint long walls dark in a wide room to create the same sense of proportion.
Paint three walls in a room with light color and paint one wall a warm, dark color to bring the dark wall closer and make it a focal point for the room. Group comfortable seating near the dark wall for an effect much like gathering around a fireplace. This technique is especially effective with deep golden brown or russet hues.
Paint three walls dark and one light to draw the eye outward toward the light-colored wall. This is a good technique to accent a view on the light-colored wall. It will also make the interior space seem cozy and secluded.
Disguise construction flaws by painting outwardly bowing walls warm dark colors to pull them in. Out-of-square rooms can be visually brought into square by painting two connecting walls the same color—warm, darker walls will pull the space in toward the center, while light colors or cool, dark colors will push the space away from the center.
Deborah Stephenson is a homesteader, lifelong organic gardener, former zookeeper, naturalist, artist and anthropologist who brings an eclectic range of experience to her writings. When not writing she can usually be found puttering in her extensive gardens or exploring the national forest next door with her dogs.