With any decorating task, whether big or small, it's always advisable to create a moodboard to experiment with colour schemes and fabrics. But when it comes to decorating smaller spaces – something many of us have to face – it can seem a little daunting.
We are perhaps more inclined to choose traditional white to give an illusion of space, but going down this route can in fact create a small, dull room that is lacking imaginative flair.
'Before painting your room it's important to consider the amount of natural light and the direction the room faces, as this will have a significant impact on the appearance of each colour,' says Charlotte Cosby, head of creative at Farrow & Ball. 'We often think the only way to create light and space in a small room is to paint it crisp white, but try using an off-white for a softer, more interesting alternative.'
Charlotte suggests using Farrow & Ball's warm, yellow toned neutrals such as White Tie or Matchstick to best reflect light.
But what if you want to go bolder with your colour choice? 'Strong colours often soften a room and are the perfect distraction from its size and shape,' Charlotte explains Colours like Radicchio or Studio Green can help to create an inviting retreat, while adding impact and depth to a room.
There is, of course, a clever way to make a small room appear spacious – and it'll actually save you time and money, too.
'Using a single colour in a room is a clever way to create more space,' reveals Charlotte. 'With no point of reference and without contrasts, you're less aware of where things stop and start. Try applying just one colour such as Vardo or Pitch Blue over a picture rail and up onto the ceiling to make the room feel higher and give an illusion of loftiness.'
But, this doesn't mean that you can't use two colours. And if your heart is set on a particular colour scheme then run with it – remember, your home should always reflect your personality and taste.
'If you're hoping to use two colours in your room, consider choosing a darker shade for your woodwork to accent the scheme. By brushing a paler colour onto the largest wall space, you'll create a brighter feel, while the darker trim gives you a very sophisticated, elegant look. We've found that when skirting boards are very dark, it makes everything above them look lighter and airier,' explains Charlotte.
If you happen to live in a period home then think about highlighting some of its architectural features, such as the dado rail (also known as chair rail). It's a great way to create a more spacious feel with just two colours.
Try painting the bottom half of the wall with darker shades to anchor the room. Charlotte says by brushing on a lighter paint, you'll find the paler colour of the wall will then flow into the ceiling to help delineate your small space.
Charlotte's final piece of advice? 'It's worth remembering that it can be just as effective to embrace the darkness of a small room to create a dramatic, intimate feel. Cloakrooms and powder rooms offer the perfect opportunity to inject bold colour without committing to larger, more lived-in rooms in the home.'
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