So you’ve got a small room in your house and you’re not sure what color to paint it. Past experience might tell you to go light and airy—it’ll open up the space and make it feel less closed in. But that’s not your only option, especially if what you’re looking to create is ambiance.
“When you paint a small room a dark color, it’s all about creating a mood,” says Karen Asprea, interior designer and director of Whitehall Interiors in New York City. “If you want to create an intimate and cozy reading nook, or someplace to unwind at the end of the day, it’s perfect.” (Painting your bedroom? Find the perfect color.)
The first colors that come to mind for a cozy room are rich taupes and chocolaty tones, says Asprea. Keep the mood with wall sconces as opposed to overhead lights, which could create a glare if everything else is dark. An antique mirror—one with a bronze or black metal frame—can add depth to the space. “It’s nice to have a reflective surface in a small room,” she says.
To pull the room together, experiment with furniture that features a fun pattern, like something floral or geometric, which picks up on the color of the wall. Or do all white furniture with throw pillows that pick up on the color.
So are there any dark colors Asprea suggests you avoid? Not really—but reds and greens can be tricky. “If you’re going to paint a wall red, you need to be very careful about which red you use. I’d recommend doing several tests on the wall,” she says. “Some reds can read a little orange, some can read yellow—and then you also want it to match the other pieces you’re putting in the room. If you’re going to do a red wall and you want a little pop on a red pillow, make sure that the wall is the same tone red as the pillow.”
As for green, it can sometimes cast unflattering tones on peoples’ skin. Asprea says deeps sage greens can look stunning, though.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead, be bold.