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Avoid These 3 Wall Colors When Painting Your Small Space

Living in a small space has its limitations, but your ability to create a cool room design certainly isn’t one of them. Actually, your options are pretty infinite. There are lots of traditional rules, sure, but most of those are outdated. Plus: Rules are made to be broken, right?

As far as color is concerned, old school logic says that you should avoid dark hues in small spaces because it will make the space feel smaller. Some design pros are saying otherwise.

There are tons of colors to choose from when you’re pinning up paint swatches. You can even get away with some dark shades if you get a lot of natural light. Still, there are some colors that interior designers suggest are a no-go for studio apartments or small rooms. You may want to rethink these three colors on the wall in your tiny space.

1. Fire Engine Red

Red is dramatic and vibrant, and it’s long been a popular color for making a statement. As the folks at The Spruce point out, however, bright red quickly becomes too overwhelming in a small space. The warmth of fire engine red sounds great in theory, but when you’re surrounded by it in a petite space, it will be hard to ever feel relaxed. If you love the shade and can’t do without it, incorporate bright red in your accent pieces, like art and rugs.

2. Bright White

Light shades have long been recommended for small rooms, but designers such as Target’s current home spokesperson Emily Henderson, argue that bright white can be a huge mistake in a big room. It comes down to natural light and paint undertones. Without a lot of natural light, white in a small room can make the space feel dead.

White also allows every shadow and imperfection to be revealed. In a small room, where you’re never far from a wall, you may want to stick with a color that better masks dents and shadows. Bottom line: there are plenty of light neutrals with warm undertones that allow you to enjoy pale walls, but think twice about true white.

3. Cobalt Blue

Certain colors, like cobalt blue, are often on trend. But as color expert Tobi Fairley points out — cobalt blue will look great in accents and not so great on a wall in a small room. Cobalt is too powerful for a tiny room or apartment because it overwhelms the entire space. Plus, a shade like cobalt may not stand the test of time — and it will be hard to paint over once its “in” season passes. Can you say three coats? Stick to light blue for the walls. It’s more relaxing, anyway.

Choosing the right colors for your home is a big deal. You’re going to be stuck with it for a while because painting stinks (literally and figuratively), so you may as well pick a shade that will be in style for years. Painting in a small space has higher stakes because the wrong shade can easily overpower the entire design and leave you feeling closed in. Remember: paint samples are your friend!


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