Interior designers Jesse DeSanti and Lauren Svenstrup share the same advice when it comes to painting small spaces, and it’s a tip that also feels like permission: Color outside the lines.
“Ditch the white trim and paint everything the same color,” Svenstrup says. “If you want your space to feel larger and more cohesive, then you need to make those lines disappear.”
It may seem like standard procedure to think of paint’s canvas as just the walls—not the trim, doors, or even the ceiling, too. But if those walls contain cramped quarters, then it’s worth it to expand the shade throughout the room. DeSanti and Svenstrup, the respective founders of Jette Creative and Studio Sven, note that sticking to one hue is a simple design secret that they use when square footage is tight. This solution allows the eye to travel more easily, thus giving the illusion of more space.
“When you keep things monochromatic, whatever the paint color might be, it’s a way to help the room feel even,” DeSanti adds. “But when you paint contrasting elements, like only the baseboards and the ceiling, you create lines that call attention to the size. It’s alright to have a pop of color in a small area, as long as the walls, ceiling, doors, and trim are the same.”
Now that this trick is yours for the taking, DeSanti and Svenstrup also share their six favorite paint colors for small spaces. Once you find the one you like, you’ll know how to work it to its full potential.
1. Arctic Seal, Benjamin Moore
“I've used this color a couple of times in big and small rooms alike,” Svenstrup says. “It’s the perfect moody, yet subtle tone for creating an intimate space.”
2. Pacific Sea Teal, Benjamin Moore
“I love the depth of this teal,” Svenstrup says. “It's bold, yet sophisticated and works with any decor style.”
3. Brinjal 222, Farrow & Ball
“I keep thinking I'm going to get sick of this color, but it's been years and it's still one of my favorites,” Svenstrup says. “It's the perfect color to warm up any space, and I love how the subtle red undertones change with natural light during different times of day.”
4. Kendall Charcoal, Benjamin Moore
“Small isn’t a bad thing, and sometimes you just need to accept it for its purpose,” DeSanti says. “I like painting a small room this shade to make it feel cozy and warm. Then the details, like the pillows and art, become the ‘color.’”
5. Crystal Haze, Dunn Edwards
“A subtle color like this one adds warmth to a space without being too dark or too stark,” according to DeSanti.
6. Dry Sage, Benjamin Moore
“I recommend using this one in a small kitchen,” DeSanti says. “It can help make a space feel larger visually when painting cabinets and walls the same color.”