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Decor Disputes: Does dark paint make a room feel smaller?

by on Feb 1, 2021

Raise your hand if you’re scared of picking a color from the bottom of the paint chip. Does it really make a room feel smaller? Is that always a bad thing? Whether you see the light or stand firmly on the dark side, read on and chime in.

I first dabbled in dark paint when we painted the back wall of our master bedroom a dark, chocolate brown in order to make an arrangement of white plates stand out. I was really scared when we started painting, but when it was done I noticed something cool.

Dark Brown Accent Wall

The color is SO dark, that it actually recedes. It looks as if the wall is further back than it really is. 

This amazeballs bathroom featured in Lonny another example.

black bathroom

You can tell it’s not a huge room, but the dark color of the walls make them fall away.

Now let’s look at a similar bathroom, painted in a medium red tone.

red bathroom

A perfectly lovely bathroom, but I think that you notice the size of the room more acutely with a medium tone like this. The walls are just…there. The darker shades manage to push the walls back and envelop you at the same time.

Color (or I should say, Colour) expert Maria Killam has a great point of view on this. She says that the crux of a dark room does not lie in the paint color but in the amount of light it gets. Light colored rooms work best when they have a large amount of natural light to bounce around in them.

white dining room

Maria says a light paint color is never going to cure a dark room, so you might as well embrace the cozy space and let a deep color make it feel rich and luminous.

What do you think? Have you tried bringing dark colors into your home? Any success? 

Top photo: Dark bedroom by Courtney Giles. Light bedroom from Country Living.


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  1. Bridget Lanier

    I love the richness of the darker shades. I have dragged my husband kicking and screaming into a world of color, His idea of color was white, ecru, off-white…you get the idea. I NEVER use white. And when I repainted the house the colors I chose made everything pop. Dark colors for the win.