4 ways you can use colour to create more visual space

08 Aug 2019

When it comes to decorating, the primary goal should always be to make the most out of what you have to work with. Sometimes, you might be lucky enough to have a set up that needs little more than a few small tweaks. Other times, you need to consciously work toward changing the entire perception of the space.

On occasions like these, optical illusions can go a long way to help create a greater sense of space – even when it might feel like there is none to be found. By cleverly using Resene paint colours, these four easy-to-replicate illusions can help make a big impact on how spacious your home looks and feels.

1. Create more vertical height

Painting walls in graduated shades from darkest at the bottom to the palest at the top can help to create additional visual height. For even more interest, you could opt for diagonal stripes instead of horizontal ones. This also allows you to bring bolder shades into a space that could be overpowered by a single, strong wall colour.

Do you have a home full of wonderful Resene paint and colour? Send us some snaps by emailing [email protected].

painting interior ideas, interior inspiration, interior walls inspiration, yellow lounge, resene

Using a darker colour like Resene Thumbs Up for the bottom of the wall and a lighter colour like Resene Poured Milk for the top creates a sense of more vertical space, making the room feel bigger. We especially like how the softly blurred line in this living room keeps the transition from feeling too jarring. The platters displayed on the wall are painted Resene Napa and Resene Sea Fog, the vase is in Resene Eighth Stonewashed, the plant pot is in Resene Twilight Zone, the coat rack is in Resene Rose Gold and the floor is in Resene Yuma.

2. Add extra dimension

To bring extra dimension to an otherwise small or boxy room, you can use paint to create negative space.

For example, you could paint a rectangular section of the wall in a bold colour then add shelves in the same colour to create the effect of a built-in bookcase without sacrificing floor space. If you have a colourful couch or chair, frame it with a painted colour block on the wall behind it in a similar colour. It will both showcase your piece of furniture and make the room around it feel bigger.

Since your eyes tend to follow straight lines, you could even sus out a space within an open-plan layout by painting a triangular shape starting on the floor and bringing it up onto the wall to draw the eye upwards. Not only will it define that area, perhaps to set it aside for a special purpose or activity, it will add more dimension to the space and impact how spacious the rest of the room feels.

geometric wall ideas, painting interior ideas, dining room inspiration, feature wall inspiration

Triangles in Resene Quarter Stack and Resene Hypnotic take your eye into expansive directions while also defining this dining area within the rest of this open-plan space. The walls, chairs and small vase are painted Resene Quarter Surrender, the table is in Resene Half Carefree, the candlestick and tall vase are in Resene Sublime and the floor is in Resene Half Duck Egg Blue.

3. Create division through contrast

Using bold or contrasting colours to break up a space is a simple way to divvy things up when you’re short on rooms. If your home office sits in the corner of a living area, consider painting the walls, floor and ceiling of that area in a colour that contrasts with the rest of the room. Not only will it be eye-catching, it can also serve as a reminder to keep office clutter from creeping outside of its set boundaries. This same idea can be carried over to define a special activity area in any multi-use space, such as a dining area or a special place for kids to play within a larger living room.

home office ideas, home office inspiration, study nook ideas, study nook inspiration, resene paint

Resene Korma was used on the doors and the walls within this study nook to define it from the rest of the surrounding living area, which is painted Resene Alabaster.

Top tip: If you have a multi-storey house, make more productive use of staircase landings by converting them into office spaces, play areas or even reading nooks.

4. Eke out a place for everything

Decluttering is important for making the most of the space you have, especially when a home is shared by a big family. But unless you’re a strict minimalist, you’ll always need plenty of storage.

If you have the space, a mudroom can be a lifesaver when it comes to keeping clutter to a minimum. Once the preserve of large farmhouses, even urban homes can benefit from somewhere to keep frequently used coats, shoes, umbrellas, keys, hats, bags and scarves.

When space is tight, a nicely painted cupboard in a porch or laundry can achieve the same result, as can adding wooden hooks or pegs painted an eye-catching colour to the walls to keep school bags and other hangable clutter up off the floor. By choosing a different colour to represent each member of the family, you can encourage everyone to do their part in putting their things back where they belong. 

small space ideas, small space inspiration, small space solutions, DIY shoe holder, resene paint

There are plenty of creative small space solutions that can help get clutter up off the floor to free up some space, such as this wall-hung organiser. Or, you can try making your own, like this DIY stackable shoe solution made from wide mailing tubes secured with a long belt from an op-shop. The umbrella stand and shoe organiser are painted Resene Pewter, the chair is painted Resene Swiss Caramel and the pendant lamp is in Resene Jaguar. The wall is painted Resene Alabaster and the floor is finished with Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash.

When building a new home or planning a renovation, always over-specify your storage and look for innovative ways to include more. Can you add shelves or cupboards into the roof, floor or wall cavities? Can you fit extra storage under beds and in the tops of wardrobes? Could the negative space within your staircase be fitted with drawers?

Then, consider how creative use of colour can help make these elements blend in, by painting them the same colour as surrounding elements, or recede from view by painting them a darker colour.

Do you have any clever ideas for using colour to create space? Show us your creative solutions by sending a few snaps to [email protected] or sharing them with us on Facebook or Instagram.

styling Annick Larkin, Emily Sommerville-Ryan, Vanessa Nouwens

images Bryce Carlton, Melanie Jenkins, Wendy Fenwick, Helen Bankers

Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Alabaster

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Half Carefree

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Half Duck Egg Blue

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Poured Milk

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Quarter Stack

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Quarter Surrender

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Rose Gold

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Swiss Caramel

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Thumbs Up

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Twilight Zone

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.

Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Alabaster

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Half Carefree

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Half Duck Egg Blue

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Poured Milk

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Quarter Stack

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Quarter Surrender

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Rose Gold

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Swiss Caramel

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Thumbs Up

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Twilight Zone

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.