When I was a kid I had dreams of playing center field for the Yankees or starting my own internet company. Now that I’m an adult homeowner, I just want a lush green looking yard and to walk into my big, well lit, well-painted home. I guess it’s all about perspective. I mean a well-lit living room, matched with the right paint colors, can make your room look so much bigger, inviting, and warm, while totally evolving the feng shui.
That first step into your own home is important. You want it to completely welcome you home and put you at total ease. To tell you the truth I haven’t decided whether I want that initial reaction to being that of a warm cozy home, or big open and spacious home. Luckily both of this can be achieved with the right paint and the right lighting. Yes, it’s very true different paint colors and styles can have completely different effects on your rooms.
The right lighting and paint can set the tone for the rest of your house. You can manipulate this tone at your will based on your color choices. Let’s take a deeper look into how paint colors and lighting can change the feel of the room and the tone of your home.
Two Main Choices, Light or Dark
Just like McSorley’s on 2nd ave, there are only two choices. Light or dark. The light will make your eye travel continuously around the room. This gives the effect of making the room appear more spacious and open. The color of a lighter room tends to recede, giving a cooler vibe. You want to use light colors to create a feeling of openness in a room and make it feel more expansive.
This is great for small apartments or tight bedrooms. Light colors will bounce whatever light is available in the space, which can help if you don’t have great natural light. We will get to more on lighting in a bit.
When you decide to go from a dark color to light you will need to prime the wall with a white primer first. This is important, don’t skip this. Pick your colors carefully, know how they will react to their surroundings, i.e. white absorbs no light, just reflects. Whereas blues absorb red lights. When selecting your light colors, remember different colors will draw the eye to the separation and will stop where the colors change.
If you use one color the eye keeps moving from room to room and judges the space as being larger than it is. I would recommend this for a smaller home. If you are getting a claustrophobic feeling from your room try painting the ceiling a lighter color then the walls. This will make the ceiling look like it has been elevated and larger.
The dark paints create a cozier and warmer feel but makes the room feel smaller in doing so. If your house is set up to walk into a big open space, using dark colored paints is a great way to make it feel more comfortable. For a great effect try painting the ceiling a darker color than the walls to make it appear lower.
I deeply enjoy the look of dark colored walls with a nice bright white trim. The contrast establish a border and boundary that the eye picks up immediately. It’s like it adds a sense of order to the room, but you can extend the trim to other rooms. This will give the effect of a continuous space, with both the coziness and the openness at the same time.
Don’t Be Afraid of Change
It’s best to play around with the coloring and change it every so often. I like to change mine for the holiday seasons, adding light colors to the open spaces with some deep reds as a contrast walls. It makes my holiday decorations pop. Speaking of contrast walls, let’s talk about their purpose in small narrow rooms.
If you paint both end walls of a narrow room darker than the other walls, the end walls feel closer to you. It will make the room appear more of a square shape. In a bigger room, a nice look is to divide the walls with a lighter color on top and a darker color on the bottom.
Now onto lighting, everything can affect the lighting. Lighting also affects eveything. Let’s start with your room placement. A north facing room will appear cooler and bluish. If your room is south facing dark colors will look brighter; lighter colors will virtually glow.
To the east is great for reds and yellows, your colors will look warm and yellowy before noon, then turn bluer later in the day. West facing you will want to go with something bold, the morning light makes the colors look dull, however they are stunning in the evening light.
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