A basic knowledge of light reflection tells us that dark colors absorb light and light colors reflect it. When more light is reflected in an enclosed space, it seems bigger than it is due to its brightness. So, the lighter the color, the bigger the room feels.

That being said, you don’t need to paint every room stark white or blinding neon for it to feel big and bright. Here’s a list of what colors make a room look bigger and brighter.


There are many shades of off-white that are a little warmer than plain old white – although plain old white still allows for plenty of light without blinding you.

Choose a color like eggshell or cream—the warm tones will soften the light and make the room feel more inviting.

Light grays

One of the best things about the color gray is that it can have whatever undertone you want like purple, blue or green, and it goes with everything. It isn’t an overbearing color and can even be used in a monochromatic theme for a room.

And if you get a slightly darker gray, there is a lot of white used to make the shade, so it will reflect lots of light and brighten the room.

Light neutrals

Neutral colors may not be as bold and noticeable as bright ones, but that’s exactly what makes them so effective. If you decide to paint a room in a color with neutral undertones, it won’t be overpowering, but rather very subtle and inviting.

Traditional neutrals include beige and light pewter. Many other paint colors can be mixed into a neutral tone, such as light mauves, blues and even blue-green.


If you aren’t into neutrals and want a little more life in your walls, go for a soft pastel tone of your favorite color. A few of these fun colors are peach, robin egg, mint and lavender.

Most pastel colors are light and bright, so make sure if you do choose one of these, you contrast it with other neutral tones when choosing decor and furniture or else your room may turn into an Easter egg.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to paint an entire room with a light color to make it feel bigger and brighter – even painting an accent wall can add depth and brightness to a room. Windows and lighting can also make a difference in how big a room feels and how light reflects off paint.

No matter what color you end up choosing, be sure to test it on your wall first. If there is a lot of natural light in a room with a bright color on the wall, it may be way too bright.

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