When faced with the challenge of decorating a compact space, many homeowners turn to white for the wall color — and for good reason. White makes a room feel more spacious, and it maximizes light. However, the downside is that smaller white spaces can be void of character. This is because small rooms typically lack architectural interest and other appealing details. In addition, some people will avoid adding too many accessories or accent colors, to prevent a cluttered or chaotic look. As a result, a small white room can be a boring white box. Don’t let this happen to you. Here are eight ideas that will help give your small space a big personality.
1. Add height. There’s a common saying that applies to small rooms: When you can’t build out, build up. Loft beds are great space-savers in small bedrooms, and built-in cabinets and drawers can stretch a room’s floor plan.
To create visual depth, use off-white on the walls and a crisp white for the built-ins. Finish off the look with colorful bedding — perhaps in patriotic hues — and your small bedroom will make a big statement.
Similar paint color to try: Summer White from Sherwin-Williams.
2. Accent boldly. Don’t hesitate to add dashes of color to your small white space. If that makes you nervous, just stick with one bold hue. In this room, chartreuse is the color of choice, and it totally makes me smile.
With such a vivid color, it’s best to use restraint everywhere else. Keep the furniture simple and select an unadorned window treatment. The space will appear more open and look fashionably modern.
Similar paint color to try: Frost from Behr.
3. Use tile. Small bathrooms don’t require small tiles. Think big. Large tiles in tiny spaces give the impression that the room is larger than it actually is. Tile will also create a subtle pattern that will look far more interesting than plain drywall.
If you can squeeze in a few extras, add a trio of oversized white accessories. I love the pitchers shown in this bathroom. Their white color makes them blend into the walls and floor, keeping the space from looking crowded.
4. Elongate. Another effective way to visually extend your small space is by using elongated accessories. A long, horizontal mirror or piece of art will make the wall seem wider. A tall, narrow table or floor lamp will “bump up” the ceiling. Even a long white sofa will give visual length to a room, while also providing an abundance of comfy seating.
Wall paint: Decorator’s White, Benjamin Moore.
5. Choose contrast. White walls may not seem like an option for people who want a more dramatic look. But with some dark finishes and rich accent hues, drama prevails. Go for dark wood furniture and sumptuous hardwood flooring such as walnut or hickory in a deep finish. Install your flooring in a herringbone pattern or on a slant for added emphasis.
Similar paint color to try: White on White from Glidden.
6. Add black. Black and white is a classic color duo that never goes out of style, and it looks even more regal in small spaces. Black is a strong hue, so the trick is to use just enough so that it doesn’t overwhelm the space.
In this bedroom, the open frames of the canopy beds keep the space from looking overcrowded while adding visual height — two great pluses for small rooms.
Similar paint color to try: Extra White from Sherwin-Williams.
7. Create a book nook. Whether freestanding or built-in, white bookshelves will practically disappear into the walls of a small white room. This offers a seamless look, and it also gives you the opportunity to add rows of colorful books, photos and accessories.
Similar paint color to try: White by Dunn-Edwards.
8. Invite whimsy. Maybe you’ve tried everything to give your white room a face-lift, but it has fallen flat. Don’t despair. One of the easiest ways to inject your room with flair is by using lighthearted, whimsical patterns.
By simply adding throw pillows or upholstered pieces in fun motifs, your room will suddenly have loads of charm. But don’t stop there. Hang a playful piece of art on the wall. Your small white space will be the happiest room in the house.
Similar paint color to try: Melting Glacier from McCormick Paints.