Our Best Bold Color Ideas for Your Small Rooms

Choosing a color scheme for a small room is a perfect opportunity to be fearless. Unlike large rooms requiring an equally large investment--in terms of gallons of paint and the labor required to roll it on--your outlay for, say, an entry foyer or hall bath is minimal. So go ahead: Pick a color that you really like, and go for it.

Here are a couple tips:

1. Step back and consider what feeling and effect you want to create. If your goal is to make the room appear larger, go with lighter shades. But if you want to accentuate its coziness, opt for rich, saturated hues.

2. Think about the room's function. Sunny colors often work well in the breakfast nook where you enjoy your morning coffee, while calming shades in a bathroom can encourage you to de-stress in the tub after a demanding day.

If deciding is still too difficult, simply pick a This Old House-approved color combination! See how three small rooms get completely new looks using three different-and daring-paint schemes on thisoldhouse.com.


Space #1: Entry Foyer

Color Idea: Add a Single Accent

Lively bursts of color in a front hall create a welcoming atmosphere. "It's a pass-through space where people don't linger for long, so take some liberties and be playful," says Ann McGuire, founder of Beehive Studios, a color consulting firm in Buck Hill Falls, Pennsylvania.

A fire-engine red door provides an unexpected pop of color against taupe walls. The ceiling, trim, and stair risers are painted a lighter shade than the walls to subtly emphasize the woodwork.

Paint: Ralph Lauren

See other entry foyer color ideas:
Mix Warm and Cool Hues

Update and Enlarge


MORE: Secrets of a Perfect Paint Job


Space #2: Breakfast Nook

Color Idea: Let the Sun Shine In


Like a dose of caffeine, cheery colors in a kitchen area get you going in the morning, says McGuire. And by painting architectural details, such as this kitchen's built-in bench, you can play with contrasts between dark and light hues.

Let the sun shine in Yellow gives an eating area a fresh, clean look. Next to its more golden counterpart, the creamy paint on the seating accentuates the details of the built-in bench.

Paint: Valspar


See other breakfast nook color ideas:
Rev Up Red

Provide an Anchor


MORE: How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets


Space #3: Bathroom

Color Idea: Emphasize Good Bones

Pale blues and greens in a bath are common picks because they are soothing, says Chicago-based interior designer Kara Mann. "But that doesn't mean you should be afraid of using an unexpected color," she says. "In a small space, it packs a lot of punch."

The contrast between the crisp white and watery blue helps focus the eye on the wainscot paneling, one of the bathroom's nicest architectural features.

Paint: Benjamin Moore


See other bathroom color ideas:
Choose Color Complements

Stick to the Strip


See all of these bold color ideas for small rooms at thisoldhouse.com!


More from thisoldhouse.com:
Brilliant Interior Color Schemes

How to Paint Your Exterior

10 Ways to Update and Upgrade with Spray Paint