Use rich, natural shades, like sage green.

How to Make a Large Room Seem Cozy Using Paint

by Lisa McQuerrey

Large, open rooms can feel light, airy and spacious. They can also seem cold and sterile if what you're looking for is a more intimate, cozy environment. Luckily, you can achieve this affect with some simple painting techniques. Keep in mind that what matters is not just shade -- a paint’s finish can affect the feel of the room just as much as its color. A flat finish or a matte finish reflects less light than a gloss and will help keep the intimate feel of a room intact.

Dark Wall Paint

Paint your walls using warm earth tones to create a more intimate environment. Consider rich shades like maroon, chocolate or evergreen. As a general rule, dark colors make a room look smaller, while lighter ones open up cramped space. You can add even greater impact by painting or staining wood floors a darker hue, installing dark carpeting or furnishing the room with large-scale, overstuffed furniture, like leather couches and chairs.

Paint the Ceiling

If you want to create a cozy, cavelike environment, paint your ceiling a dark tone that complements your dark wall shade. The darker the color, the more intimate the feel. If you use this approach, be prepared to add extra lighting to the room, as you won't have the benefit of a pale ceiling reflecting light. Strategically placed “up” lights can help you further define your comfy space.

Paint the Trim

Create a cabinlike environment by painting or staining your doors, windowsills, trim and molding a dark shade, like walnut or cherry. You might even get creative and use a faux finishing technique like crackle paint or antiquing glaze to give you a warm and interesting look and feel. This can be especially dramatic if you use large-scale artwork in ornate frames to adorn your freshly painted room.

Paint Furniture

Give new life to furniture by painting it. Garage sale coffee tables and old honey oak bookcases can look rich and elegant with a coat of dark paint. Add decorative trim to give pieces a full makeover.


In addition to using dark paints to make a large room feel less stark, consider how you accessorize the room as well. Plush carpeting creates a cozier feel than wood flooring, and dark drapes or dark-painted wood shutters can help close in the space even more. Use large silk foliage strategically placed in corners to help take up space, and select heavy-duty masculine tables and lamps to further develop your intimate environment.

About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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