Ten Ways to Make a Small Room Look Larger

Everyone has at least one room in their home that’s too small and possibly problematic to decorate. With features like recessed lighting, a glass table and light colors, your room will look larger. Try these tips on for size.

Enhance Your Small Space

Most of the following designer tricks can be applied to any room:

1. For the illusion of a larger room, use a color scheme that’s light rather than bright or dark. Pastels, neutrals and white are all color possibilities.

2. Use a monochromatic color scheme on the furniture, rugs and walls. Select different shades and textures of your single color.

3. Lighting is a key element in opening up a space. Recessed spot lighting is visually appealing and is perfect for a small space. A torchiere light is great for bouncing light off of the ceiling and back down on the room.Skylights and solar tubes are natural alternatives for adding light to a room.

4. Limit the number of accessories to avoid the cluttered feeling.

5. The floor and the ceiling are the fifth and sixth walls of every room. A light-colored flooring such as light oak or a light-colored carpet will make the room appear brighter and more open. The same applies to the ceiling—use a light color or white to “open up” the space above.

6. Increase the appearance of the size of the room by adding wall mirrors. They not only reflect images, they reflect light and color. Be a little daring! Use mirror tiles to mirror an entire wall. Your room will appear to double in size.

7. Don’t place too many pieces of furniture in a small space. A love seat may work better than a full-size sofa depending on the size and shape of the room. Add two medium-sized chairs or two small wood chairs. Place the chairs closer to the wall and then pull them into the area when additional seating is needed.

8. Add paintings or prints to the walls. One large painting works better than a group of small paintings.

9. The visual balance of a room is also important. A large, brightly colored element can overwhelm a room and decrease the appearance of space.

10. A glass or lucite table, whether it is a dining, coffee or end table, will keep keep the appearance of a open and free space.

Source: Lowes

Using Paint in Problem Spaces

Warm colors create intimacy

Did you know that you can deal with most problem spaces with just paint? Like an artist, you can use paint to fool the eye and change the look or feel of problem rooms. Even if you have never picked up a paint brush before, you can be a problem solver with simple color tricks.

    • The room is too long: Try painting a warm color on one wall of a predominately cool or neutral room. The warm wall will appear to advance, making the room seem less like a bowling alley.
    • The room seems too short: Paint one wall a cool color, leaving the rest of the walls warm. The cool wall will appear to recede, giving the illusion that the room is longer.
    • The ceilings are too high: Although this is a problem that most homeowners would die for, some of you prefer a more intimate feel in your living spaces. In a room with high ceilings, paint the ceiling a darker color. It will appear even lower if you paint the top 12 inches of wall with the same ceiling color.
    • The ceilings are too low: To make the ceilings appear higher, paint the ceiling a light color and bring the wall color up six inches on to the ceiling. Another trick to add to the illusion of height is painting the baseboards the same color as the walls.
    • The room has no windows: Apart from knocking a hole in the wall and adding a window, the best solution is to paint the walls a light color (not necessarily white) in a paint finish that is reflective. A matte finish will absorb light, while a finish such as satin, will reflect light back into the room.

Get the picture? Warm = advancing. Cool = receding. Easy!

Source: About.com

How Much Should I Budget for Painting?

We just purchased an older home in a neighborhood that we love and will be moving in shortly.  The house needs a fair bit of work, but most of the projects will have to wait for a few month/years until we can afford them.  One thing we did want to do before we move in though is repaint the living room, dining room, and hallway (it’s an open concept bungalow, so everything is connected and will be the same color).  We will be buying one of your “PaintIT” packages to help us with the color, but we were wondering how to budget for the paint, materials, and labor for the project as well (we aren’t sure if we will do the work ourselves or hire pros).  Any tips on the cost of painting a room?


Tarzana, CA

Hi Shirley,

Thanks for your question.  Painting is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to create a whole new look in a room, and it’s a great way to create a fresh slate when moving into a new home.  As far as the actual cost of the job, it will vary quite a bit depending on certain factors (the type of paint you use, the application method, the condition of the walls) but here are some general guidelines to follow for creating your painting budget:

– Expect to spend about $100-$150 on the basic equipment you’ll need, like brushes, rollers, paint trays, drop cloths, and drywall filler.

– Interior latex paint will average about $30/gallon.  Our friends at Benjamin Moore include a handy Paint Calculator to help you determine the amount of paint you require, depending on the square footage of the area you wish to paint.

– Hiring professional painters will run you in the neighborhood of $2-$5/sq ft. (plus the cost of paint) depending on the condition of the space.  This pricing is for two coats of paint, not including ceilings.  If a great deal of patchwork or priming is required, or if the painters are required to move furniture expect to pay an additional $50/hr.

You can also check out our How to do IT: Painting a Room guide on the TOOLS page for more helpful tips.  Good luck with your project.  We’d love to see photos of the new room when you’re done!

Source: Decorate IT Online

Exterior Paint Selection

Painting the exterior of your house may seem like a job for professionals, but if you’ve got the motivation and some basic knowledge of paints, it’s a job you may want to tackle yourself. It could save you a lot of cash. Latex exterior paints have undergone improvements, and some can be as durable as oil-based.

Below are some tips on selecting exterior paint, from home-improvement specialist James Young. There are two basic types of exterior paint to choose from: oil-based and the more commonly used latex.

  • Oil-based paints are very durable and water-resistant. They result in hard finish and are often used by professional painters. Use an oil-based if the surface you are painting has already been painted with oil-based paint.
  • Stir oil-based paint frequently, as the oil in these types of paint tend to separate quickly.
  • If using oil-based paint, be sure to use a brush or roller specifically designed for use with oil-based paint.
  • Latex exterior paints have undergone many improvements, and some can be as durable as oil-based. They are also considerably easier to work with. Be sure, however, that you select an exterior latex for use on the outside of your home, not the same latex used on interior walls.

Tip: Here’s how to determine whether you have acrylic or oil-based paint on your home now. Peel off a large paint-chip. If the chip bends slightly before cracking, it’s probably latex. Oil-paint chips tend to snap easily. If this test doesn’t work for you, take a paint-chip sample to your local paint store or home center and have them test it.

  • Latex is easy to apply, dries quickly, is durable and is resistant to the effects of direct sunlight. Cleanup is easy, and just requires water.
  • Acrylic latex is the highest-quality latex paint. It will cover just about any building material including masonry and properly primed metal.
  • Important: Never put a new coat of latex over an old coat of oil-based paint. It will almost certainly peel.

Source: DIY Network

Choosing Paintbrushes and Rollers

Foam brushes are well suited to intricate work such as painting molding or window casings. These brushes are normally good only for one use, as they’re hard to clean and easy to tear.

Manmade bristle brushes are used for acrylics and for water-based and latex paints. Before purchasing a manmade bristle brush, make sure it has a thick head of evenly distributed bristles. Cheaper brushes may have gaps in the middle of the head.

Polyester synthetic brushes are available with straight bristles or split-ended bristles. Split ends give good coverage so fewer strokes are needed to paint a surface. These brushes are used with latex paints.

Natural-bristle brushes are made with animal hair and used mainly with oil-based paints. Latex and water-based paints will dry out the bristles.

When used with latex paint, foam rollers give a finish similar to that produced by a paint sprayer. Foam rollers also come in the shape of a wheel, permitting the user to get into corners more easily.

Source: DIY Network

Interior House Painting Tips

On your next inside painting project, religiously follow these simple rules and I guarantee that you will save at least 2 hours. Here we go!

1. Slosh Your Brush

Before painting, slosh your brush in whatever solvent you will be using at the end of the day to clean the brush (i.e., water for latex, mineral spirits for oil, etc.) It’ll be easier to clean when you’re done.

2. Wrap Brush or Roller

If you don’t feel like cleaning your brush or roller at the end of the day and expect to get back to painting within a few days–wrap the brush or roller tightly in a plastic bag and put in the freezer.

3. Latex Gloves or Lotion, Your Pick

Latex gloves are great for keeping your hands clean (especially if you’re using oil-based paint!). If you can’t stand latex gloves or are allergic, a thick application of hand lotion before painting will make cleaning a lot easier later on.

4. Wet Edge

Always keep a wet edge as you paint, and work away from that wet edge. If you paint over a dry edge, you will get overlap marks.

5. Avoid Cheap Roller Covers and Brushes

This one is important. Cheap roller covers leave fuzz on the wall. Cheap brushes leave streaky brush marks. Avoid those multi-packs of rollers, ten for a dollar. Pay the extra few cents and get better tools. It’ll be worth it. Honest it will.

6. Test for Loose Paint

Will the existing painted surface take new paint? And hold it for years to come? Test this out by adhering a strip of duct tape to the existing painted surface and…ripping it away. If flakes of paint more than microscopic size come off, you may need to scrape and sand.

7. Low-Stick Masking Tape

Also known as “blue tape,” this tape comes off easier and doesn’t peel off primer or existing paint. Blue tape, by itself, will save you at least an hour of frustration over the old-style beige masking tape.

8. Rein in Your Paint Can Opener

Paint can openers, those little metal keys (you do use one, don’t you?) are notorious for getting lost in the shuffle. Chain it to a small chunk of wood just like a public bathroom key. Whatever you do, just don’t lose it!

9. Painting Process

Paint in this order:

  1. Ceiling
  2. Walls
  3. Trim
  4. Cabinets
  5. Doors

And remember to always paint from top-down!

Source: About.com

How to Paint a House

Painting the whole outside of your house is a major job. But your home may not need a whole paint job. You may be able to spiff up the appearance of your home and extend the life of an entire paint job by several years with regular maintenance and some quick repairs. Whether you decide to paint a porch, the most weathered side of your house, or an outbuilding or two, the general process is the same as painting your whole house.

You’ll need to clean and prep the surface, decide what type of paint to use, and apply the paint. The best time to paint is in late spring or early fall on a dry day that is not too sunny. Temperatures below 40 degrees F and direct hot sun can ruin paint jobs. Inspect your house thoroughly before you paint, and take corrective action to prevent the root causes of paint failure.

We’ll hit on all the basics of exterior painting in his article, starting in this first section with how to deal with various paint problems.


Peeling is often the result of painting over wet wood. It can also result from moisture within the house pushing its way out. If you cannot control the moisture with exhaust fans, use latex primer and latex paint. Latex allows some moisture to pass right through the paint.

Another cause of peeling is a dirty or a glossy surface. To undo the damage, all loose paint flakes must be scraped off with a wire brush and the surface must be sanded to smooth sharp edges. Bare spots should be primed before painting.


This problem looks just like its name suggests: the hide of an alligator. Paint shrinks into individual islands, exposing the previous surface, usually because the top coat is not adhering to the paint below. Perhaps the paints are not compatible or the second coat was applied before the first coat had dried. To get rid of this problem, scrape off the old paint and then sand, prime, and repaint the surface.


Paint that rises from the surface and forms blisters is usually due to moisture or improper painting. To fix the problem, first scrape off the blisters. If you can see dry wood behind them, the problem is due to moisture. If you find paint, then it is a solvent blister and is probably caused by painting with an oilbase or alkyd-base coating in hot weather. The heat forms a skin on the paint and traps solvent in a bubble.


New paint can run and sag into a series of slack, skinlike droops. This occurs when the paint you are using is too thick and forms a surface film over the still-liquid paint below. It can also happen if you paint in cold weather; the cold surface slows drying underneath. To recoat, make sure the new paint is the proper consistency and be sure to brush it out as you apply. Before doing this, though, you will have to sand the wrinkled area smooth and, if necessary, remove the paint altogether.


This is paint that has a dusty surface. Some oilbase and alkyd-base paints are designed to “chalk” when it rains. When this happens, a very fine powdery layer is removed, automatically cleaning the surface. In most cases, this is desirable. But if foundations, sidewalks, and shrubs become stained, too much chalking is occurring.

This is likely due to painting over a too-porous surface that has absorbed too much of the paint’s binding agents. A chemical imbalance in an inferior paint may also be the cause of excessive chalking. The best solution is to wash down the chalking surfaces as thoroughly as possible, then paint over them with a nonchalking paint.


This moldy growth appears where dampness and shade prevail. And, if you paint over it, it’s likely to come right through the new paint. Use a fungicide such as chlorine bleach or a commercial solution to kill patches of mildew before repainting.

Running Sags

Using a paintbrush incorrectly (e.g., too much paint on the brush) can create a wavy, irregular surface. To correct it after the paint is dry, sand and repaint surface, smoothing out the new coat to an even thickness.

Paint Won’t Dry

This is perhaps the best reason to buy high-quality paint. Prolonged tackiness is an indication of inferior paint. If you apply poor-quality paint too thickly or during high humidity, it will stay tacky for a long time. Good paint, on the other hand, dries quickly. If you think you may have an inferior paint, first experiment on an inconspicuous portion of the house.

Think you’re ready to get started? In the next section, we’ll go over the prep work you’ll need to do before you begin your outdoor painting project.

Source: How Stuff Works

Secrets of a Perfect Paint Job

Ask just about any painting pro, and he’ll tell you that his trade has a real image problem. After all, everyone thinks they can paint—just watch how fast the color goes up on those done-in-a-day home-makeover shows. Grab a brush, a roller, and a couple gallons of latex, and you’re all set, right? 

Not quite. “The truth is, it is easy to do things poorly,” says Rich O’Neill, who chairs a craftsmanship committee within the Painting and Decorating Contractors Association of America. There’s no substitute for learning the proper steps, taking time to do the job right, and improving your technique as you go. 

But there are also a few tricks of the trade that homeowners can learn to ease the way. We’ve assembled a couple dozen of them on the following pages, gleaned from decades’ worth of accumulated wisdom from pros working from Seattle to Boston. Put their pointers to work, and you’ll notice a difference in your paint job years after the tape and tarps are put away.

Source: This Old House

5 Quick Painting Tips

Foolproof tricks that will make your next project a breeze.

What Type of Paint Is Best?

There are two types: oil-based paint (known for its sheen) and water-based paint. Nowadays there’s no need to use oil-based when painting a room. Modern water-based options, which dry faster and have less odor, offer plenty of gloss and wipeability. As for paint finishes, you can’t fail with a matte or eggshell finish on walls and a satin finish on trim. When purchasing paint, be sure to stick with brand names. Bargain paints can yield disappointing results.

How Much Paint Do I Need?

The general rule is one gallon for every 350 square feet of surface area. All you have to do is measure walls roughly, then go to Sherwin-Williams.com and type the dimensions into the easy online paint calculator. This tool will also ask for measurements of windows, doors, and trim so it can come up with a more precise total. Whatever the number, buy an extra quart for touch-ups. A new batch mixed later might not match.

Should I Use Primer?

No need for primer unless (1) you’re painting a light color over a dark one, (2) the walls are badly stained, or (3) the walls are marked up with spackle from patching. In these situations, a primer will help create a consistent, neutral surface that your paint will adhere to evenly. Instead of using a separate product, though, you might want to go with the Benjamin Moore Aura line of paints ($68 a gallon, benjaminmoore.com), which work like all-in-one paint-and-primers and are available in all Benjamin Moore colors.

What’s the Order of Operations?

1. Clean baseboards and dusty ceiling corners.
2. Apply painter’s tape.
3. Put down drop cloths.
4. “Cut” corners.
5. Paint the room top to bottom: ceiling, then walls, then trim.

What About the Ceiling?

Most pros recommend Benjamin Moore ceiling paint, which is “low splatter” (because it’s thicker than standard paint) and ultra-flat, so it hides mistakes well (shiny paint shows flaws). The entire range of Benjamin Moore colors is available. Follow essentially the same technique used for walls: Roll away from where you’re standing, then zigzag back toward yourself, working in small, overlapping sections. But don’t try to paint directly above your head—it’s too difficult to see what you’re doing.

Source: Real Simple Solution Seekers

Summer Painting Tips

Bring the colours of summer inside your home with Walls Alive Painting! Summer colours suggest renewal, excitement, and a fresh start. This summer you might be overwhelmed by the desire for self-expression, balance and the need to re-energize your home. The summer 2013 colour trends forecasted by Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams offer practicality and versatility, but at the same time, will demand attention and a second appreciative glance!

Whether you are painting the interior or exterior of your home, there are some points that you should consider prior to hiring a painting contractor.

  • Ensure that the company has at least $2,000,000 liability insurance (W.S.I.B) and full workers compensation for all of their painters. At Walls Alive Painting, we are fully insured and have full workers compensation
  • Complete some background research on the company by viewing the company’s portfolios and websites. You should always check any reviews which are made available by online websites such as 411.ca, yellow pages, etc;
  • Ask for references that are current of projects which the company has recently completed. Any reputable company will be happy to provide you with references from their previous clients. At Walls Alive Painting, we like to send a reference of a recently completed project, and one of a current project. This ensures that we are not using the same ones time and time again, so our clients can see our full scope of work.
  • What kind of paint does the company use? We only use paint products from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams that adhere to our Green Alternative Eco-Friendly Approach to Painting. This approach is ideal to ward off any humidity and atmospheric conditions which may be present.
  • Plan which rooms are of high importance to be painted first. If you are considering painting multiple rooms, make sure the painting company provides you with a schedule of what work is to be completed first and last. At Walls Alive Painting, we always supply our customers with a detailed paint schedule so they can plan accordingly.
  • Look at the qualities and characteristics of the paint. For example, we only use eco-friendly, no odour, low VOC paint products that ensure the health and safety of your family. Secondly, these paint products enable us to start and complete each room by day’s end!
  • Ask the painting company about any surface preparations that they plan on completing. Preparing wall surfaces is a crucial task prior to the application of paint, as it allows the paint to cure properly.

It is important to consider these points if you are planning on painting in the future, as no two painting companies are created equal. If we can assist you with any future projects, we are only a phone call away. We have been servicing Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga and surrounding areas for over 15 years! With our use of eco-friendly paints, we have established ourselves as one of the most respectable and environmentally conscious painting companies. Painting is our business and business is good!

Source: Walls Alive Painting Company