How to decorate your smallest spaces

Whether you’re restyling a small but perfectly proportioned apartment or bringing a forgotten cloakroom back to life, it’s easy to be tempted by traditional whites when decorating these smaller spaces. But this can create a dull finish which lacks imagination! Darker shades and richer colours create a real sense of intimacy, so be bold and embrace the littlest rooms in your home with these five handy tips.

1. The white lie

Brushing a crisp white paint onto your walls might seem like the only way to create light and space, but try using an off-white for a softer, more interesting alternative. Warm, yellow toned neutrals work brilliantly here as they reflect light really well.


Farrow & Ball’s Purbeck Stone

2. Distraction tactics

If you want to be a little bolder with your scheme, then strong colours are often the perfect distraction from your room’s shape and compact size. Try deep greens or vivid blues to create an inviting retreat, while adding impact and drama to your interiors.


Farrow & Ball’s Vardo

3. All in one

Why not apply just one single colour over the picture rail and up onto your ceiling to give an illusion of height and loftiness.  With no point of reference and without contrasts, you’ll be less aware of where the walls start and stop. Oh-so clever!

One colour

Farrow & Ball’s Pitch Blue

4. Take two

If you’re hoping to use two colours in your room, consider choosing a darker shade for your woodwork. When skirting boards are very dark, it often makes the larger wall spaces above feel lighter and airier. Plus darker trims give a wonderfully sophisticated and elegant look.


Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe

5. Give a dado a go

Painting your own dado or chair rail is another brilliant way of creating a more spacious feel with just two colours. Try painting the bottom half of the wall with darker shades to really anchor the room.  By brushing on a lighter paint above, you’ll find the paler wall will then flow into the ceiling of your small space.


Farrow & Ball’s Blue Ground and Ammonite

So remember that it can be just as effective to embrace the darkness of a small room by using strong colours to create a dramatic, intimate feel.  Littler spaces such as cloakrooms and studies are the perfect opportunity to inject bold colour without committing to larger, more lived-in rooms in your home.

Joanna Spindler


After studying classics and archaeology at the University of Exeter, Joanna quickly fell for the interiors world and has been writing about homes ever since. She recently swapped her London flat for a little cottage in the Dorset countryside. At the weekend, you’ll find Joanna eating her way around the local foodie spots or trying not to fall over during yoga.

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist