Dining Room with white wainscotHere’s a simple way to expand the look of your dining room without losing the cozy ambiance that deeper colors offer.

By surrounding this dining room with a band of white (or off-white) on the lower wall, the room looks bigger than it would have if whole wall would have been painted dark. White paint colors look expansive because they reflect light; the same reason we look a little expansive when wearing white clothes!

If dividing a wall into two portions, experts usually recommend putting the light area on top – partly because dirt and scuffs occur on the lower portion and are easier to hide with dark colors, partly because  it mimics the natural world (the ground is darker and the air above it lighter).

BUT in the case of a small room, the reverse can be effective. Notice how the 2 areas that add light to the room (the ceiling because it reflects light down and the upper wall because it’s most visible) are kept dark and enclosing. But the 2 areas that create the room’s perceived size (the lower wall because it connects to the floor space, the window because it opens views to the outdoors), are kept light and spacious.  

The wainscotting and the ceiling molding also create horizontal lines that add to the spacious look. By moving the eye right and left, rather than up and down, the room looks wider and longer.

Another side benefit of a light-colored low wall area? The details of the chairs are easier to appreciate against a light rather than dark wall.

For more home decor ideas, or to download our free magazine, visit www.roomplanners.com.