7 Designers Share The Best Paint Colors For Small Spaces


Navigating paint colors for small spaces can feel daunting. After all, how do you balance personal preference with buzzy 2023 paint color trends? Whether the goal is a moody mudroom or a vibrant lounge, here are designer-approved paint colors, tips and takeaways for transforming small rooms into stylish jewel boxes.

best colors for small spaces include a dark green like in this mudroom by hillary stamm

“We are still seeing tons of interest in moody contrasts and rich colors that yield gorgeous and distinct spaces,” says Hillary Stamm, whose featured mudroom project leans on Sherwin Williams’ Jasper for a memorable pop of color. (Photo: Lauren Pressey)

It’s all about the accents.

The color: Sherwin Williams’ Jasper

The tip: All white will never go out of style—just remember to bring those other color elements in. I will never tire of a dark and moody strong hue.

—Hillary Stamm, HMS Interiors | Manhattan Beach, California

moody bedroom in salamander by benjamin moore and neutral furnishings

“My clients are more interested in the unexpected, daring design and color choices that will ultimately differentiate their home from the house next door,” says Kathleen Walsh. (Photo: Rikki Snyder)

Add luxury with jewel tones. 

The color: Benjamin Moore’s Salamander

The takeaway: A deep, jewel-toned green helped this bedroom space feel cozier—especially against the white headboard and carpet. At night, it’s the perfect, moody hue.

—Kathleen Walsh, Kathleen Walsh InteriorsNew York, New York 

moody black bathroom in benjamin moore soot

“There’s something so sophisticated and luxurious about a dramatic color palette,” says designer Leslie Murphy. This primary bathroom features Benjamin Moore’s Soot. (Photo: Lisa Hubbard)

Venture to the dark side.

The color: Benjamin Moore’s Soot

The takeaway: Just because a space is on the smaller side, doesn’t mean you can’t take risks. Where some may flock to lighter shades, one of my favorite applications is grounding a room in a darker paint color and pairing that with neutral accessories and details to really make the room pop.

—Leslie Murphy, Murphy Maude InteriorsMemphis, Tennessee  

bright pink living room with velvet couch and colorful gallery wall

“I love when any size room feels like a “complete thought,’” says Noz Nozawa, who chose Benjamin Moore’s Peony for the bright, happy space. (Photo: Colin Price Photography)

Go all in on color. 

The color: Benjamin Moore’s Peony

The takeaway: There’s a tiny (like, 7 feet by 7 feet) living room in Nob Hill, San Francisco, that I painted bright magenta pink. We committed fully to color—from the walls to the sofa to the floral rug—and in doing so, it gave this small, not-very-sunny hosting space such a vibrancy.

—Noz Nozawa, Noz DesignSan Francisco  

best colors for small spaces like this green office lounge

“Why choose a classic white trim or wall when you can highlight architectural detailing while also defining a specific energy?” poses Emilie Munroe, who used Benjamin Moore’s Very Green in a bachelor lounge. (Photo: Thomas Kuoh)

Embrace nature’s vibrant side.

The color: Benjamin Moore’s Very Green

The tip: We have had incredible success with jewel-toned greens in small spaces.  Because it relates back to nature, green is bright, without being overwhelming, while exuding vitality.

Emilie Munroe, Studio MunroeSan Francisco 

dark green was the best paint color for the paneling in this small bathroom with a black steel shower door

“Small spaces are innately cozy, and we choose to lean into that with deep-hued colors,” explains Virginia Toledo, whose bathroom project features Farrow & Ball’s Carriage Green No. 94 (Photo: Jacob Snavely)

Be strategic with color pairings. 

The color: Farrow & Ball’s Carriage Green No. 94

The takeaway: Using a dark green paint color in this small bathroom allowed us to blur the lines of the room and made the room feel more expansive, since it’s harder to see where the corners come together. We paired it with a creamy tile to keep it from feeling overly cavernous.

—Virginia Toledo, Toledo GellerFranklin Lakes, New Jersey  

when thinking about paint colors for small spaces think about bridging rooms like this dark green kitchen nook

Designer Elisa Baran Tréan wants homeowners to challenge the idea of what “timeless” means. “Colors in the correct shades, used in the proper space ,can also be used in a way to make your space feel timeless too,” she says. (Photo: Gary Mead)

Use color to bridge rooms.

The color: Farrow & Ball Studio Green (No. 93)

The tip: I used an emerald quartzite throughout a recent kitchen project and wanted to complement the green as much as possible. Farrow & Ball Studio Green (No. 93) ties to the green and black stone in this small breakfast nook. 

Elisa Baran Tréan, Elisa Baran, LLCNew York, New York