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HomeBusiness InnovationArchitecture And Interior DesignHow Colors and Material Contrasts Can Be Used To Transform Interior Space

How Colors and Material Contrasts Can Be Used To Transform Interior Space

Key Highlights

  • Interior design can change the perception of interior space using only colors and material contrasts.
  • Lighter and cooler colors make spaces appear larger, while darker colors create a cozier, more enclosed feel.

As we spend more time indoors, the importance of creating a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing environment becomes increasingly essential. Studies indicate that humans spend up to 87% of their lives inside buildings. Interior space design can significantly impact the mood and well-being of occupants, and designers have the power to alter variables such as natural and artificial lighting, materials, and proportions. 

One effective way to transform the perception of interior space without changing its physical structure is by using colors and material contrasts

Below are some examples of how colors and material contrasts can be used to transform the perception of a space without making any physical alterations.

1. Creating a Sense of Spaciousness

To create a feeling of spaciousness in a room, designers often use light colors that reflect natural light and make surfaces appear larger. Lighter and cooler colors, such as whites, creams, and pastels, can reflect light and make rooms feel brighter and more open. By using light colors on walls, ceilings, and floors, designers can create a sense of airiness and openness.

2. Creating a Cozy Environment

Alternatively, designers can create a cozy and intimate environment by using darker and bolder colors on wall surfaces. Darker colors can absorb light and make the interior space feel more enclosed and intimate, which can be ideal for certain functions such as a bedroom or home theater.

3. Playing with Proportions

Designers can use colors and materials to play with the proportions of a room and create a more visually balanced space. For example, by painting the back wall and ceiling with darker colors and leaving the side walls lighter, designers can make narrow rooms and hallways appear wider and more spacious. Alternatively, painting two opposing side walls in dark colors and leaving the background and ceiling light can make a room appear narrower and more proportionate.

4. Creating Height or Lowering Ceilings

Designers can also create the illusion of height by leaving the ceiling white while painting walls in darker colors. This can make rooms with low ceilings feel taller and more spacious. Conversely, designers can lower the height of a room by painting the ceiling in a darker color than the walls or leaving a visible material texture. This creates an intimate and welcoming feeling in the space.

5. Highlighting Specific Walls

To highlight a specific wall, designers can keep it a lighter color than the others, causing the eye to be drawn to it. Alternatively, to make walls appear shorter, designers can apply a darker shade to the bottom of the wall.


By using colors and material contrasts, designers can transform the perception of interior space without altering its physical structure. From creating a sense of spaciousness to a cozy and intimate environment, designers can use these techniques to create a visually balanced and aesthetically pleasing space.

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