“I love my new home, but there’s one room that’s a bit smaller than I would like. Is there anything I can do to make it feel more spacious?”

If you’re downsizing or just getting your foot on the property ladder, chances are you’ll have at least one room in your new home that you wish was that little bit bigger.

But just because a room is small doesn’t mean you have to admit defeat on the decorating front. With a bit of painting know-how, you can easily create the illusion of extra space.

Interior designer Henriette von Stockhausen of VSP Interiors offers up her top five painting tips for making the most of small spaces.

Cooler colours help walls to recede, making the room feel more spacious and light. Go for pale shades of grey and blue for maximum lightening effect.

1) Go dark

I don't believe that small rooms always need to be painted in light colours. It all depends on the room’s use. A bedroom might warrant a warmer choice of colour, whereas a bathroom might benefit from cooler shades. If it's cosiness you’re after, a very dark blue can be extremely effective.

Which paints? Try 10BB 07/150, 10BB 07/150

2) Create the illusion of height

Paint your wall colour up to about 10cm below the ceiling, or up to the bottom of the cornice if you have one, then paint everything above this white. The extra band of white will visually stretch the ceiling height, making the room appear taller. Deep teal tone looks smart against a crisp white.

Which paints? Try 10BG 11/278

3) Broaden your corridors

I’m not a big fan of feature walls but one situation I would recommend them for is if you have a very long, narrow corridor. A dark colour at either end helps to draw the eye and make the space appear less stretched. Try a rich red for a dramatic look.

Which paints? Try 10RB 49/062

Paint architraves, skirting boards and any other mouldings in light, reflective colours, perhaps in a subtly contrasting tone to the colour on the walls.

4) Try a tonal scheme

Choose fabrics and furniture in similar shades to your wall paint to help them blend in rather than stand out. This will help create a calm, uncluttered space that feels bigger than it is. Shades of green works particularly well for this.

Which paints? Try 70BB 59/118, 90BG 25/079 and 90GG 08/118

5) Define your woodwork

In a small room, woodwork and mouldings should be one shade darker than the wall colour. This creates a contrast that allows the architectural bones of the room to stand out and the walls to recede a little, making the room feel bigger. Lighter grey walls with darker grey woodwork set a sophisticated tone.

Which paints? Try 10RB 49/062 on the walls and 90BB 09/186 on the woodwork.

Top tip

For maximum effect, choose a paint from the ICI Dulux Light + Space range, which reflects light back into the room to make it feel even airier.

Once you’ve painted your walls, make your room feel bigger still by hanging large mirrors, which will visually double the space.