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Dining Room with white wainscot, make small dining room look biggerIf you like the drama and coziness of dark interior paint colors, but also want to make your small dining room look bigger, here’s how to do both. Paint the lower portion of the wall white (or off-white) and reserve the darker paint color for the top portion. The dining room will look bigger than it would have if whole wall would have been painted dark.

When 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 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 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 horizontal wainscotting and horizontal ceiling molding 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 lower wall? The intricate details of dining chairs are easier to see against a light,  rather than dark wall.

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