Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen shares genius tip to make rooms feel bigger using dark paint

It might sound counterintuitive, but hear us out

Changing Rooms star and interiors expert Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has shared a genius dark feature wall tip to make a space feel bigger.

Related: Kelly Hoppen's unconventional advice for painting skirting boards is a game changer

Appearing live from a floral sofa in his Cotswolds home on This Morning, he advised a viewer named Claire to paint a dark feature wall in her living room to give the illusion of more space. Now, the feature wall gets a bad rep, but it can create a focal point in a room and add interest to a specific area.

Using dark paint to make space feel bigger might seem counterintuitive, but Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen explains that particularly when you have a wall-mounted television, painting the space behind it will work much better.

Beddrom with wood armchair and cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's dark feature wall tip

This Morning caller Claire was seeking advice on her fireplace, but Laurence pointed out that it was in fact the TV that was the problem. 'It's less about the fireplace and more about the television, which is a very black lump above it. If that wall was a dark grey or a navy blue, the whole thing would work so much better.'

'Get a pair of mirrors to go either side of the fireplace, preferably the ones that look a bit like windows with glaze, bars and a domed top. That will stop that feeling of claustrophobia. But actually, it's the television that's catching your eye, not the fireplace.'

Feature wall with various sized black and white frames

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

'Find a darker, better, more curatorial colour like a darker blue. If the rest of the room is kept pale, that dark wall will actually make space look much bigger, and it will just stop making that television looking quite so overpowering.'

The important thing with a feature wall is the colour and how the tone ties in with the rest of the room, as it needs to have some connection with the colour of the other walls and the furnishings.

Some interior designers argue against the feature wall if it’s chosen out of fear. If you really love a bold colour or wallpaper, then why not go all out and use it on all four walls? While this might create a more striking space, it means you forgo a range of textures on the walls.

Purple wall with white side table with a vase

(Image credit: Future PLC)

One way to make the feature wall work is to paint the skirting board in the same colour so that it works with the rest of the room without looking totally separate. And, as Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen points out, dark colours aren't something we should shy away from.

For more tips, the Kensington-born interiors guru will be a guest judge on Interior Design Masters on BBC Two on February 2.

Related: Kelly Hoppen's genius idea for painting narrow hallways – to make the space feel bigger

Will you be trying this tip at home?

Millie Hurst
Senior Content Editor

Millie Hurst was Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home from 2020-2022, and is now Section Editor at Homes & Gardens. Before stepping into the world of interiors, she worked as a Senior SEO Editor for News UK in both London and New York. You can usually find her looking up trending terms and finding real-life budget makeovers our readers love. Millie came up with the website's daily dupes article which gives readers ways to curate a stylish home for less.