small bathroom painted with pale green and yellow stripes
Photo: Jean Allsopp
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4. Enlarge a Bath with Sideways Stripes

Big fat stripes would dwarf a small bath—right? Paradoxically, just the opposite is true. "Wide horizontal stripes appear to 'push out' the walls, making the room look larger," says Debbie Zimmer, a color expert at the Paint Quality Institute.


"Choose two hues that are closely related for an 'analogous' scheme," says Zimmer. Pick one (usually the lighter of the two) for the base color and apply two coats. Then measure the wall's height in inches and divide by 5. The resulting number will be the width of your stripes. (If you end up with an awkward fraction, add a little extra to the top and bottom bands to round off the number.) Measure stripes, mark them using a pencil and a level, then tape them off. Paint top, middle, and bottom stripes with two coats of the deeper color. Finish the room with a few black accents—such as the mirrors shown above—to give the pale wall colors a sophisticated edge.

Benjamin Moore's Moonlight and Rainforest Dew in a semigloss finish help brighten the narrow space. Find closely related hues by consulting a color wheel.

More: 19 Ways to Dress Up Your Bath on a Budget
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