Rearranging furniture, adding lighting and considering your wall decor are easy tricks to open up your space, but adding a fresh coat of paint is by far the simplest method to make your living space look and feel bigger. If you can't afford or don't have time to paint the entire room from top to bottom, paint only one element of the room.
Bright and dark colors such as intense turquoise, fiery reds and deep greens in a small room can be overwhelming and instead of looking cozy or trendy, can make the room look smaller. Stick with neutral colors such as taupe or light gray, or light or pastel shades of your favorite wall colors to open up the room and make it look bigger. Cool colors including shades of blue, green and purple generally make a room look larger than warm shades such as red, orange and yellow, but pale or washed-out warm shades can do the trick as well. Match the wall color to your floor or carpet color to blend the edges of the room together and visually enlarge the space.
Trim may include floor moldings, crown molding, and door and window trim. Choosing the right trim color makes a big difference when trying to make your room look bigger. A cool white, one with blue undertones instead of yellow, is a classic choice that sets off your wall color and makes the space look roomier, but painting the trim the same or a slightly lighter tint of the wall color really makes the wall boundaries disappear and the room appear larger.
Consider the ceiling in your living room as another wall, and choosing a color for it is equally important. A dark ceiling can make the room feel like it's caving in on you and your guests, so keep it light and bright. White, off-white, a pale gray or other neutral, or a lighter shade of wall colors keeps the eye moving up and makes ceilings feel taller and the room more open.
If you can't afford to paint the entire room, or if you don't want to give up entirely on your favorite bright or dark wall color, consider painting only an accent wall or two in your living room. Choose a focal point for the room and paint that wall your favorite color, while using a lighter shade for the rest of the room. Choose colors in the same color family but different shades, since a monochromatic color scheme still keeps the room feeling more open and airy than contrasting colors. If your small living room also is square, paint two opposite walls in your favorite darker shade to add depth.