Using horizontal stripes on walls can not only add visual interest to a room, but create optical illusions that can alter the perception of its dimensions, making it appear larger, or smaller. Here are a few ways to do that.

Using One Stripe

A single horizontal stripe running from side to side on a wall can trick the eye into looking beyond the stripe and enhance the perceived width of the wall. On the other hand, a single horizontal stripe painted on all four walls can cause the eye to remain within the limits of the stripe, making the room feel constricted. Also, if a stripe is in high contrast to the color on a wall, and is above the middle of the wall, it can make the wall look shorter and the room smaller. If you want to increase the appearance of the size of the entire room, place a stripe—that’s the same color of the ceiling—high on the wall. This can make the ceiling surface appear larger and farther away.

Using More Than One Stripe

You can make a room appear larger using a series of horizontal stripes of the same width and tone, with two finishes like matte and shiny, running around the room’s perimeter from floor to ceiling. The same effect can be achieved using stripes of high-contrast colors that are the same width and travel the perimeter of the room, from floor to ceiling. However, using stripes of different widths and colors—that run the room’s perimeter from floor to ceiling—cause the eye to stop and start, making the room appear smaller.

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