Make a small space look visually larger but still cosy by using a light rather than a bright or dark colour scheme. Lene Liew, marketing manager of Nippon Paint, suggests pastel as well as neutral hues such as pink, beige, or pale blues. "A lighter shade of blue has low reflective properties, which diffuses and softens light, making the room feel cool and comfortable." The bedroom (pictured), designed by Space Matters, uses a soothing soft blue with wood tones to lend a restful yet trendy look to the space.

Here's another way to make subdued hues interesting. "Use a monochromatic colour scheme on the furniture, rugs and walls, but choose different shades and textures of a single colour," says Joey Khu of his eponymous practice. "The visual balance of a room is also important. A large brightly coloured element can overwhelm a room and reduce the appearance of space."