When Samuel Masters moved into his Nolita apartment, the first thing he did was paint the walls a moody midnight blue. The space is quite small, but it was transformative. “There are so many corners in these old apartments and the color gives the place a sculptural look,” Samuel explains.

Not only did it add interest to the architecture, it also made the tiny New York space seem larger. Think of it as an optical illusion: the dark color adds an infinite feel, and the space seemingly doubled in size. The bookshelf and other accent tables are the same hue (adding to that never-ending feeling) while bright artwork from Sam’s growing collection is scattered throughout.

It’s easy to come face to face with a small space and think that brighter is better. We tend to play it safe with white paints, neutral furniture, and mirror tricks so as not to push the boundaries of the limiting floor plans. However, we love that Sam thought out of the box and reached for something darker. It’s a proven trick that adds size AND style.

Image originally appeared as part of our September 2013 issue here.