Using a few cans of paint is definitely the quickest, least expensive way to transform a room. If you buy neutral furniture (tan, black, white, or gray), you can easily change your wall color for an entirely new feel without having to go out and purchase new furniture. Colored furniture, such as a red, blue, or green sofa, limits the changes you can make; they may be subtler and less gratifying than freshly painted walls. I'm always fascinated by how many people will buy a green sofa but are petrified to use green paint on their walls. They put all the pressure on their furniture to inject color into their space and make it feel inviting, but by leaving their walls white it's really an uphill battle. The bottom line is that there's more impact and less commitment or financial investment in applying color to your walls.
Just Say No to White Walls! -- People overwhelmingly also believe that leaving their walls white makes their space look larger -- it doesn't, it makes it boring! Darker colors not only add life to a room, but used carefully they can make the walls of a small room recede. So once I have laid out a room, I help my clients to feel comfortable experimenting with colors, often very bold ones, effectively.
Paint changes the feeling of a space through its richness and its hues. Because these qualities shift with available light and the shadows it creates, working with paint takes time and the willingness to take some chances. I wouldn't suggest that someone paint four walls in dark eggplant, but I do encourage people to think outside of the box, shed their fears, and have a little fun. Clearly color appearances change from day to night, so be sure to look at how the color you're thinking of using looks at different times of the day. It's also helpful to think about when you're actually in your space the most: If you're away in an office all day, you'll want to consider how the paint looks primarily at night; if you actually work from home in your small space, think about how the color appears during the day.
If you're not sure where to begin with color, try Libby's Foolproof Paint Picks. I've provided some of my favorite colors that I've used over and over again with great success! Another wonderful characteristic about paint is that it makes items you already have look completely different. Paint brings out the detail in your woodwork, artwork, and all of your furnishings. It helps you rethink what you already have and that's a great place to begin when you're watching what you spend.