Something got me in the mood to talk about decorating with dark colours. Time for me to get on my soap box but personally I think we’ve all become a little obsessed with creating bright and light living spaces and I think it’s worth considering how decorating can effect the mood of a room, not just the sense of light and space. White is associated with peace and purity but in my opinion can leave a room feeling harsh and chilly.
I love the feeling of being enveloped by a room with dramatic dark walls. My bedroom is painted rich dark, sexy ‘Pelt‘ by Farrow and Ball. I chose to go dark in the bedroom because it’s a room I use at night (obviously!) so with light supplied by wall sconces it feel luxurious and cosy. In the morning the light bursts through the south facing windows, so it feels just as great to wake up in too.
I love dark painted walls for the drama, they feel moody, sophisticated, glamorous and often a little edgy. Never has it been more hip to go dark. But I appreciated it takes a big leap of faith and a lot of coats of paint if you change your mind, so here are a few tips to getting it right…
Contrary to popular opinion, dark painted walls can make your room feel bigger as they receed away from the eye. This is especially true if you choose a cool shade so opt for deep shades of grey, blue, green or purple if you don’t want the walls coming in on you.
Suzy Hoodless kensington town house
Go for it everywhere! Oh yes, by that I mean ALL FOUR WALLS! The effect will seem timid and disjointed if only used on one wall, we’re going for maximum impact here. I like the idea of painting the skirting doors and architraves into the same wall colour as by blending in these details creates a more contemporary look. Be aware that if you are going to pick your woodwork in a lighter colour like white, they need to look pucker as they’ll really shout out in the scheme. If you’ve got rather ordinary off the shelf woodwork, blend away as you’ll only be drawing the eye to them. That goes for radiators too.
Punt sideboard by Nest.co.uk
Dark painted rooms need to be jazzed up with contrasting light. So break up they walls with a collection of framed prints, colourful paintings or mirrors. A light floor will also bounce up the light.
Darkly decorated rooms come into their own at night, so you need to really consider the lighting. Avoid blanching it out with unsubtle overhead lighting and go or lots of lamps, walls lights and back lighting in cabinets and shelving. And by lots I mean lots and lots, and always with a dimmer switch!
Abigail Aherns Bedroom
Use a bright highlight. A punch of a bright colour, be it neon pink, citrus yellow, turquoise, lime or poppy red will really perk up an otherwise sombre colour scheme. A couple of cushions, a vase, a painting or big bunch of flowers will do the job.
Abigial Aherns home by design sponge
Paint the ceiling a softer shade. A brilliant white ceiling can look too stark so consider a soft light grey or stone colour. If you’re going for all out impact then paint the ceiling dark too.
A dark painted room is a great way to then highlight and pick out lovely architectural features, like an original sash window, cornice or an ornate fireplace all painted in a crisp white so you really pick them out against the dark colour.
Living room of home of photographer Graham Aitkin-Hughes
Dark coloured walls love a bit if bling so add some metallic accessories, metal light fittings and mirrors for an air of elegance.
I got this great tip off Daniel Hopwood. If you paint your thoroughfares like hallway, corridors and landings dark, you’ll get a real heightened sense of brightness when you walk into a room decorated in light colours.
For more inspiration on creating this look, check out the blog of renowned interior designer Abigail Ahern who has this style of decorating tapped.