When Is It Right To Use Dark Colors In Home Decor?

Creating bright and airy spaces is the maxim of many an interior designer. Sure, making the most of the space available in your home with natural light reflected by resplendent walls and surfaces makes a great deal of sense. However, it is not the only way to go. And by concentrating on the brighter end of the color spectrum you could be missing out on a great deal.

Extend the palette of tones used in your home’s décor by occasionally choosing a darker hue. Think about utilising the richer tones of plum reds or deep blues as design choices. Used sparingly and with some creative touches, grays, browns and blacks make for exciting and refreshing interior colors. Think about the context within which you want to use them and show your dark side.

Mixing Black And White.

One of the classic ways of using the darkest tone – black – in your home is to set it against brilliant white. If you are new to darker colors within a home setting, this may be the way to go for you. White walls set against a dark central feature like a wood stove or a fire place always look great, but think about extending the idea. Use a zebra print rug, or black and white cushions on your sofa to complete the look. And if black is a little too much for your taste, consider matching a pure white with a deep chocolate brown wall for a similarly stunning effect.


Conventional wisdom states that ceilings ought to be as bright as possible. However, if your room has a high ceiling with large windows, providing plenty of light, then there is no reason not to paint it in a richer and darker tone. To get a sophisticated look, use a complimentary lighter tone for your walls. For instance a pastel mauve on your walls works well with a deep berry purple on the ceiling. If you choose a dark ceiling don’t be tempted to add a dark colored carpet as this can often be too much.

Masculine Rooms.

If you are decorating an area that you want to create a masculine look for, then darker colors can come into their own. A bedroom with a deep blue carpet and matching painted walls can have a striking impact if you contrast it with a couple of other design features, like striking light fittings. A contemporary bathroom can be given a masculine air with some slate colored floor tiles and granite splash backs. If your bathroom is large then don’t overdo the dark look and leave at least one wall with a lighter color to create some contrast.

Dark Furniture.

If your room is already decorated with a plain color palette you ought to consider creating a diverse scheme by selecting furniture that offers some variation. Dark furniture pieces, set in a neutral background, look great. High gloss cabinets or dining chairs can look particularly effective if used sparingly in these sorts of settings.

Practical Flooring.

Flooring is one of the best places to use tones that are darker in shade. Dark wood laminates are ideal for laying in a hall way or a reception room and they are utterly practical, too, since they hide any marks made on them. Because they are so forgiving, they are particularly useful in family homes with young children. And since laminates are not uniform in color, due to the grain of the wood, the look is not too monolithic. Tiles that have a similar finish are available, so if you go for dark ceramic flooring it is advisable to use ones that have a ‘streamed’ look.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.

Published by in How To, Tips, and Advice, on November 9th, 2012


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