Thoughts On Using Dark Paint Colors In Your Home

 I’ve been loving dark paint colors lately - especially navy, deep teal and green, and dark charcoal. This modern meets traditional reading nook is a perfect example of how beautiful dark teal wall paint can be!

I’ve been loving dark paint colors lately - especially navy, deep teal and green, and dark charcoal. This modern meets traditional reading nook is a perfect example of how beautiful dark teal wall paint can be!

via Emily Henderson

I’m a self-proclaimed white and light gray paint lover (I did paint every wall in our house in Benjamin Moore Winter White after all!), but lately I’ve been intrigued by darker shades like navy, dark charcoal, and deep green. It’s probably partly due to the arrival of cooler weather -it’s certainly making me want to make homes feel cozier and those dark hues can play a role in doing just that - but I think I’m also just becoming more adventurous when it comes to color. I thought it might be fun to take a peek at some rooms that are painted in these darker tones and share some thoughts about going this route in your home. I also want to talk through some common questions and concerns folks have about using them.

via Domino (Design: Studio McGee)

First of all, here are some of my general thoughts about dark wall colors:

One thing I love about this look is that it adds a certain richness and depth that white paint just can’t offer. Though it certainly depends on the overall style of the room, I think generally it adds a bit of a dramatic flair that feels tailored and refined, don’t you think?

Also, once you’ve decided to go dark with your walls, the next decision you’ll need to make is what direction you want to go with your furniture and decor. Do you want a high contrast look with pieces that pop against those dark walls? Or perhaps you want to go more subtle with pieces that blend? You can do both, of course, but if you’re used to decorating against white walls, you’ll need to adjust your normal way of approaching it! Think about the mood you want to create and select furniture and decor that’s going to complement that.

Dark-Green-Walls-Modern-Eclectic-Living-Room.jpeg

via Apartment Therapy

So naturally, one of the next questions folks ask is…

Can I use a dark paint color in a small space?

Yes! Absolutely. While the default is to use lighter colors like white, light gray, and beige to make a room feel bigger, a dark color can actually have a similar effect, but in different ways. Light colors reflect light, which is how they make a room feel bigger, but dark colors recede, which makes a wall feel farther away from you visually, allowing the room to feel larger. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s true!

Also, lighting makes a big difference in a small space - having large windows to let in natural light and/or a variety of good light sources will balance out the dark walls to enlarge the space. That being said, if you have a dark cave of a room, a dark paint color will make it feel smaller, so just keep that in mind.

Dark-Walls-Library-Sitting-Room-Open-Shelving.jpg

via Chris Loves Julia

Scared to commit? You can ease into it by trying one of these ideas:

  • Use the dark color on an accent wall (a single wall in the room) while keeping the other walls light. The nursery below is a great example of that.

  • If you have wainscoting, tongue-and-groove paneling, or another type of trim on the lower parts of your walls, you can paint the upper part navy, dark green, or whatever color you choose. It will keep the dark paint color from feeling too heavy. Take a look at the dining room below to see what that could look like.

  • Try this look in a small space like a powder room or a lesser used room like an office or guest bedroom. This way, you’re not marrying yourself to it in your most-used spaces.

via Sophie Burke Design

Does dark automatically equal mean it’ll feel “moody?”

I don’t think it has to - it’s really all about what you choose to go with it. The walls are the backdrop, but the mood of the room has more to do with your decorating style than anything else. Check out the eclectic coastal style living room with a black shiplap wall to see what I mean. I do agree that dark paint tends to add drama, but that doesn’t have to equal moody. Does that makes sense? It’s a fine distinction, but an important one!

black-shiplap-coastal-living-room-villa-and-villa.jpg
Boho-Reading-Corner-Dark-Green-Walls.png

via Design*Sponge

One last tip I have for you is to think about the trim color next to dark paint. White trim is great, but sometimes it’s actually better to paint the trim the same color as the walls when you go dark - this makes a wall feel taller by removing the high contrast “bookends” at the top and bottom!

So, are you on board with the dark wall idea? What room in your home would be a good spot for something like navy, charcoal, or dark green paint? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

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