Interior Design

Dark Paint Dark Walls Should I go for it?

Dark Paint Dark Walls Should I go for it?

My home has been many colours over the years. We’ve been light and minimal (hated that and blame the husband). We’ve also been Laura Ashley circa 1990’s (better but still not me). And dark but colourful, thinks reds, greens and navys. But that’s the great thing about decorating our homes. It’s an extension of our personalities. And whilst some aspects of our personalities remain constant others ebb and flow. And one of those that changes is our taste in clothing, colours and decor. For me the question of dark paint dark walls should I go for it? Came as a direct, I think, revolt against our light and minimal phase. It felt sterile, I never felt quite at home. And so this post is all about yes, you should go for it. And the reasons why painting a room dark works.


Dark paint dark walls should i do it

the home of @littleedwardian via instagram


But before we go into why it works, let’s take a look at how the ‘Dark Side’ of interiors came to be. You see interior fashion is a fickle thing. It’s the type of friend who moves on to bigger and better things and somehow manages to forget about you along the way. With each season comes a new fashion. All of a sudden we’re supposed to just throw away yesterdays flamingos and embrace today’s peacock! There is always a new look to follow. But over the last few years people are starting to shun the old ways.  They’re beginning to embrace their own style (you only have to look on Instagram or Pinterest to see this). A movement to stamp a bit of personality on our own four walls.  We’re transforming houses into real homes rather than the carbon copies the retail interior giants would impose on us. This backlash against conformity is seeing a rise in the use of dark paint. And with it the retailers are now following us.


Dark paint dark walls should i do it

the home of @relovedmcr via instagram


And contrary to many who think we’re all returning to our teenage Goth selves (well maybe a little). We are creating homes that feel right for us. If you open the doors of my own wardrobe you will find that the majority of my clothes are black. If you’re the same then painting with dark colours might just be for you. This discovery made me realise that my home just didn’t reflect who I am. No wonder I could never truly relax in my off white bedroom (see how I use dark paint in my bedroom). It just had to go!


Should I paint my walls dark

my bedroom complete with gold fireplace


Moving over to the dark side of interiors is such an enlightening experience too. But what are the benefits of dark interiors? Well for one, rather than rooms feeling smaller they appear larger especially if it’s a small room to begin with. The fact is that dark colours recede (look as though they are further away) therefore opening up a space. By using dark paint colours in small rooms they become more spacious before your  very eyes! Dark paint colours literally have a ‘Tardis’ effect.


Dark paint dark walls should i do it

the home of @mad_about_the_house via instagram


Your room won’t necessarily  feel darker as many people would think either especially if the room has little natural light.  A dark room with little light isn’t going to get brighter just by painting it white. White paint needs light to bounce it around, that’s what makes it feel lighter. In the absence of light it will feel cold and grey. And whilst we’re on it, dark paint on walls rather than being depressing actually feels calming and relaxing. You feel snuggled, somehow cocooned and safe. Everything will look more interesting, art work and other objects now seem to pop. And just like black high street clothing looks more expensive than other colours. Dark painted walls elevates everything around them. There is something truly ethereal too about the way the light changes throughout the day in a dark painted room. The shadows cast are magical.


Dark paint dark walls should i do itDark paint dark walls should i do it

the home of @the_idle_hands via instagram


A dark home somehow feel grander in nature too, more sophisticated. And if like me you’re on a budget, it makes everything around it look not only more interesting but more expensive too. Take the dark paint in my kitchen for instance. I used dark paint for not only my kitchen cabinets but my walls as well. Moving to the dark side of interiors literally transformed it! I now love to sit and relax in it where before I would always feel the need to be ‘doing’ and not really knowing why. It now feels warm and cosy, yet at the same time elegant. And where as it once felt cramped (it is tiny after all) painting it dark has magically made it feel much bigger. It now feels much more spacious.


Should I paint my walls dark

my kitchen painted dark


One of the best things about this movement for me though is that although we ‘dark side’ lovers have the deeper hues in common we all have completely different interior design tastes. Whilst each home has dark walls, the owners they belong to put their own personal style stamp on each interior.  There’s a plethora of dark homes out there, and no two are the same. They are as unique as there owners. For me I tend to use tonal colours, dark colours on dark colours. But I also do Monochrome too, in fact I love the contrast of black and white so much so that I wrote a post about how to do Monochrome.


Should I paint my walls dark

my monochrome with a pop of gold in my own hallway


So what other styles work well with dark homes? Well dark colours work fabulously well with jewel colours. Think Ruby Reds, Emerald Greens, Mustard Yellows and Sapphire Blues. The dark background allows these colours to shine. They literally leap out at you adding another layer of sophistication to any setting.


Dark paint dark walls should i do it

the home of @artynads via Instagram

Dark walls also work well with bold, bright colours or neons too. Bright yellows, hot pinks, vivid greens, the choices are endless. Pops of bright colours create a happy, that doesn’t tip over into feeling manic.


Dark paint dark walls should i do it

the home of  @patirobins via Instagram


Dark colours also works well with softer hues and pastel colours. Baby pinks, pale olive greens, pale powdery mustard yellows. They have the ability to pare back a dark scheme. They’re a perfect combination where you would like a softer, more gentle vibe.


Dark paint dark walls should i do it

the home of @house_of_chester via instagram


You can also go minimal, pared back. Allow the colour on the walls to speak for itself. Use bold, over sized or one off pieces and let them just be. Allow them to shine, standing prominently against the dark room, allowing them to show off with a ‘look at me’ attitude.


Dark paint dark walls should i do it

the home of @thehousethatblackbuilt via instagram


By contrast you can also go maximalist. Have all the things in all the places. It’s not a style for everyone but when curated carefully a maximalist interior just flows. Carrying a person from room to room in a natural and progressive way. An underlying colour them helps here as does the dark backdrop that acts as a glue to hold the design together.


Dark paint dark walls should i do it

the home of @jazziere via instagram


A dark interior can be formal, relaxed, glam, boho, eclectic,  you name it. But there are a couple of handy rules that apply to any dark setting. If you’re thinking of dipping your toes into the murky depths so to speak there are a few things to consider before starting. First up is choosing your colour. Now with dark colours in particular, it is really important to buy a tester pot and paint a huge sheet of paper with it. Then blue tack it to a wall. Leave it there for 24 hours making sure to keep checking in on it throughout the day. The reason? Dark colours change drastically throughout the day depending on their base pigment. So for instance you may feel you’ve found that perfect shade of dark grey paint only to find that by 2pm  that it actually looks blue. Or perhaps you’ve opted for a dark green paint that by 11am looks grey.


Dark paint dark walls should i do it

the home of @ingewatrobski via instagram


Keep going though until you find that perfect shade, the one that works at all times of the day in your particular room. Once you find that shade repeat the 24 hour process on every wall. And once it receives four big fat yes’s (just like Britain’s Got Talent) then that’s the colour for you. Try though when using it in your room to paint the woodwork and doors in the same colour too. Contrasting the woodwork in white somehow breaks up the space making it feel disjointed. Remember also to layer up your lighting. Overhead, floor lamps and table lamps. The more the merrier in fact. you’ll be amazed just how many combinations you can use come evening to change the atmosphere of the room at a flick of a switch.


Dark paint dark walls should i do it

the home of @alexcrabtreepr via instagram


My final three tips are my secret weapon. Add in metallics. For me it’s gold and brass but for you it may be chrome, copper or bronze. Less is more though, don’t overdo it and risk stepping over into the realms of tacky. Finding just the right balance will magically bring a room to life. Next add in some greenery. A house always feels more like home with house plants. Not only do they look good against the dark back drop but the also tend to cheer you up too. If like me though you’re are a serial plant killer do what I do and fake it with faux! My final trick is to create focal points. One for every wall in the room. So wherever you eyes land they see a beautiful display, feature or artwork that leaps off the dark backdrop and draws you in.


Dark paint dark walls should i do it

the home of @layered.home via instagram


Moving over to the dark side of interiors may not be to everyone’s taste. And I certainly would never presume to say  it’s better than the light side. It’s just right for me and may be for you too. So whether you’re a Luke Skywalker or a Darth Vader it really doesn’t matter. Be it light walls or dark walls lets all make the homes we live in our own. Lets ditch the throw away culture of the ever fickle world of following the latest fashion. Sometimes I wonder just how many flamingos are now in landfill??? And, if we all said enough already! Would the retailers start listening and get a little braver with their choices?


Raspberry Flavoured Windows - The Shop

dark paint dark walls should i got for it? bollocks to it, give it a try!


The point is that our lives are so busy and full on that if our homes don’t truly reflect who we are then how can we completely relax? And switch off? Whether dark interiors are your thing or not I urge you to transcend fashions just like this wonderful bunch of Instagram interior lovers.  Find a look that is perfectly you. Not only will it save your purse strings from snapping under the weight of ever changing fashion. But your home will slowly blossom and evolve to become an extension of yourself. And in doing so you will feel the weight of the world lift from your shoulders every time you walk through your front door. Having said that if you are saying ‘Dark Paint Dark Walls Should I go for it?’ well you’re halfway there already and I for one say, ‘Hell Yes’!


And if your particular colour go to is grey like me then choosing the right shade of paint is crucial. Depending on the aspect of the room, North, South, East or West the colour will change. So do click the link above and check out this post too. It will prove invaluable.


Rachel's Signature

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  • Reply Christine Thomas May 6, 2020 at 7:27 am

    Excellent advice and well presented ! Thank you

    • Reply Rachel Edmonds May 6, 2020 at 7:39 am

      Aw thank you, and thank you also for taking the time to leave a comment. I treasure each and every one of them.

  • Reply Shari May 6, 2020 at 9:44 am

    I have always been drawn to dark Interiors, felt they were beautiful and elegant, and since our house fire, have taken the leap to the dark side with painting my interior. Getting a lot of flack from family, my son even told me I’m creating a haunted house. I don’t feel that, for the first time I’m falling in love with my spaces as my vision comes to life. Totally love your IG

    • Reply Rachel Edmonds May 6, 2020 at 10:52 am

      I’m so happy to hear that your falling in love with your home and seeing your vision coming to life. On the whole I get lovely comment from people coming to my house though I do get a raised eyebrow every once in a while from a delivery driver. You keep at it, what matters is that you love it, and that’s all that counts x

  • Reply Inge May 6, 2020 at 10:08 am

    Thanks for the tag Rach. I loved the post and you used a great selection of examples that showed not all dark painted interiors are the same. I love my dark walls and whilst the top layers of cushions, pictures, greenery change, the walls have stayed the same x

    • Reply Rachel Edmonds May 6, 2020 at 10:55 am

      You’re very welcome Inge, I absolutely love your home. I’m glad you like the interiors I selected too, I felt it important to show that dark walls can be used as back drop to so many styles. I absolutely love your toile de jouy curtains, they’re stunning x

  • Reply Lorraine Jackson May 6, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    Loved this article/blog. I’ve always loved and used dark colours, you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned yesterday’s flamingo to today’s peocock. You have to really feel comfortable and confident in your own taste or otherwise you would be redecorating and buying stuff every month. I do wobble though sometimes when I see the next big thing on instagram or Pinterest but I have to remember it’s okay to love and look at other interiors but I have to live with it if I go to the scandi side or something else which is the next big thing, I have always regretted it. I just have remember to just do me.

  • Reply Gude at Watermark Homes June 26, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    I adore this look, especially in homes with tall ceilings. It manages to look chic, luxe and cosy all at the same time. Thanks for sharing – some great inspiration here!

  • Reply Maggie June 1, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    I love this article. I painted my kitchen and bedroom black 8 years ago and then rented that house out and moved into a stark white home in Germany. We all LOVED our cozy dark spaces and I’ll be plagued for years by nightmares where I’m wandering aimlessly through a huge house of white. Now that I’m finally back in America, I’m ready to rejoin the ranks of home personality. I must have rubbed off on my 12 year old son because he has already requested to have his new room painted black! That is easy, but our new home in Anchorage has two story walls in the common areas. Do you have any advice for me to figure out how to make it flow in my home with massive walls? Or any sources? It’s really intimidating! I love your blog, can’t wait to read more.

    • Reply Rachel Edmonds June 3, 2021 at 1:19 pm

      Hi Maggie, I’m so happy to hear you loved this post. You sound so like me. Nothing makes me feel more uncomfortable than an all white room! If you’d like to send me over a couple of photos of the rooms you’re struggling with I’m happy to take a look and give you some ideas. It’s hard to give an answer without seeing the problems you are facing. I have to say, two story walls sound amazing, it must be a stunning space.

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