Monday, July 8, 2013

5 Reasons Why Dark Walls Work

Do you secretly admire dark walls you see in photos, but chicken out when it comes to your own walls? I think most of us subconsciously believe that rooms should be bright and airy. And we've all heard the myth that dark colors make a room look smaller, so most people avoid dark colors for that reason alone!

In my last post, I revealed the makeover of my powder room with its new almost-black walls. After reading some reader comments and also a blog post from Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chic about whether to go dark or light in her bedroom, I thought I'd share with you five reasons to give dark walls a try.

via Design Sponge

1. Dark walls mask the size of small rooms

Ignore the myth that dark colors make walls feel like they're closing in on you. Rather, they help boundaries recede. When the walls are light, you can see all the angles and just where each corner ends in a room. You get a true sense of how big (or small) the room is. When the walls are dark, it's harder to see those lines. Instead, the boundaries are blurred and therefore a room's size isn't the focus. To take it even further, paint the trimwork and maybe even the ceiling the same color as the walls. Talk about blurring the lines!

Lewis Interiors

2. Dark walls complement rooms with little natural light

Rooms bathed in light look great with light colored walls. The sunshine bounces around and the whole space feels shiny and happy. On the flip side, rooms with little to no natural sun can make light-colored walls look dreary. It's true! Even the whitest of walls in a shaded room can look dull. If you can't beat it, join the dark side! This is something I finally learned in the past year fighting with the lack of natural light in my living room. It's not the medium-toned paint and the wood floors and the black sofa making the room dark ... it's the lack of sunlight. Instead of unsuccessfully trying to overcompensate, we should embrace the inherent moodiness of dark spaces. (That's why I'm trying to convince Jason to let me paint it navy!)

Basements are another great example. Unless you have a walkout that gets tons of sun, you may as well stop trying to make that light beige work. It's never going to feel right. How about a brown grasscloth instead?

Richard Ostell

3. Dark walls help a room feel cozy

I love the chocolate brown walls in my master bedroom. They help the space feel enveloping and soothing. Dens and home libraries are a great place to go dark, too. You're supposed to feel relaxed and cocoon-like in those rooms.

You can also bring a room down to scale. Large living rooms can sometimes feel cavernous, but a dark wall color can bring in a more intimate feeling, helping people feel comfortable.

Jackie Astier

4. Dark walls can create drama, sophistication and elegance

If you like drama but don't have a big budget, dark walls can instantly turn things up a few notches. It's like a little black dress. Even the most plain of rooms is taken upscale with dark walls. Dark colors are inherently more sophisticated, and are often used in high-end decorating.

Sometimes trimwork is left white to contrast against the dark walls, or sometimes the trimwork is painted out to match the walls. I love both looks, and they each have their uses.

47 Park Avenue blog

5. Dark walls make colors pop

White walls are most commonly found in art galleries, because they create a plain, background so the artwork can stand out. Dark walls can do the same thing for brightly colored art, accessories, and furniture. Grays, blacks, browns, and navys read as neutral when used on the wall, and look great paired with whites, yellows, reds, bright blues, corals, and the list goes on and on. Dark walls give bright colors an extra oomph., but they add an extra oomph.


What do you think? Do you have any rooms that need a dose of darkness? Or have you already taken the plunge?



  1. Already taken the plunge baby for all the fantastic reasons you've given ;) I love my black bedroom and my dark grey dining room (which incidently, I've been itching to paint deep blue). It's nice and cozy on the dark side and I love the contrast it provides to the items in the room! And instead of convincing Jason, I reckon you should just do it when he's not in and surprise him with how fab it looks when he gets back ;) lol xxx

  2. Oh wow! I am loving these dark walls - especially that dining room! These are great tips and points! Pinning! Would love it if you would link this up to Give Me The Goods Monday: 1 Party, 4 Blogs!


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