By: Jeremiah Brent
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not afraid to take a chance on a dark color palette. There’s just something so bold, so striking, so moody, and so effortlessly sophisticated about upping the ante with deep, rich paints and accent colors. I’ve been known to talk clients into painting individual rooms dark navy, and even black — and in the end, it’s always a hit.
There’s just something about taking that risk and getting out of your comfort zone that results in a space that’s not only striking, but also evocative in an emotional and mental way. I find that deep, dark rooms evoke a moodiness that’s not necessarily sad or dreary or creepy — rather, they instill a sort of calm, comfortable pensiveness.
With Halloween on the horizon, there is a general air of ghosts, goblins, spooks and the spirit world. So what better way to embrace the “spirit” of the season than to take a chance on a dark, moody color palette?
Here are my tips to test the dark waters without going totally overboard:
Less is More: Start small. First, pick a space or a room — perhaps your entry or media room, or even a main wall in your living room or dining room that you’ve been struggling with for inspiration. Paint is obviously the easiest (and least permanent) way to embark on your dark journey, but I also encourage using wallpaper. There are so many amazing options out there; wallpaper is really having a renaissance!
Second, choose your color palette. Here, the world is your oyster — maybe you play it safer with a darker grey or navy; or maybe you go bold and choose a rich jewel-toned purple or crisp, solid black. Whatever color you select, and whether you choose to paint or wallpaper the whole space or just a single wall, you’ll find that the new addition creates instant impact without being overwhelming.
Light Plays: Remember that if you’re going to use a dark color on your walls, you will have to adjust the lighting in your space. Dark colors absorb light, and you might find that you need a few extra table lamps at the end. However, this is one of the beauties of a dark room — the shadow and light play from accent lighting creates an atmosphere that is instantly moody and just the right amount of spooky (without being scary). You’ll probably find that this dark room is your new favorite place to curl up and watch a movie.
Touchable Textures: I’m a huge proponent of focusing more on textural elements in a space (rather than a million different accent colors) to create visual interest. The same stands in a dark space — perhaps even more so. Darker paints and colors have more of a tendency to appear flat in low and mid light, so add in some great accent pieces that have texture. Maybe it’s a charcoal shagreen side table, a dark shearling throw pillow, or a black Moroccan wedding blanket. These pieces will give the whole space extra dimension, and they will enrich your new deep color palette.
A dark room works in all seasons too — don’t be worried that you’ll be sick of it once the Halloween season passes (and if you are, paint is an easy fix). Summer sunlight will play expertly off deeply colored walls, and you can’t even imagine how cozy a dark room is in the dead of winter. Take a chance, and take it from me: Your newly revived space may just become your favorite room in your home… in any mood.