Are you ready to embrace the dark side? Discover why rich, saturated colours might just become your new favourite design element.
When you think of dark colour schemes, do they bring to mind gloomy haunted houses or that Gothic phase at school? Despite the assumptions, rooms decorated in dark colours are all the rage, and the appeal is anything but depressing. When done the right way, a dark colour palette has the power to transform a space and fill it with energy, drama, romance, elegance, glamour and even cosiness. Sound good? Let’s dive into the dark.
Use energising dark colour schemes
To banish the thought that dark and gloomy go hand in hand, it’s time to rethink the meaning of dark colour schemes. Perhaps a better way to frame it is the use of rich colours that serve to create different moods in the home, and this goes far beyond black and grey. For example, jewel-inspired tones like deep garnet, sapphire and emerald can enliven a room in a range of ways, whether you want to feel cocooned in sophistication, relaxation or rejuvenation.
The key is to use two or three dark colours together, in order to play them off one another to create depth and interest. For example, if you already have dark wooden floorboards and architectural details, you’ll achieve a relaxing yet invigorating atmosphere with a rich green for the walls, like Heathland, or an earthy tone such as Brick Red. To keep the overall effect from being too dark, bold accents do the trick. Think bright splashes of pink or blue for textiles, artwork or furniture. Best of all, dark walls are great for making your favourite colours pop.
Create balance and contrast
A dark colour palette could entirely consist of neutrals, like charcoal greys, intense browns and the deepest of shades, like Galactic Sky. Whether you choose these, or rich colours, balance and contrast are what you’re looking for, in order to create a harmonious design. Lighter neutrals are perfect for this, along with different textures and surfaces to bring depth to your space.
For example, let’s say you choose a deep blue for all four walls in your living room, such as Sapphire Springs 1. Break it up with lighter shades like Pale Slate or Muted Stone for the ceiling, trims or architectural accents, along with a similar tone for furnishings. Introduce a sumptuous, complementary colour, like orange, for rugs or cushions. Metallics look fantastic with rich colours and also contribute to a brightening effect, so opt for bold statement pieces to balance out your overall look.
Where to use a dark colour palette in your home
There are no rules stating you can’t use a dark colour palette in every area of your home, so go for it if you want to! It’s entirely possible to turn a bland living room into an atmospheric haven and a boring kitchen into a luxurious gathering place with a few coats of dark paint. However, if you’re looking for somewhere to start, certain rooms really do reap the rewards of dark colour schemes.
Your bedroom is possibly the only room where natural light can be a distraction. Plus, chances are you’d like it to be cosy, glamorous, luxurious, serene or romantic, all of which are feelings evoked by dark bedroom colours. Wrap your bed in feminine elegance with Viridian Tide on the walls and accessorise with dark bedding and textiles. To contrast or break up the colour, team with dark mid-tones such as Aged Bronze.
If it’s your dining room that’s screaming out for a change, enliven it, and your dinner parties, with atmospheric rich colours. Create drama with a deep red, purple or blue feature wall and maintain balance with neutral furniture. If you love antiques or eclectic tables and chairs, a dominant, dark colour on the walls helps to tie everything together for a cohesive look.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just white that makes small rooms appear larger. A dark colour palette can do wonders for small rooms, like home offices, media rooms and bathrooms. Rather than reflect more light, dark colours absorb it. This means the lines and edges of the walls blur slightly, which can give the illusion of more space. A great tip is to paint a dark wall colour up to the bottom of the cornice and paint everything above in white or a light neutral, to make the room seem taller.
While whites, pale blues, greys and beige are popular for bathrooms, dark colours ooze luxury and sophistication. A second or downstairs bathroom is also the perfect spot to try out a dark colour palette and see whether or not you’re ready to convert to the other side. It’s easy to incorporate what you’ve already got, such as combining white tiles on the bottom of a wall with a deep shade of paint above.
If you’re tempted by the dark side but still a little reluctant to dive in, soothe those last remaining nerves with the Dulux Visualizer App. Download it for free and, with a few taps, you’ll see exactly what your favourite dark colour schemes can do towards transforming your home. Go on, we dare you.