Dark Paint Sees the Light

Move over, off-white: These 6 tips help dark colors give interior walls a lush, modern feel.

Dark interiors inject a bold confidence in any space. A foyer with a dark wall color adds a unique, almost mysterious ambiance. It’s eye-catching in ways that a neutral color like white or cream could never be. Here are a few tips when going over to the dark side.

1. How to choose the room.

It would probably be too much of a good thing to paint every room a dark shade, so choose wisely. “Consider a room’s natural lighting and ceiling height,” says Nicole S. O’Dwyer, who owns NS Designs, an interior design firm in northeastern Pennsylvania. “If the foyer or kitchen has a high ceiling and large windows, for example, a darker wall or kitchen cabinet color will create a focal point in a space that is already light and bright.”

2. Think beyond the walls.

“If you love a dark color but don’t want to make the commitment of painting an entire house or exterior, try using it as an accent,” O’Dwyer says. Staining wood trim a dark finish is a sophisticated way to enhance any space, and a dark entry door creates character. Want to tune up your paining skills? Be sure you have the right tools for the job — let HomeOnTrack pros help you with these painting tips and best practices.

Benjamin Moore’s 2017 Color Of the Year, Shadow.

3. How to choose the right color.

For a dark shade to work best, don’t just pick a hue you like – think compatibility. “Interiors with dark colors are best executed when combined with a pattern,” O’Dwyer says. “For instance, if you are planning on using a dark color in a space, try pulling out the darkest shade in a mosaic backsplash tile and using it as the cabinet color, or choosing a dark hue from the window treatment fabric for the wall color.” For a balanced look, use the neutrals in the pattern as inspiration for wood flooring and carpet. Some of O’Dwyer’s favorites: Sherwin Williams’ Rockwood Dark Brown (earthy brown) and Benjamin Moore’s Galapagos Turquoise (indigo) and Wrought Iron (slate).

4. Paint it black.

Black paint can be versatile in small doses throughout a home and when mixed with other accents, O’Dwyer says. One example: “Benjamin Moore’s 2017 Color of the Year, Shadow, can be an elegant master bathroom color scheme when you combine it with brass plumbing fixtures, white tile and cream cabinetry.”

5. Don’t create a cave-like ambiance.

With the right accessories and ample lighting, you can create balance and avoid a dark interior from looking like it’s a home for bats. To balance a room painted dark, choose a white or cream trim, a mirror with a pale frame to reflect light and add contrast, and light fixtures that coordinate with the room’s finishes.

6. Avoid downsizing.

To prevent dark walls from making a room appear smaller than it is, consider an open concept space where there are plenty of windows and doors. If it’s got a high ceiling, that’s a plus.

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