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The Dark Side — Why and How to Use Dark Colors in Your Interior Design

Interior design magazines are full of bright, airy homes with light and neutral palettes. Darker colors, on the other hand, are typically avoided because homeowners worry that they will be too moody. However, there are many situations in which a dark color can elevate your design aesthetic. Here are some reasons why you should consider using dark colors in your home.

Why use dark colors?

You love the gothic design

Gothic architecture aesthetic is enjoying a well-deserved renaissance. If you are lucky enough to live in a Victorian or gothic property, you will want its interior to match its iconic arches and moldings. Feature pieces such as custom CopperSmith black hoods and Victorian fireplaces can allow you to match the distinct aesthetic of a gothic home.

You want to make a statement

Even if you are not into gothic design, dark colors are a perfect way to make a statement. They can completely transform a space and add drama to a room. Dark colors can be used to create a striking contrast with lighter walls or furniture to help other design elements stand out. You can also use a dark wall as a backdrop to highlight artwork or special photographs.

You want a cozy inviting room

One good thing about dark colors is that they make a room feel smaller. This is helpful if you want to create an intimate feeling in a large room. For instance, you can use dark colors in a living room to create a more private space for conversation. You can also choose a deep brown shade on the walls of your bedroom to make the space appear more subdued and welcoming.

You want a formal setting

Dark colors create a more sophisticated and formal look than lighter colors. They bring a touch of solemnity that is particularly well suited to formal settings such as a dining room or a boardroom. They can create an elegant appearance and accentuate architectural features in a room such as arched windows or Classical pillars.

You need to separate spaces

Finally, dark colors can also be used to delineate individual spaces within a larger room while still adhering to a unified design theme. This is particularly useful in open plan layouts that may include a kitchen, dining, and living area in one big, open space. You create the illusion of separate spaces by painting the walls in different colors or switching up the flooring.

Tips for using dark colors

If you are keen to try out darker colors in your home, here are some tips on how to achieve the ideal dark design aesthetic.

Choose the right room

You can use a dark palette in any room but they generally work best in rooms that are inherently intimate such as formal dining rooms, bedrooms, and libraries. Although a dark color scheme can make a room seem smaller, it does not have to be restricted to large rooms. Dark colors can help to make a small room more dramatic and memorable. If you want to experiment first, try a dark theme in a small and infrequently used room such as the powder room.

Play with light

Lighting is an important aspect of any room, and even more so in a room with a dark color scheme. Without adequate lighting, your room may feel oppressive and depressing. Natural light works exceptionally well with dark palettes. Observe where the rays of light fall and match them with dark elements. For instance, black tile in the bathroom opposite large windows. This not only highlights your dark surfaces but also adds a sense of lightness to your room. Also, consider spotlighting key elements of your room or using dark lampshades with reflective foiled interiors to add drama.

Add a pop of color

A dark backdrop is perfect for featuring certain pieces of art or furniture. If you have feature pieces of furniture, they can fade into the environment against lighter schemes. On the other hand, they will pop against a dark background. Lush green plants can also be incorporated to add life and a flush of color to your room. Use color sparingly in a dark-themed space. Try to limit yourself to one or two rich colors to avoid the space becoming kitschy. You can also use metals such as copper or silver to add subtle color and shine to your dark room.

Strive for balance

The key to the successful use of dark materials is balance. Just like in a light room, too many dark elements can make your room monotonous. You can decide how far to turn the dial but remember that the contrast of darkness and light is what makes the aesthetic appealing. If your walls and furniture are dark, use pale carpet or flooring. Similarly, if you have dark wooden floors and black walls, use white bed linen. You can even paint your ceilings a dark color, as long as the balance is maintained.

Dark design themes are uncommon because they can be difficult to get right. But, if you are bold enough to try darker colors in your interior design, you will be rewarded with a home unlike any other on your street.

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