Unless you’re a vampire, most people prefer bright open spaces. Natural light is actually proven to help us feel happier - it’s science.
That said plenty of homes will have a dark space, whether it’s a north-facing box room with a small window or a hallway without much natural light. So how do you decorate it? Let’s keep it simple and look at two good choices you’ve got. Spoiler alert - don’t go with white:
Embrace the Dark
Lots of people try to magically brighten up dark spaces by painting them bright white or pale pastel colours. If the room’s naturally dark then using pale colours is just going to make that more obvious, and it’ll end up looking dingy. Despite some paints claiming ‘light reflecting technology’ and other such guff, there’s no magic wand on this one. Soz.
So on that basis, we’re big fans of embracing the darkness! Use it as an opportunity to choose a really cool dark colour like a Teal or Navy, or a Charcoal grey if you’re feeling it. Dark rooms can feel dramatic, warm and welcoming - promise. Throw in some filament bulbs for a nice soft glow, maybe a few teak or shiny-gold picture frames and voila! Thank us later.
Creds: The Spruce
Creds: Dekko Bird
Creds: Habitat by Resene
Bright colours can work well too. In darker spaces they can look a little more classy than in a sun-filled room. Less of a play school vibe, and more members club. Purple can look pretty fancy, especially with some large monochrome prints thrown in. Orange too, will take on a pretty grown-up tone in darker spaces. It’ll look impactful without being shouty. And always always, warm light bulbs.
Creds: Farrow & Ball
Creds: House and Garden
Creds: Design Evolving
Whether you go Dark or Bright, you could also paint skirting and trim in the same colour. Why not go the whole hog and do the ceiling too? It can look epic. Most people lean towards white skirting and ceilings though, which can break up the colour a bit and lift the ceiling height. We’re probably leaning towards that too, for most rooms.
Essentially we’re saying avoid white and neutral colours in dark spaces, despite that being the most obvious thing to do. At best they'll just look a bit ‘meh’, and at worst a bit dingy. If you like, think about painting 1-2 walls in your dark or bright shade with the rest in a neutral. Think warm off-whites like ivory or bone shades. Magnolia has got no business here.
Some Non Paint Tips
Now we’ve briefed you on everything paint, here are a few non paint tips for your dark room. Firstly, art. If you have taken our advice and gone dark paintwise, bright art is your friend. This will give your room a pop of colour, while keeping the rooms authentic feel. Another thing that needs to be considered is lighting. Go for hanging lights, rather than those based on the floor- you don’t want to make the space dingier than it needs to be. And if you're feeling extra bold, vary the pendant lengths. Guaranteed to add a spark of personality.
So go forth and embrace the dark. You won’t regret it.