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Decorating With Dark Walls – How To Make It Work Brilliantly

WRITTEN by CHRISSY, LAST UPDATED ON May 9, 2023

& FILED IN Home Decor & DIY, Around The House 

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Learn the secrets and tricks for decorating with dark walls – because they’re a fantastic choice for any space! Find out how to use dark colours successfully in your decor, and what mistakes to avoid.

Decorating With Dark Walls - Everything You Need To Know

I’ve always loved a darker palette when it comes to interior design, and over the years have started to use them more and more.

My husband has looked at me very strangely when I’ve said I wanted to paint the living room black, or the kitchen units black – but now he knows how well it works, and he’s totally on board!

I saw this reluctance a lot with my interior design clients when I suggested anything other than pale colours on their walls. In fact, a few of them phoned me up to say they weren’t sure at all when the paint first went on the wall. Thankfully they trusted me, and once it was fully decorated and furnished, they were so thankful they’d taken the plunge.

So – are you ready to see some projects with dark walls?

I’m sharing them today in the hope that they inspire you to be brave with the colour choices you use.

Also – we’ll chat about some of the things that may well surprise you about how dark colours can work well in most rooms.

Let’s get started, shall we…

Pros And Cons Of Using Dark Walls In Your Home

When you think about decorating I’m sure you pretty much always want to create a spacious and bright room, and so are naturally drawn to the lighter paint shades when you go shopping, but I’d love you to stop and consider darker colours as well – because they may just shock you as being perfect…

5 Reasons To Use Dark Walls When Decorating

#1 – Dark colours make it harder to see where walls end, and as such it gives the feel that room is larger than it is

#2 – Dark colours show less shadows on the walls than lighter paint colours

#3 – Dark colours are great for showcasing period features in a home – especially fireplaces and picture rails

#4 – Dark colours are a great backdrop for art / mirrors etc…

#5 – Dark colours can hide the TV better than light walls – TVs tend to be the big black rectangle in the corner of the room – but it blends away more when the wall behind it is darker

But it’s not all good, don’t get me wrong…

3 Reasons To Avoid Using Dark Walls

There ARE times when dark may not work as well – and I want to list those that I can think of as well for you as I’d hate to promote the wrong thing for your home – then it’s up to you to decide!

#1 – If you have a modern home without coving or a picture rail, then the dark wall colour hitting the light ceiling colour may look too harsh – there are some examples of when this works below – so see what you think!

#2 – If you have a lot of dark furniture and accessories – you won’t be able to see them as well in the room as they will blend in too much

#3 – If you have a room that gets no natural light – the dark colours may be too much.

Dark can be a really scary prospect when it comes to painting one wall, let alone all of them in a space, and a picture speaks a thousand words as they say – so let me first show you some of the rooms in my own home that have dark walls – so you can be inspired (hopefully!)

Inspiration For Decorating With Dark Walls

#1 – Family Room Dark Walls

My husband luckily trusted me completely with the choice of paint for our family room but had to take a second glance at the colour when I showed him the sample!

Family room dark walls - little greene paint company purple brown colour - dark paint interior design home style ideas

Paint sourced from Little Greene Paint Company – Purple Brown Number 8 – can be bought direct or from Designer Paint

This room has such a great feel to it and is a lovely showcase for the picture wall and the white furniture – whereas the large brown sofa blends into the background so feels less imposing.

#2 – Bedroom Dark Walls – Grey Wallpaper

The deep grey has metal tones in the pattern as well which helps to brighten it up quite a lot (and looks lovely when the sun shines on it), and the whole room is lightened by the bedding and shutters: –

Dark grey wallpaper on walls in Master Bedroom - interior Design - Home Styling - John Lewis Birch Wallpaper

Wallpaper sourced from John Lewis – Birch range 

#3 – Bedroom Dark Walls – Blue

This was a very recent project I did with the smallest room of the house so you can only get a glimpse at the moment!. You would naturally think that a lighter colour would be best in such a small room, but we all feel that the darker blue has completely made the room feel more spacious – weird hey!

Small room with dark walls - dark blue painted walls in bedroom - Interior Design - Home styling - bedroom blue walls - B&Q paint Deep Blue Sea

Paint sourced from B&Q – Deep Blue Sea (a kitchen paint!)

#4 – Bedroom Dark Walls – Red

Another project I have yet to unveil properly – so another glimpse (I’m all for these glimpses today – keep the suspense going!).

The dark aubergine coloured walls look amazing and really cosy at night too – and did you notice that I’ve gone away from my usual white bedding in this room – one set is white and the other is this amazing set I couldn’t resist…

Little Greene paint company Adventurer paint - Dark bedroom walls - Aubergine coloured walls in bedroom - interior design - bedroom design

Paint sourced from Little Greene Paint Company – Adventurer No. 7 – can be bought direct or from Designer Paint

#5 – Living Room Dark Walls – Black (Before And After)

Here are the photos of the before and after for the newest dark room in our home – and we’ve used the darkest colour of them all!

Dark Walls Living Room - Before Painting
Dark Walls Living Room - After Painting

I think it works so very well because of a few things:

#1 – The colour stops at the picture rail, so with the high ceilings it doesn’t feel overpowering at all

#2 – Most of the furnishings are white or pale, which offsets the dark colour, and freshens the space up

#3 – It really does hide the TV as it seems to blend into the background. Perfect for a room that I like to cosy up and watch TV in, but is also in a room where we want to sit and chat with friends and not be overwhelmed by a huge TV in the corner.

#6 – Dark Green Home Office Walls

Not mine, but a colour I really want to use in my home in some way. Either for a home office area, or even the bathroom (as I think it would look amazing against the white sanitary ware).

Dark Green Office Walls

What If Painting Dark Walls Feels Too Much?

Lastly – if you’re not sold on painting every wall – why not do a feature wall?

It gives you a little impact, and it’s a great way to test the waters. This is a good example of how it can also define an area. In this case it’s a home office created from a simple alcove area:

Black Alcove Wall Behind Home Office Area

TIP: A great idea for either a kids room or a home office would be to paint the black using chalkboard paint – so it can also be drawn on! We did this recently with my daughters room on one wall and it’s a HUGE hit with her and her friends. As a teenager it helps her personalise the space while not being too permanent.

Be warned though, you’ll probably get the dark wall bug after you’ve done one wall. I know I did!

FAQs

How To Make Decorating With Dark Walls Work Brilliantly!

So now you can see how amazing decorating with dark walls can look – have I got you thinking about your own home now?

Is there a room that would be perfect for a makeover?

P.S. In the meantime – if you want even more interior design advice – why not check out THIS POST next…

This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on OrganiseMyHouse.com (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...