Pulling off Dark Walls

I have a conflict of interest when it comes to wall color. On one hand I love a good crisp white and a minimalist design scheme. But on the other hand, I like the coziness of bold & dark room color with an eclectic cottage-y feel.

So let's talk about the latter for a bit. Seems appropriate for the season, anyway!

My bedroom walls (as most of you know) are navy. But I've also seen a lot of good charcoal walls lately. And being it's one of our business brand colors, we're a little biased towards charcoal at 3A :)

Dark colors--although tricky--are nothing to be afraid of. I've laid out some guidelines and different approaches that make it a little less scary, and I bet you can pull it off much more easily than you may think.

Let's take a look:

{Click on images for source}

1. Use a lot of natural light. No-brainer here. Keeping your window treatments light and airy will help allow more natural light into the space, so that it doesn't feel too dark or closed in.

2. Use color along with texture to set a mood. Dark neutrals like charcoal can be very earthy, yet bold. So play on that. Use other earth tones, natural wood finishes, and dark metallics. Use it in a room where you won't spend long periods of time, or one where distractions are minimal--where you might settle in for the night, or enjoy a book and coffee.

3. Use metallic accents. Gold is our personal favorite accent with charcoal (they're our business card colors, after all). Golds and warm metallics help create a sophisticated feel when using charcoal.

4. Go with a monochromatic color scheme. If you're not so great with color blending, then keep it simple. Use whites, grays, and blacks in the rest of your decor. It will give the space a crisp, modern, yet balanced feel. 

5. Stay safe. Go partial. Paint an accent wall. Install a wainscoting and paint the upper portion in the charcoal. Use it for some built-ins. If you're still hesitant about taking the plunge on a whole room, then by all means, start slow. If it grows on you, you can always paint more later.

6. Mind your floors and ceilings. Very important. Your floor and ceiling are the top and bottom of your space. The bread on your sandwich. The beginning and end. They have to relate to what's in between them, yet they are all too often neglected. Most charcoals are a cool or neutral on the color scale (meaning they have very little reds or yellows in them). When picking your charcoal, keep in mind the color of your ceilings and trim. Are they off-white? Antique white? Because they will be looking much more yellow-looking with a charcoal wall. So make sure to get several color swatches to paint on your walls. 

This photo shows off-whites used well.

Floors, on the other hand, can look great when they are golden enough to contrast nicely with the charcoal. 

And don't forget a rug that compliments the feel of the room. A light rug can reflect a light ceiling very well, helping open up the feel of a room with dark walls.

And last but not least....

7. Layer, create interest, and decide what you want the focus to be in your room. Mallory had some great tips on how to do this in her last post. If you want your walls to stand out, make them stand out. Don't make the room too busy, or use too many colors. If you want them to be a backdrop, then focus on balancing the room with accents and light colors. 

How many of you have been pleasantly surprised at your ability to pull off a dark color in your home? Tell us about it!

Still want to achieve a bold look, but need help? Drop us a line or scroll to the top of the page for a list of services.

Until next time!