Creative Ways to Use Dark Colors in Your Decor

Living room
Dark colors can add intrigue, warmth and comfort, in both straightforward and unexpected ways. Here are inspiring and unexpected ways to decorate your home with dark colors.

Window Wow

Here, dark colors make a big impact in an unexpected place: the window sashes and grilles. When set against the white sills and jambs, the combination is stunning and a nice change of pace from all-white windows. The dark color also finds its way onto the drum shades and the dining chairs, whose spindles recall the window grilles. A dark shade of gray on the walls pulls the look together and accents of indigo and antique gold enliven the neutral space.

High-Impact Combo

A dark wall color paired with all white everything else makes for certain impact that’s pretty easy to pull off in a small space, like this hallway. Just take one all-white chair (striking silhouette preferred), add an all-white statement piece (related: spray paint is your friend). A white ceiling and trim complete the look.

Ready to try out a new room color scheme? Start with a dark wall color. If you're ready to take the decorating plunge with a deep wall color, here are the secrets to success.

Dark Walls: How to Get It Right

Ready to take the leap into dark walls? Watch and get our no-fail secrets to success.

Dramatic Bath

Dark gray walls and slate tile lay a calm, cool base for this bathroom, especially when set against the white of the tile and the clapboard ceiling. The claw-foot tub with dark-gray exterior fits in comfortably. Hand towels and countertop accessories add a shot of playful color, and a cool porthole-inspired mirror and vintage arrows as wall art add character.

Small Step

If having a dark wall isn't your thing, take a smaller step instead. Painting the interior of a built-in shelving unit a dark color is an incredible attention-getter that adds depth. It also spotlights anything light or colorful that you put on the shelves -- pictures and photos with white mats and rainbow-hue books especially pop.

Starry Night

Dark chocolate walls in this bedroom simulate nighttime, and the chandelier overhead even mimics the stars. Nearly all else is fresh and modern in chocolate and white -- the crisp bed linens, the geometric area rug, the compact nightstands, the wee bedside sconces, and the slim padded ottoman at the foot of the bed. The mix of patterns and solids, along with interesting details, such as the trim on the bedding, keep the two-color palette from falling flat.

Chalk It Up

A little chalkboard paint and the space above this dining room’s wainscot is a modern dark gray -- as well as a message board. The chalkboard and a pop-up bar give the dining room the feel of casual bistro, which is perfect for casual entertaining at home. The dark gray of the spare metal light fixture and the upholstered chairs help welcome the chalkboard into the room.

Balancing Act

When decorating with deep tones, it's important to strike a balance between dark and light. In this living room, the handsome wood paneling and beams feel less heavy-handed, thanks to a butter-color sofa and white armchair, along with a seagrass rug and pouf. A barely-there glass-and-metal table and a glass lamp add even more brightness.

Set the mood in any room by decorating in dark colors. Create your own rich color scheme with dark paint colors and plenty of luxurious accent colors. See how it's done with our helpful tips!

Building a Dark Color Scheme

Watch and see the secrets to building a gorgeous color scheme of dark colors.

Light to Dark

Dark cabinets on the bottom paired with light-color cabinets up top create a casual look that anchors the room and creates height. (Plus, darker colors tend to be good at hiding smudges and grubby fingerprints.) Here, a trio of simple glass globe lights adds to the bright, airy feel.

Deep Blue

Painting a room entirely in a dark color -- cabinetry included -- creates a dramatic look. Especially when you leave the walls blank and keep the furniture to a minimum, as in this contemplative den. A simple worktable, a comfy wing-back chair, and a statement floor lamp make the room not only a place to work, but a work of art.

Eclectic Mix

Dark-color doors in a painted-white room beg to be mimicked by dark-color picture frames. It just makes sense. Mixing more dark -- an ultra-plush chocolate brown couch, a spindly end table-turned-magazine rack, and a stately coffee table -- with pops of color and planes of white yields an upscale Bohemian feel.

Modern Minimalist

One entire wall of textured dark gray tile makes a major impact, especially when paired with white, white, and more sleek white. The streamlined style -- from the tulip table, to the floating shelves, flat-front cabinetry, and shiny expanses of countertop, even the minimalist vent -- takes classic black and white into modern territory. A few bright splashes of yellow come only in accessories, which could easily be switched for another color.

Dramatic Design

Don't let chair rail or wainscot stop you from painting your walls super dark, from top to bottom. The variation in texture adds interest. Furniture upholstered in the exact same fabric as the curtains is, much like painting your walls near-black, a bold move; but one that can be carried off if you add enough elements that are quiet and plain, like this sofa, flooring and Lucite table.

Tonal Mix

Dark colored, low sofas set on a cozy rug create a grounded, comfortable set up for conversation and lounging. White walls and trim and a white chandelier-style light fixture hung a few inches from the ceiling give this room height. Lighter gray tones on the curtains and the rug along with a collection of framed photos and art nicely define the entry space and create a cheery welcome.

Striking Style

This room is very literally dark colored from top to bottom -- the ceiling, walls, trim, window sash, and grilles, curtains, and built-ins are all the same velvety dark gray shade. But it's hardly dismal, thanks to bright accessories on the shelves, light upholstered furniture around a glass-and-metal coffee table, and cheery orange table lamps.

Dark Meets Light

Dark-color walls make a room full of whites and creams feel much less pristine and a lot more livable. A mix of un-fussy textures certainly helps, too, as demonstrated by this rugged pendant light, linen shades, vintage table on casters, and soft, smooth area rug. Mini terrariums brighten the space and further the natural theme.

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