12 Tips for Decorating with Deep Colors and Dark Walls

green room

Dark walls—in deep colors, saturated hues, and jewel tones—can create a sense of comfort in a room or give it dramatic flair. If you're looking to make a statement in a living room, bedroom, or dining room, here's what to pair with dark, deeply toned walls.

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Complement Dark Brown Walls

Living Room 2

Because brown walls complement most furniture styles and finishes, they beautifully showcase mismatched pieces from different periods.

To create standout room arrangements, choose an eclectic mix of furnishings and accessories that are noticeably lighter or darker than the deep color on the walls. Place light-hued upholstered furniture, shapely lampshades, and salvaged architectural elements against dark walls to give the room a sense of lightness.

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Paint Saturated Pink Walls

pink room

Red raspberry walls provide a warmly energetic welcome, but need a bit of restraint to be properly enjoyed. Choose one contrasting accent hue (here a chartreuse green), and showcase it as solid strokes of color and in patterned accent fabrics. Choose fabrics that place the walls' dark color atop a white background to create draperies that won't fade into the walls.

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Carry Dark Wall Colors

maroon room

Create balance by carrying tones from deep-colored perimeters to a room's center. In this dining room, an eggplant-hued bench and white upholstered chairs mirror the wall's paint color and wainscoting while accent fabrics pickup on the drapery's persimmon hues. Choose saturated paint and fabric colors that share a similar intensity to create dramatic designs.

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Accent with White

What Goes With

White is always the right choice when accentuating dark-painted walls. Paint ceilings and woodwork bright white for a crisp finish that frames walls and amplifies the wall color's impact. Use satin or eggshell finishes on walls, flat finishes on ceiling, and glossy finishes on woodwork to create shifts in sheen that boost overall interest.

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Pair Dark with Light


Black walls don't work in every room, but they easily take on a starring role in small bathrooms outfitted with white tile wainscoting and fixtures. Accessorize black-wall baths with light-reflective chrome fittings, sculptural silver wall sconces, and green or clear glass shelves. Add warmth by displaying mirrors and artwork in medium-brown wood frames.

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Distribute Dark Colors

What Goes With

Tie furniture arrangements, windows, and bedstands to deep color walls using fabrics that combine light backgrounds and variations of the wall color. In this bedroom, the drapery fabric picks up on the walls' royal blue hue while introducing a creamy tone that repeats on the upholstered headboard and the duvet cover. The draperies' aqua tones reappear in lighter and darker shades on the accent pillow fabrics.

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Provide Visual Breaks

red dining room

Prevent saturated, bright, and deep colors on walls from appearing overly intense by giving the eye places to rest. Anchor dark walls with white or pastel wainscoting, and break up expansive stretches of wall with strategically spaced artworks displayed in high-contrast mattes and frames. Dark walls can feel formal, so add playful furnishings, like these mod-squad dining chairs, to relax a classic room's formality.

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Shift Out of Neutral

Navy living room

Most dark-colored walls act as neutral backdrops that can be paired with a kaleidoscopic array of colors. Find inspiration for a Technicolor scheme in artwork, an area rug, or boldly patterned fabric that boasts a splash of the wall color amidst a rainbow's worth of vivid hues. Consider the inspiration piece for your decorating palette, and duplicate its colors in your furnishings.

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Pair Textures with Dark Walls

Living room

Keep dark-walled rooms from falling flat by introducing a diverse selection of textured accessories similar in color to the walls and others that offer eye-catching contrast. In this space, a zinc-topped table and a harvest-basket chandelier take their cue from the walls, but present the gray in lighter shades. The creamy animal hide rug, linen upholstery fabrics, and roman shades draw attention around the room while supplying a mix of soft and woven textures.

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Add Shine

Bedroom 3

No matter the perimeter color, dark-walled rooms always benefit from adding some sparkle. Deep colors on walls emphasize the silhouettes of crystal-draped chandeliers, mirrored furnishings, and silvered accessories. In turn, the reflective accessories will amplify natural light and set night-time views aglow.

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Brighten Up

Den living room

Give a dark-walled room a contemporary lift by presenting a fashion-forward color in impactful ways. However, balance its impact with neutrally hued, streamlined furnishings.

In this brown-walled room, look-at-me orange demands consideration. Presented as blocks of solid color, in a wildly patterned artwork, and as a statuesque shelving unit, orange supplies a refreshing counterpoint to the room's more staid walls.

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Add Contrast to Jewel Tones

green room

Choose rich jewel tones that fall next to each other on the color wheel to compose beautiful decor. Emerald walls kicked off this living room design. The color inspired the use of a turquoise hue on a lampshade, the coffee table's frame, and in the art prints and an area rug, which also brings high-contrast oranges and yellows into the mix.

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