Modern minimalism, Scandi-inspired, delightfully simple – call it what you will, but there is no denying we have been obsessed with light, airy interiors for a while now. The brighter, and the whiter, the better. But a blank white wall just doesn’t fill us with the same glee it once did, and we think the time has come to move away from light-centred interiors to something a little more… dark.
1. Experiment with dark paint colours
You’ve heard it time and time again – paint is one of the most effective, budget friendly ways to transform a space. So if you want to dabble with the dark side but don’t want to spend a lot, paint is your best bet.
Start off with an accent wall and once you are used to the colour, start creeping it around the rest of the room. But before you dip your brush into inkier hues, think about the finish. A glossy sheen can make a dark colour seem cold, so opt for a matt chalk paint like Annie Sloan’s Graphite for a softer, richer look.
2. Add drama with black tiles
How delicious are these glossy black metro tiles? More dramatic than paint or wallpaper, bold, dark tiles add heaps of glamour but are still in keeping with that moodier vibe. If this look is a bit too Tim Burton for you, try using black tiles over a smaller surface area like a kitchen splashback, the walls of a shower or around a fireplace.
Want to get the look on a budget? Check out our guide to painting tiles.
3. Add texture with distressed walls
Before you panic, we aren't suggesting that rag-rolled walls are making a comeback... no, they can stay firmly in the '80s. But there is something sophisticated about a dark coloured, subtly distressed wall. While you could recreate this unfinished look with paint, we think the easiest way is with a grey wallpaper. For a similar look to the bedroom below, we love Cole and Son's Patina Haze.
4. Try out the colour blocking trend
If you are slightly dubious about dark interiors, colour blocking is a great way to incorporate the trend into your room, without fully committing. Here Farrow and Ball’s Railings has been combined with Estate Eggshell to give this bedroom a moody country vibe. Now who knew that was a look?
5. Add warmth with earthy tones
Dark and moody interiors aren’t all about greys, blacks and blues – deep rusty oranges and reds are also fair game. Try combining a deep orange like Dulux’s Tuscan Terracotta with dark wood flooring and Mid-century furniture to re-create this cosy look.
6. Small space? Paint the ceiling
We have a tendency to think that painting a ceiling white will make it look higher, and as a result make the room look bigger. But painting a ceiling the same dark hue as your walls means that you can’t actually read where the walls end and the ceiling begins, creating the illusion that the ceilings are in fact much, much higher. Genius, no?
Top tip: If your room is narrow, paint the two shortest walls a slightly lighter shade than the longer walls, and keep the floor and ceiling neutral to correct the room's proportions.
7. Pick accessories in contrasting colours
Another myth about white paint is that it makes other colours 'pop'. WRONG. Dark walls accentuate colour, making them far more vibrant than a magnolia-blah background. Splashes of bold, bright colour – maybe even neon, for the braver of us – will make a strong statement, and cool pastel shades also contrast beautifully with darker tones.
And if vivid colours aren’t really your thing, accent metallics look incredible against a dark background, plus the reflective surfaces will help more light bounce around the room.
8. Blend in larger pieces of furniture
This is a brilliant trick if you are working with a smaller space. Painting furniture, especially bigger pieces like wardrobes and book shelves, the same dark colour as the walls can stop a small space feeling cluttered and keeps the room looking more open.
9. Make a gallery wall pop
As you are probably aware we love a gallery wall, and there’s no denying that they look best against a dark background. Whether you choose photos, artwork or mirrors, breaking up a dark wall with a well-curated display will always make a statement.
Want to create your own? Check out our guide to hanging the perfect gallery wall.
10. Get a style hit with dark florals
Florals don’t necessarily have to be all about pretty pink roses and whimsical daisy chains, they can be moody too. Our favourite way to incorporate them? A wall mural. A whole room of florals could get a bit psychedelic but we love the sophisticated look of this Dutch Masters-esque wall mural. You can find very similar prints at Surface View.
11. Make dark colours work with any style
The beauty of dark interiors is that they can be adapted to work with any style. Yes even Scandi can be taken over to the dark side. Just check out this living room – the pared back, pale wooden furniture and the neutral hues of the accessories work perfectly with the deep blue feature wall.
12. Add depth with house plants
Creating a moody interior isn’t all about covering walls in dark paint. Copious amounts of house plants can give even the lightest room a dark and atmospheric feel. This gorgeous bathroom should be super bright with it’s white walls and pale grey, glossy tiles, but the mini jungle going on in there gives it plenty of depth.
13. Keep the lighting warm
When it comes to lighting a darkly decorated room, it goes without saying that you should avoid anything too bright. Choose shades that cast a warm light – drum shades lined in gold or copper work best for keeping the light low and luxurious. If you can, have lighting on dimmer switches as this will only enhance the moody, atmospheric feel.
14. Darker colours can work in kids' rooms too
Didn’t think dark colours would work in a kid's room? Think again. The deep grey in this child's bedroom definitely fits with the whole dark and moody trend, but the whimsical wall stickers keep it from becoming too grown up. There’s a practical element here too – the general wear and tear that kids have a tendency to create is far easier to disguise with darker colours.