Is the Dark Style the New Interior Trend?

1:52 π.μ.

Time changed on Sunday, signalling the official end of summertime and the start of winter hibernation at home. The days will be shorter, and evenings will be darker - but dark doesn’t necessarily mean gloomy.

The temptation is to maximize light in the home with white walls and pale-coloured furniture, but an alternative trend that has been building pace in recent years is to embrace the darkness and create warm, cosseting interiors with inky tones. Done right, it’s a surefire way to create an elegant look. 

Paint it black

Dark walls seem to some a curious choice in a country starved of natural light - but going dark can be the clever option. If you have a small dark room, painting it white isn’t going to give you anything other than a small dark room painted white. White needs natural light to bounce off and do its job of lightening; without that, it will just look drab and dreary.

Dark colours recede. When a room is painted a dark colour, the colour will actually make the room look larger, rather than bringing the walls in.

Go gothic

Black walls aren’t for everyone, but dark wallpaper and fabrics with pattern and print to liven up the flat colour are a good alternative. There has been an increased demand for darker colours, especially since the comeback of grey in interiors.

Crepuscular colours can currently be found across the board on furniture and accessories but to avoid an overly matt, dusty effect, the key is to go for luxe textures. Wool and velvet are good choices for upholstery, and anything with a touch of sheen will lift the look. Mirrored surfaces are also key in a dark room - on tables, sideboards, chests and accessories, as well as on the wall.

Mix it up

Only an emo teenager would want a completely dark room. Adding white creates sharp contrast, while metallic accents will up the glamour factor, and complementary colour will intensify the intimate ambience. Dark walls are a great opportunity to play with colour on upholstery and other furniture.

Splashes of bold, bright colour - even neon, for the brave - will make a strong statement, but cool pastel shades on furniture and accessories also contrast beautifully with darker tones. Blush pink - a trend that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere - is a good foil for charcoal grey. Another trend that has migrated from the catwalk to the sofa is dark floral motifs.

Top tips for dark decorating 

  • When choosing a paint colour, you need to see it in natural and electric light; the chances are you will see it more under the latter, and paint can change according to the light and the time of day. 
  • There are tricks to making a room look larger; you could paint the back of the door to match the walls. The less you have to break up the space, the calmer and bigger it will look - picking out skirting and panelling in white will distract the eye. 
  • To banish any incipient gloom, layer lots of lights - ceiling, floor, task and table - and if you’re starting from the beginning, install dimmers. 
  • Always bring in metallics, such as cushions and lamps, to add reflective surfaces. Pale rugs will provide a good contrast to dark furniture. 
  • The classic route is to buy flamboyant cushions for a dark chair, but I would turn that on its head and go for a chair in a pattern that makes your heart sing, and bring it down with a dark cushion.


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