A focus on dark walls

It’s not been that long since our house was fully repainted in a lovely non-child friendly pale grey.  It’s also not been that long since my little girl attempted to walk which means grabbing onto any painted surface and putting her grubby palms on any flat pale wall to steady herself.  This has got me thinking about finally making the leapt from pale to dark paints, something that honestly I have been a little scared to do.  Despite the insta obsession with dark walls and shouts of “I’ll never go back to pale” from my designer friends, other than a downstairs loo I’ve never been quite brave enough.

This weekend though the brush is coming out and I’m trying one smallish triangle of hallway to get me started.  Results to follow on insta next week!

As well as the practicality of dark hues, a lot of you have been asking on our social channels for more inspiration on this look and how to make it work in your own homes.  
So the RoomLab design team and I have got our heads together and posted our favourite snaps of this look below along with our tips on how to make it work for you (and pitfalls to watch out for!)


A dark background will highlight your art and objets
If you’ve got a busy room with a lot of furniture or nik-naks a dark hue will really make them pop.  The space will suddenly look grander and edgier than it did before. If you love to insta share your home, tones of inky blue, black, bottle greens and plum will make your photos really stand out.

A RoomLab design showing how a dark wall can make accesories, dsiplays and plants shine

Dark loves texture
Lots of opposing textures – interesting pottery and hand blown glass, woven baskets, luxe velvet cushions all have an extra pop against a dark wall.

RoomLab designed hallway featuring dark sisal wallpaper and yellow velvet sofa

Dark loves yellow
Be it a velvet sofa or lampshade a dark wall in black, green or navy will make the canary shade shine like never before.  A bright pink will work equally well.

Small rooms actually love dark paint
It’s a common misconception that if you have a small or North-facing room then you need to paint it a light colour.  Dark paints and wallpaper actually work wonderfully in small spaces (thus my love of using them in loos and cloakrooms).  

You’ll be surprised how warm and cosy the space can actually feel, as shown in much of the Queen of a dark wall, Interior Designer Abigail Ahern.

It covers a multitude of sins
If your walls like mine are looking a bit tired, had pictures taken up and down or holes knocked out of them by the hoover, a dark paint will hide things that a lighter hue just won’t. It’s also a great way to hide uneven plasterwork, cables and other unsightliness.

As well as all the wins for a moody wall, here are some points to consider before getting that paintbrush out:

1. It can be hard to get rid of if you change your mind.  In my first London flat I decided it would be a good idea to paint the kitchen wall dark turquoise.  My flat mates hated it and we had battle with two coats of undercoat and three top coats to get it back to a neutral shade.

2. You need to be a dab hand with the paintbrush or hire a pro.

3. It’s more likely that parts will look patchy or flecks of white will come through.  You’ll possibly need a third coat rather than the standard two with a lighter paint and you need to be VERY careful around the edges.  If you’re doing this yourself I recommend Frog Tape - link for Amazon here.  It’s pricier than normal masking tape but will save you some headaches.  Don’t rush it !  It will end in tears.

4. Not everyone likes a dark hue so it’s probably not the best choice if you’re thinking of selling in the near future (or if you’re a renter!)

5. It can “eat’ the light.  You’ll find that you need more lamps and lights than before to see the room but this can add to the overall design of the space and you’ll probably find that you are curating your homeware more carefully and enjoying the additional layers of light.

That's all folks, I hope you enjoyed it!

S x


If you need an expert eye, we offer a £79 package which is perfect for getting help with paint colours, wallpaper and those finishing touches.  Click here to get started.



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