4 Reasons to Use Dark Colours in Your Home

The popularity of dark fabric and finishes in interiors has grown dramatically in recent years. However, many people still hesitate, worrying that inky, saturated tones will make their homes feel gloomy, overpowering and small. The fact is that dark colours, used in the right way, can be transformative. Those in the know say that once you’ve embraced the dark side, you never look back. Here are 4 reasons why you should consider going dark today…..

1. To transform a light-starved room

A common if understandable decorating mistake is to use light paints and fabrics in spaces with little or no natural light in an effort to make them look brighter. North facing rooms for example, may be favoured by artists because of the clarity and evenness of the light they receive but the lack of natural light can make them feel cold and drab.


The answer is not to fight nature but create drama and intimacy through the use of strong, dark colours. Increase the drama further by continuing a dark wall colour up onto the ceiling and into your choice of curtain or blind fabric. If your walls and ceilings are in good condition, you may want to consider gloss paint to bounce available light around the room. The result will be striking and cocooning.

2. To perform magic that tricks the eye

Used in the right way, dark colours can make a room feel larger, smaller, taller, shorter, wider or narrower. The important thing to remember is that the intensity (known as the tonal value) of colour determines whether it appears to advance or recede. So, a darker tone - regardless of whether it is a cool or warm hue - will advance more than a lighter one. Use this knowledge as follows:


  • If you want to optically lower a ceiling, perhaps because it feels too high and lofty in a small space, paint it in a dark tone. Continuing the ceiling colour down the walls to the picture rail will further ‘lower’ the ceiling.

  • In long, narrow rooms or corridors, paint the end wall in a darker tone than the walls on either side. This will visually foreshorten the space, making it feel wider and squarer.

  • Painting the woodwork in a darker tone than the walls will make the walls feel lighter and brighter.

  • To draw the eye to the view through a window rather than the window itself, choose a dark fabric for your curtains and blinds that matches the walls. Too much contrast between the fabric and the walls will stop the eye at the blinds and curtains and not carry it to the view beyond. Conversely, use a darker fabric for blinds and curtains than the walls if you want to draw the eye into a space and prevent it from feeling too voluminous.

3. To introduce focal points in featureless rooms

We may dream of living in period properties with beautiful architectural features but home for many of us is a modern building with boxy rooms. Dark colours can come to the rescue here, creating features and adding interest to a space.


If you paint walls in a dark colour to the height of a dado rail and a lighter colour above, a room will appear instantly more interesting and spacious. A darker tone at the back of a display cabinet or behind a wall of books and object d’art will show items off to better effect. Disguise a television - never the most beautiful object in a room - by painting the wall behind it in a dark colour. Create interest and grandeur in a bedroom by painting an oversize headboard in a dark colour on the wall behind the bed. Or, show off works of art by painting a large rectangle behind them in a dark colour. (Use the dark, dramatic walls of public art galleries as your inspiration here.)

4. To create the ultimate sanctuary

Deep, rich tones look equally good in traditional and contemporary homes, providing the perfect backdrop for soft furnishings, lighting, accessories, even house plants! But for the ultimate in edgy chic, paint everything - walls, woodwork, doors, ceiling - the same dark tone and choose a matching fabric for your curtains or blinds.


Everything you place against a dark background feels instantly grander. Metal finishes shimmer luxuriously and bright colours ‘pop’. Rooms become filled with interest as shadows are created and boundaries blur. The result is a space you’ll want to to snuggle into - at any time of year - and never leave.

And finally,

If you’re not yet fully convinced to dive into the dark, start slowly. Paint the inside of a cupboard, the stair risers or spindles, or the smallest room in your home in a dark tone and see how it makes you feel. If you don’t like it you can always repaint but we’re pretty sure you’ll love the effect!


Add instant drama to your home by exploring our fabulous range of dark fabrics today.