Dwell Well > Lifestyle with Annie Button > Moody Interiors: Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark

Moody Interiors: Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark

Welcome to the world of dark interiors. It’s a far cry from the ubiquitous white minimalism and light neutral tones that we’ve been used to decorating our homes with for so many years. Right now, dark colour palettes are where it’s at if you want an ‘elegant meets dramatic vibe’ that is very on-trend.

How dark is dark?

When you think of dark interiors, does your mind automatically conjure up black? For sure, black is a bold choice that can work wonderfully in many rooms, but rest assured that it is by no means the only dark colour available.

Maybe it would be more helpful to think of ‘moody’ rather than ‘dark’ interiors since there’s a wide range of dusky hued colours that can imbue your interior with a certain mood. From forest greens to inky blues, sludgy browns and gunmetal greys, there’s a vast choice when it comes to choosing the right dark colour.

Overcome your fears

There may be many reasons why an unapologetically dark colour palette may scare you. Usually, people are either worried that dark colours may make the space look smaller or that they may not work with the chosen style. Actually, both assumptions are wrong. Moody shades can in fact make a room appear bigger since the use of dark colours helps to blur the separation between walls (and ceilings), making them visually retreat. What’s more, dark shades can work with any interiors style – even dark Scandi. It just depends on the overall vibe you want to achieve.

Another understandable fear that many people have of using dark colour palettes centres around the lack of light. Of course, lighting is key in any room scheme and with dark interiors you must pay more attention to incorporating the right lighting for the scheme to work. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if you are decorating an office or reading nook, adding pendant or spot lighting may be needed to achieve the right levels of illumination.

Benefits of dark interiors

If you’re still struggling to understand the benefits of embracing dark interiors, let us provide some enlightenment, as it were:

  • Moody colours deliver added character and personality, plus a sense of drama and intrigue that you simply don’t get with lighter palettes. Dark hues ooze luxury and elegance, giving a ‘wow’ factor and making your interiors classy without much effort.

  • Dark shades are perfect for creating cosy, intimate spaces that you can’t help but want to relax in. If you are keen to “make your home feel like a place you absolutely never want to leave,” in the words of interiors guru Abigail Ahern, then dark interiors are how to do it.

  • Light colours have the unfortunate side effect of highlighting every imperfection in the room. The opposite is true with dark colour palettes. Mistakes and imperfections will fade into the background, barely visible. Darkness is a much more forgiving way to decorate.

  • Try displaying artwork against a dark background and see how the colours pop. Whether old masters, quirky wall art or family photos, the eye is drawn to focus on the image without distractions. The same goes for any ornament or statement furniture in an accent colour.

How to master the dark arts

Now that you know the basics of moody interiors, it’s time to put them into practice. Here are some useful tips and tricks to inspire you to go over to the dark side

  • Dark colour palettes provide an opportunity to show off the other items in the room and make them truly pop. Take advantage and add colourful accessories, artworks and decorative objects. Use brighter furniture too for added dynamics. Finally, don’t forget to install ample lighting, not just for illumination but for warmth and welcome. Wall lamps, floor lamps, table lamps, ceiling spots, fairy lights, mood lighting and even candles are all welcome.

  • Dark interiors love reflective surfaces and metallic textures, so take note. This means shiny materials such as gloss finishes or silver, copper or gold metallic textures. Use them in paintwork, furniture, accessories or lighting fixtures for an extra touch of glamour and luxury. You can also use mirrors to reflect the light in the room, adding even more of a sense of mystery and drama with your dark colour scheme.

  • Going dark in your interiors is about so much more than just putting solid colours on the wall. On the contrary, bold floral wallpapers or geometric patterns on furniture or flooring can add an extra dimension and make a real style statement. Experiment with rich burgundy and emerald green for a classy and elegant look, maybe teamed with a velvety texture for that wow effect.

  • Take a look at Pinterest for dark interiors inspiration and you’ll find that nearly all of the featured schemes include houseplants. Adding real (or faux) greenery into your dark space brings an element of life into the room and lightens the mood. Use different kinds of plants and put them in various places to create a relaxed vibe. Even better, natural greens will go with virtually any dark paint shade, and they can even add a colour accent of their own.

Use a step-by-step approach

Should you now be tempted to take a step towards the dark side and try a moody interior palette in your home, it’s a good idea to start slowly. Dip your toe into the murky water, so to speak, to see whether you like what you see.

Start with one room, or even just one wall in one room, and see how it feels. One popular way to try a dark colour scheme is to paint one wall and use it as a gallery wall, displaying favourite pictures and decorative items.

Perhaps paint the wall(s) in a dark shade but leave the ceiling white. You can always add more colour later (including painting the ceiling dark) if you like the effect that a moody palette creates in the room. The first step is always the hardest and after that, chances are that once you’ve gone dark, you won’t want to go back!


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