It’s easy to fall in love with a bold, darker-hued paint color. Maybe it’s your “go-to” color, something you’ve always loved, or maybe it works well with a piece of furniture or fabric in your favorite room. Darker colors offer a richness and warmth that create wonderful atmospheres, especially as the seasons change and the weather turns colder. However, just “falling in love” with an interior paint color doesn’t always make it a good choice for your home. Darker paint colors tend to be the most problematic for many reasons – some obvious and others not so.
That doesn’t mean you should abandon painting with dark colors on walls altogether. You need to be extra careful when choosing a dark paint color for a bedroom or when selecting dark walls for your living room. Allison Burrington, a Professional Designer for Traditions of America, gives good advice: “The trick to pulling off a darkly painted room is to add a few bright-colored accents like pillows, throws, or a vase to attract your eye to those pieces. This allows the walls to act more like a backdrop as opposed to being the main focus. Keep the trim light, too!” To help you make the best choices for your home, here’s an overview of the pros and cons of painting with dark colors.
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Darker colors don’t have to be avoided at all costs. To the contrary, they can work miracles in certain settings.
Great for Small Spaces: Dark paint in a bedroom or another smaller room can have the effect of making that room actually look bigger. Why? Because dark bedroom walls help absorb the light that’s hiding along wall bases and dark corners, making the small space appear larger than it is.
Create Dramatic Moods: Dark walls can do wonders in dining rooms and powder rooms. They can make a space feel just a little bit fancier and dramatic, which isn’t great for every room — but it’s the perfect ambience for some, especially when paired with soft, mood lighting.
Little Need for Décor: When choosing darker colors for walls, you don’t need much in the way of décor. That’s because dark walls act as their own décor and speak for themselves.
And, Why They Don’t…
Most people have shied away from dark walls — and there are reasons for that reluctance. According to Traditions of America’s Nanci Knoedler, one of our Professional Designers: “Dark, bold paint colors are certainly trending right now. But, the biggest mistake I make is not using enough color in the paint I choose. I always wish I had gone darker, but was too scared to do so. If you are also scared, then start small……do an accent wall instead of a whole room.” Here’s a look at some of the pitfalls of painting with dark colors:
Limited Appeal: You may find that you get tired of a dark interior paint color more quickly than a lighter shade. Lighter hues are easier on the eyes.
Lacking Timelessness: Dark colors tend to be trendier, which means you run the risk of your dark color going out of style more quickly than lighter, neutral tones.
Overwhelming: Perhaps the hardest part about dark paint is that it tends to overwhelm if the color is too bright, and it can also overwhelm architectural detail. You have to be especially careful when choosing a dark paint color for a certain room. It should be the perfect balance: bold enough to stand up to the elements of the room yet not so bold that it drowns out the other elements that might be of interest.
Imperfections and fingerprints: Fingerprints, scuff marks and other imperfections are more noticeable on darker painted walls. Thus, the upkeep can be more burdensome. However, if you choose an eggshell finish, often times fingerprints and scuff marks can be wiped off.
Bottom line: when it comes to interior paint color, go for it! Do what you love.