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Decorating with dark tones
10 October 2018
Decorating in dark tones is hot topic this season with deep, luxurious colours bringing a sense of glamour and comfort to the home for autumn 2018.
But, before we go any further, let’s say hello to the elephant in the room - we just don’t tend to be comfortable decorating ‘in the dark’.
Why? Well, good question. There’s thought that it makes the room feel smaller and that it will make the space too dark for day-to-day living. True, but only in some cases, generally speaking dark colours can be used at home and achieve great results. So be confident and take a leap into the deep with our step-by-step guide to decorating with jewel tones, below.
Make the most of natural light
Confused already? Even colour experts can get in a tangle when it comes to choosing the right colour for a room, so you’re not alone. But our interiors editor Rory Robertson is a dab hand at painting and wallpapering, so if you’re looking to refresh your walls stay tuned to this section. Top tip, before you start work out which direction your room faces so you can easily identify how to decorate it.
North facing rooms
Generally speaking, a window that faces north inherits a cool, darker natural light. There are two things to consider with a north facing room and colour scheme.
1. If it’s a sizeable room or space, then choose either a pale, warm wall colour, or at the least a warm darker tone, like a soft deep yellow or pale sandy neutral. This will help balance the cool-cold natural light tone in the room.
2. If the room is north facing and small, with little or no natural light, then don’t fight it – go dark. Let’s face it, painting a small enclosed space that is north facing with cool natural light is an uphill struggle, but if you paint it dark then you have more chance of making it feel really special. This is excellent for winter and makes for a great snug room. Add extra cosiness with a selection of soft cushions and warm throws.
South facing rooms
Normally these are a lot easier to tackle than a north facing room. You don’t have to worry about the light being cold as south facing rooms and windows benefit from warm sunny natural light. You can paint in warm sunny colours, neutrals and you also have the option of painting in dark colours, too.
East facing rooms
East light, and windows which face east, will take on a bluey-green natural light. For this reason it’s best to consider a colour palette which has blue or green in it, so that you work with the natural light and don’t fight it. Generally, east facing rooms look great when decorated in a dark midnight or indigo blue, or choose something a little different and work with a deep jade green.
West facing rooms
Colder light in the morning, warmer light in the late afternoon and evening.
So if you have a room that has windows to the west, consider when and how you use the room. If it’s in the morning, or as a breakfast area, then consider a warmer warm colour to help warm up the colder natural light. If you use the room in the evening then be confident in using a dark and/or cooler colour tone as the warm natural light in the evening will help balance it out.
Choose to decorate a feature wall or invest in a dark item of furniture
You don’t need to decorate the entire room if you don’t want to, instead choose just to paint or wallpaper one feature wall, or pick out architectural features (if you have them) like the skirting board, dado rail, cornice work or ceiling rose.
If you don’t have any architectural features in your house then another way to inject some colour is by either buying a piece of dark coloured furniture, like a midnight blue velvet sofa or a statement contemporary armchair like our Holborn, pictured above. You might also choose to recycle an old chest of drawers or tired sideboard by giving it a lick of paint in your chosen dark tone.
SHOP HOLBORN ARMCHAIR
Drapery and upholstery
It’s easy to overlook the curtains and upholstery when redecorating a room, but when it comes to designing in dark jewel-like tones they can make a big difference. Consider a new, fresh set of curtains for winter this year, and opt to make them dark. For starters, it’s such a practical move. They don’t show the dirt or dust, unlike the paler neutral options, and the darker fabric instantly helps to block out light and cocoon you over the colder months.
Try a set of our Velvet Metallic Geo Curtains and look for the velvet-look upholstery options on our sofas and chairs.
SHOP VELVET METALLIC GEO CURTAINS
Scatter cushions and throws
Add an extra layer of dark colour with selected cushions and throws. It’s the season to start thinking about snuggling in and keeping warm, and what better way to do it than by popping a couple of new colourful cushions and cuddly throws onto your bed or living room sofa. This is probably the easiest way to introduce a different colour to a room – and it’s a classic interior design trick. You can quickly facelift and alter the appearance and feel of a space by swapping your cushions over. Particularly effective if your bedding or sofa is a neutral colour tone, as a backdrop. Be inspired by the Timeless trend this season and look to a lustrous teal cushion.
SHOP METALLIC VELVET GEO CUSHION
SHOP TIMELESS FLORAL THROW
Dark dining details
Want to appear like a professional interior designer? It’s all in the details.
For example, when it comes to decorating and refreshing a kitchen or dining room in dark colours try also adding in a few key pieces of deep blue crockery. Our Kempton Dinner Set is ideal for this, with its high shine blue glaze. It’s also dishwasher safe, making it a very practical addition too.
SHOP KEMPTON DINNER SET
SHOP ALL DINNER SETS
When was the last time you treated the table to a set of glassware? Try an alternative to the standard clear glass and choose these indigo blue Champagne Flutes for size. They will contribute a sense of elegance to any table thanks to the slender stem and narrow shape. There’s also a set of indigo Wine Glasses to choose from too, which together with the champagne flute look super chic.
So whether you’re looking with a dinner party in mind, or maybe even for Christmas day celebrations, these glasses are an essential addition when decorating in dark tones.
SHOP CHAMPAGNE FLUTES
SHOP WINE GLASSES
Have you seen our comprehensive lighting range? Statement chandeliers – sorted. Floor lights – done. Table lamp – we have you covered. We’ve even got twinkling fairy lights for your Christmas tree. But what works best when decorating in a deep colour palette? Well, if you want to be ‘on trend’ with our Timeless range then it’s best in this case to opt for lighting which has a dark finish, like gunmetal, or a metallic sheen, like chrome, silver or gold. Metals really pop out against the dark colours, and the likes of the metallic gold will help give the room a luxe look. The Jett, above, is the perfect light for dark rooms with its black frame and chromed glass shades.
SHOP JETT LIGHT
SHOP ALL LIGHTING
Have fun with some metallic touches.
Items that encompass some sparkle and luxury work well with a darker colour palette, and metallic finishes (as we discussed with lighting above) look great when set against a darker backdrop. Shop from a selection of metallic items like this spikey Sputnik Sculpture for some fun homeware additions.
READ HOW TO DECORATE WITH GREY
READ ABOUT MILLENNIAL PINK
EXPLORE STYLE STORIES
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