So I couldn’t resist a reference to the film which all my boys (yes that includes my husband) are currently obsessing over. However, this post is not actually about Darth Vader. I’ve been lusting over dramatically dark schemes for ages. Simultaneously moody and inviting, dark interiors seem effortlessly to exude sophistication and glamour. But while you might already have been seduced, fear might be preventing you from taking a leap into the dark.
I dipped my toe into the look with a dark feature wall in the living room of my last place and in the family room of our new place. Emboldened by that experience I eventually plucked up enough courage to go all dark in our new living room. I’ve not regretted it.
But what makes a dark scheme cozy and moody, not depressing and gloomy? There are a few simple strategies that will lend your scheme some design flourish to help make your dark scheme a triumph.
1. Add Brights. Add a pop of vibrant colour to lift the scheme and add contrast. A splash of florals, either in a piece of art or an arrangement (artificial will last through the seasons and is more cost effective in the long run) works really well.
2. Soften it. On the other hand, pastels and muted paler shades can be equally striking. I think the dark wall colour in our family room (Farrow and Ball’s Hague Blue) creates a fresh perspective on the retro accessories.
3. Mix in metallics. Metallics work to bounce light around the room and create an alluring sparkle and warmth. Incorporate metallics in accessories like vases or chunky candlesticks, or be bold with metallic furniture or upholstery.
Image: Farrow and Ball
4. Break it up. Panelling (like in the image above), art work, or patterned wallpaper can all be effective at breaking up large expanses of dark paintwork. In the image below, this beautiful Juliet Travers wallpaper incorporates metallics too – two strategies for the price of one.
Image: Juliet Travers
5. Lighten up. While dark schemes are most often associated with a sense of cozy intimacy, they can also achieve a look of airy sophistication. To pull this off, you need plenty of space, natural light in abundance and keep the floors, doors and skirtings bright.
6. Make it sparkle. A sparkling statement pendant light or chandelier will create a real wow feature in a dark interior. A contemporary chandelier offset against a more traditional scheme mixes it up. (Ok, so shoe rack envy is a thing.)
7. The Luxe Factor. Luxury fabrics like faux fur and velvet lend sumptuousness and enhance the overall richness of the scheme. Cushions, throws and upholstery are all opportunities to add different textures and this is a good time of year to pick up winter sales bargains in home accessories departments.
Plan your scheme to incorporate one or two of these strategies, inhale deeply, and take the plunge. Worst case scenario? You’ll be busy with a paint brush for a couple of days. Best case scenario? A fabulously dramatic new look, your friends are blown away by your newly expressed creative talents, and you’ve taken a bold stride towards becoming a confident, decisive, designer of your own beautiful and unique home.