Dark colours in small rooms really can work

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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We've all heard the myth that you can't use dark colours in a small space because they will make it feel even tinier but we don't think you should feel constrained by such bad advice. In fact, we love rich, dark hues and want to know how we can use them in any room that we choose so we have put together some great ideas for welcoming a little deep colour into your home.

By the end of this article we think you'll feel confident enough to decorate even the smallest room in your home in some fabulous dark colours, so let's stop talking and cross over to the mean and moody side of the colour palette!

Keep the ceiling light

country Dining room by massivum
massivum

Esszimmerstuhl Washington

massivum

If you are desperate to decorate using dark colours but you know it will feel a little too much en masse, the answer is simple: make sure you keep your ceiling white. As a large and vast expanse of space, if the ceiling is finished in a bright, light colour, it will make easy work of balancing out dark walls. 

Massivum has put together a truly beautiful room here but had the ceiling and skirting board not been kept white, there would have been a risk of the dark grey really shrinking the space. It's amazing what a difference a splash of white can make.

Balance darks with brights

If you love the drama of dark colours and you don't want to balance them out with something as bright as white, why not dig a little deeper and really tap into your decorating courage reserves to embrace the brighter end of the colour spectrum? 

This kitchen would have looked amazing enough on its own, finished in that delicious black, but when contrasted with mustard yellow it utterly transfixes us. There are so many 'rules' to say why this shouldn't work but there is no denying just how great it looks in person.

Choose a colour palette that fits with your property

modern Living room by asf
asf

Render

asf
asf
asf

Sometimes we think dark colours actually work well regardless of room sizes, if the style of property really supports them. In particular, we believe that industrial properties, such as those that are converted commercial buildings, accept dark colours willingly.

Spaces that feature exposed ducting and more raw décor will always make easy work of melding with dark colours as these pared back features don't need to compete for attention against vibrant or pale backgrounds. We think this open plan space is the perfect depiction of what we mean. Isn't it great? 

Break up large spaces with art

What a fantastic bedroom and such a bold wall colour. The sultry, luxurious and rich tones of the dark burgundy wall is really bringing something to an average-sized space but, in addition, we love the use of wall art to break up the vast expanse of colour.

While you might be feeling confident about using dark colours, once they are on the wall it can be a very different story. Before you reach for the magnolia to cover it up, think about simply breaking up the vastness. A gallery wall, such as this one, is a simple and effective way to offset a little dramatic colour.

Don't forget about the curtains

Here is a conundrum. When you want to use dark colours in a small room, do you coordinate your curtains so you have cohesive blocks of colour or do you opt for something a little lighter in order to break the scheme up a bit? The choice is yours, of course, but we really like the commitment of coordinating colour.

If a room feels too dark the curtains can be opened, allowing natural sunlight to come blaring in, but we really do love dark drapes. They add such drama and, if made from a heavy fabric, really up the luxe factor of your home, too. Who doesn't want that? 

Accessorise perfectly

classic Bedroom by Studio Carlo Dal Bianco
Studio Carlo Dal Bianco

Casa Alessandra—camera padronale

Studio Carlo Dal Bianco

A gallery wall isn't the only way to break up a large chunk of dark colour so if that doesn't appeal to you and your design aesthetic, look for other methods.

As a starting point, we know that statement lighting works wonders, as does funky furniture. You might have crossed over to the dark side when it comes to colour choices but that doesn't mean that you have to go full gothic with your furnishing!

For more colour inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: Cool Colour Ideas For Small Kitchens. We can't help ourselves; funky colours should always be encouraged!

Are you keen to try some dark colours in your home? Which room are you going to be daring in? Share your plans with us!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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