The Dark Side: 3 Ways to Introduce Dark Paint To Your Space

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Paint has always been—and, my guess is, will always be—the go-to option for low-cost/high-impact DIY décor activity. From Debbie Travis’s faux finish techniques (anyone remember sponging?) to “Trading Spaces’” plethora of horizontal stripes, we’ve seen how good (and bad) paint jobs can quickly transform just about any space. What we rarely see are arguments for going with dark paint to bring personality – but it’s an almost fool-proof solution!

Start Small

If the idea of dark colors on your walls makes you nervous, don’t worry--there’s plenty of drama to be played up by going dark in smaller spaces. Think powder rooms or entryways—areas that don’t typically get a lot of attention gain tons of personality when you paint them in darker hues.

Start Small
Image: Feel inspired

Shelf Life

Another great way to introduce dark paint colors to your home is to use them on both shelving and the backing wall. This is especially effective when you have a full wall of bookcases, allowing you to create a showcase for personality via display of a variety of your own objects and favored treasures.

Shelf Life
Image: French By Design

Embrace Your Dark Side

Once you’ve had a taste of the way darker walls enhance your surroundings, there’s no reason not to try taking the inky path throughout your home. Living rooms and bedrooms grow more intimate with dark paint. Dark kitchen cabinets allow the rest of your kitchen to sparkle like fine jewelry. Play with variations on the same color, going deeper in some rooms—or on a few walls in one room. Choose a dark color in some of your furnishings, like the chairs above, and match the walls or go tone-on-tone to call out even more personality.

Dark Drama
Image: Elle Decoration

Have you ever gone to the dark side with paint in your home?


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  2. BM Shadow Gray is a soothing modern color on my bedroom walls. It makes me feel good and i enjoy the change in color when the light changes. It’s a good background for the medium red in the coverlet and chair cover, the white furniture and woodwork, the paintings, and jewelry hanging on one wall. But I think it depends on the room, whether it works or not. Wouldn’t use it in the BR w/ western exposure.

    • Hi Mary, thanks so much for letting us know how you’re using dark paint. I’ve gotta say, the palette for your bedroom sounds soothing and luscious!

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Dave Hime, founder/curator of, has been an interior design addict for as long as he can remember. In 2005, he bought a house-in-progress and missed several opportunities to have an influence on his own home decor–leaving him wanting more. With design heroes such as Blake Dollahite ( and Robert & Cortney Novogratz (, Dave began seeking out online resources that would exemplify the interior design practices he's most drawn to: using color, texture and simple materials well. Bringing all of this together, along with his specific focus on providing interior design inspiration from a man's point of view, is Dave's mission: masculine design.