Don’t Be Afraid of Using Dark Colours for Your Walls

We see and paint a number of new and almost new homes and condominiums. Subdivision after subdivision, our residential painters have been exposed to a worrisome level of builder’s beige. Beige is the colour that graces almost all new construction houses, apartments and condominiums! Beige is a safe colour but almost always dull, boring, and uninspiring.

What options do you have? Two actually! The first is to paint in soothing pastel shades. And the second, to let your surroundings become a reflection of your bold and daring spirit! You don’t have to be scared of dark colours, they’re not just for accent walls any more. Our customers ask us to paint dark colours every now and then. Paint companies give them interesting and hip names (like Night Horizon, Espresso Bean or Handsome and Commanding). There are navy blues, charcoal grays, chocolate browns and a number of other shades/variations to choose from.

In this blog – we take a closer at painting with dark colours and what it means for you the customer.

How to be More Confident About Painting with Dark Colours

Before we delve deeper into this blog, there are some questions you should ask yourself or discuss with your colour consultant before using bold colours.

  • Is there a piece of art in your home that is striking? There may be a colour that feels familiar and can easily be replicated on a highlight wall.
  • Furniture, window coverings and even carpets can provide some ideas for a dark colour.
  • Pay a visit to your local neighbourhood paint store. Look at the colour swatches and check out the colour combinations with the darker colours. Most of them will be paired with neutral shades you’re likely comfortable with. This is a great way to begin visualizing!  
  • If taking baby steps – just use a dark colour sparingly. How about painting that window next to the loveseat? Now that would make a great picture window especially if the window overlooks the garden or the city.
  • Some older homes have interesting architectural elements – no need to hide the columns and bulkheads.
  • Do you have a very high ceiling? There is no reason to paint it a simple white, paint it dark. This will bring it down considerably and the results could be dramatic. Warmth is inescapable.   

Use dark colour in condo kitchen

What You Should Know About Working With Darker Tones?

Dark colours are less forgiving and considerably more difficult to work with. The main ‘difficulty’ is the possibly of three or four coats to get full hiding. This is mostly a job for professional painters as they have experience with dark colours (sorry DIYers!). With deeper, darker shades – it is absolutely essential to get the painting technique right. The cutting lines are more noticeable if they are not straight. Rolling should be consistent and fairly fast in order to avoid leaving streaks. The rewards are of a well executed paint job are many. Dark colours can sharpen focus, highlight interesting spaces and create the effect of drama.

There are different schools of thought about priming under dark colours. Most dark colours don’t need a priming but some paint companies recommend a gray undercoat. We find that a third finish coat is sufficient even with vibrant reds and oranges.

Points to ponder when considering a dark paint for Interiors

Select the right room: Want a cozy look and feel to a room? Dark colours are great at creating the effect of intimate spaces. There are certain rooms in a home that should reflect warm and cozy – like a large living room, a parlour or even a bedroom. A deep gray on a living room wall for instance, will set the mood for some great conversations with friends over cocktails or a close family gathering. Or imagine this – a master bedroom warm wood tones, crisp white linens and chocolate brown walls. Now that’s a scene straight out of a movie. Throw in a fireplace and a rug to further enhance a comfortable and relaxed sleeping space.

Navy blue tone in large family roomMaybe all you needs is a single dark wall: There a number of wonderful homes that are gifted with simple, uncluttered and clean spaces. For some of us, that is a miracle! But fret not. Use a charcoal gray or a navy blue to make a room in somewhat disarray seem little larger. With this baby step, you can see if you’d like dark colours on some or all of the walls.

Build contrast:  If you have a white wood ceiling or wainscot – use a deep reddish-brown tone on the upper portion of walls. Now that’s one room that will look rich and grand.  

Use darks to emphasize other design aspects: A dark colour on the walls can highlight other elements in a room such as beautiful cabinets and marble counters. A deep navy wall would go very well with pale white furniture – this not only makes the wall look attractive but also makes the cabinets or counters in lighter shades stand out. Get ready for a stream of compliments with this idea!

Use a deep neutral tone to highlight bold colours: Are you planning to paint a kid’s bedroom or a nursery? How about a deep brown or navy for it. No! We haven’t gone crazy. A deep navy or brown on the walls is a perfect backdrop for all those colourful stuffed toys, artwork and any other cute furniture you plan to include in the little one’s room. A perfect place need not be all pink or all blue. Go gender neutral and use classic colours to add a different touch.

Plan the lighting: It is important to consider the lighting plan for your rooms when the intention is to paint dark. This is more important when you’re remodeling as you get more flexibility in using a dark tone on the walls. For example, one of Ecopainting’s customers was planning their master bedroom remodel. They designed a lighting system based on placement of the artwork in the room and the dark walls. By including light fixtures around the room as opposed to couple night stands and a single ceiling light, the darker shades on the walls became more dramatic. Colour Tip: We used Seville Tan from Benjamin Moore’s Classic Colors collection in this client’s bedroom remodel.

Ready to paint bold? Hit 416-733-7767 to get some help with the latest trends with colour. And there can never be any serious mistakes – It’s only paint!

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