decor, Walls and Floors

How To Make Dark Walls Work

A scene from the home of Cape Town stylist Etienne Hanekom. Photographer: Justin Patrick

If it's done right, a dark backdrop is one of the most stylish choices you can make when decorating your home. Not only are moody walls perfect for creating drama, but they're also surprisingly neutral.

We’ve put together our top five tips on how to maximise the glam factor when using dark hues in your space.

1. create contrast

May2014 Originally published in HL May 2014. Photographer: Micky Hoyle

On their own dark walls can seem cold or too minimalistic, but if you offset them with romantic, softer pieces, this definitely isn't the case. Add naturally warm items, such as wood, cane and linen, to create an inviting foil to your backdrop. It’s the contrast between these items that will enhance the drama and elegance.

2. use dark hues to showcase your artworks

Aug2014 Originally published in HL August 2014. Photographers: Elsa Young and Graeme Wyllie

A black or slate-grey backdrop is ideal for highlighting your curated art collection. The dark tone will instantly draw attention to the artworks, allowing them to stand out and become the focal point.

3. balance an inky backdrop with bright colour

June2016 Originally published in HL June 2016. Photographer: Sarah de Pina

As discussed in point one, contrast is the best way to maximise the appeal of a dark wall. If soft and elegant isn't for you, use bursts of bright colours to create a wonderfully eclectic and dramatic look. The dark walls will intensify the saturation of your colourful objects.

4. use black to highlight architectural features

Jan_Feb2015 Originally published in HL January/February 2015. Photographer: Elsa Young

If you want a particular feature in your house to stand out, use a dark hue to highlight it. Whether it’s a wall or a structural arch, painting it dark will allow the feature to become the space’s focal point and will ground your space by creating one area of focus.

5. offset a moody colour scheme with natural light

Oct2014 Originally published in HL October 2014. Photographer: Micky Hoyle

It’s important to look at your room’s lighting plan when using a dark colour palette. Although dark colours can create beautiful drama, it is true that they can in turn make a room appear smaller and gloomy. If, however, your lighting plan complements your dark palette, then you have nothing to fear. Natural light is the best way to offset the problem so choose the sunniest spot in the house to showcase your new look.

Pick up our August 2016 issue to see how Cape Town-based stylist Etienne Hanekom

  Save Save Save