Dark walls have this tendency to render people stultified with fear. As a designer, I’ve learned a thing or two about what they can accomplish for a space. Our offices at HighStreet are a succession of small spaces, bordered on one side by a very long hallway made of concrete. We have windows on the other side that allow for viewing down onto the floor of our lifestyle store. There is a little natural and some un-natural light that moves from the store into our succinct little studio spaces. So, we decided to paint the offices black. True, many less daring would cringe but it was one of the best decisions we ever made.
Dark walls are an inexpensive way to bring sophistication, drama and warmth into an otherwise stale, stuffy room.
Painting the walls of an otherwise unspectacular space ebony, navy or charcoal adds depth and substance to a room that a lighter shade could not achieve. Therefore, you may want to consider transforming your comfortably traditional space into a dark, luxurious retreat.
The key to making this look work is to have enough light in the room to balance the dark. Strangely, this is not at all difficult. Working with a room that has at least a small amount of natural light can be helpful, while too much may ruin the effect. Investing in quality lighting from multiple angles will allow for a very particular, almost contemplative ambiance. Strategically placed lamps create a soft glow that balances the masculine with the feminine. Floor lamps, pendants and halogen track lighting can highlight accessories or art hung on the walls. Which brings us to your art and accessories…
Dark walls do wonders for your prized and even not-so-prized possessions. Anything that is light in color, (which is alot…) will look downright elegant on your deep, dark canvas. You can have so much fun with color against a dark palette because the groundedness of the backdrop balances perfectly the frivolity of exuberant color. A world of color opens itself up to you in a new, reasonable way and accessorizing a room such as this becomes a sincere and easy pleasure as opposed to what can be a sometimes difficult Math equation.
Conspiring what to place against your dark walls can be liberating, and a real thrill if you are into the aesthetic rush.
If you decide to pursue the temptations of the darker side then consider also covering your ceiling or floor a light shade if this is not already the case. Lighter, neutral colors and patterns moving through the dark space is another great way to balance and brighten the room. And let’s not forget texture. Texture in design is always good but against the dark backdrop texture takes on a whole new level of excitement much like it’s colorful counterparts.
So consider wielding some sexy dark paint. Experiment with the reaction when you use white, yellow, fuchsia or cobalt. See for yourself how almost all vibrant colors look terrific against espresso brown, dark navy or complex charcoal. It’s hard to go wrong here. At HighStreet we painted our long, concrete hallway and the ceilings a vibrant, true yellow. This gives our black offices a lift and glow that makes everything feel and look terrific and, I have to say, I do enjoy coming into my office each day to find that my work space is not some stale little box, but instead a sumptuous, infinite, warm and comforting environment that inspires me to settle in and conjure some serious creativity.
Leah Spurrier. Katherine Tyznik. HighStreet