This time of year is magic.
The earth has patterned itself into a green quilt, snow has turned into frothing water, and we are enjoying the long light. It sneaks around us at 4:30 in the morning and we watch is linger until 10 at night. I think it wants to stay just as much as we do. Of course, if we have long light now we will live in inky darkness in six months.
I’ve learned to embrace it. To wake up to the cold with breath that cuts through the stillness. The darkness lets me see the thread of stars weaving across the sky and appreciate the different phases of the moon.
There’s something about black. You feel hidden away in it.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
This week’s Q & A deals with darkness. This is the question:
“I’ve been wondering when it’s appropriate and what elements should be present when painting a room a dark color. I know it can look incredible, but it can also go very, very wrong. How do I know my space is a good space for a navy or even black on the walls?”
Thank you for the question!
You all know my love affair with white, but I also fall head-over-heals for rich, complex, and deep color. A professor in college told me once my paintings needed more medium values…that I was drawn to the dark/light contrast too much. What can I say? I live in a place that is black and white half of the year. It is running in my blood.
Dear Reader, while I can’t give specifics about your space because I haven’t seen it, I did tap my friends in the design industry for some stunning visuals.
Photographer: Jacobs Navely
Paint Color: Variety of shades from Farrow & Ball
Photographer: Eric Roth
Paint Color: Benjamin Moore “Townsend Harbor Brown”
Photographer: Leah Kirin
Paint Color: Benjamin Moore “Flint”
Photographer: Mark Holleron
Paint Color: Dulux “Black Mica”
Design by Lisa Canning/Vicky Sanderson: Homeowner
Paint Color: Unknown
Photographer: Paul Richer
Paint Color: Sherwin Williams “Sea Serpent”
As you can see, there are lots of ways for dark to go right. I’ll simply point out a couple of things for you to think about.
First, it doesn’t matter which room in the house you want to paint dark. Bedrooms to living rooms to offices…all can look stunning. The only situation that I think it could be a problem is in an open floor plan. If you don’t have a distinct starting and stopping point, I wouldn’t go with a dark color (or any color, for that matter) unless you’re willing to go with it EVERYWHERE. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want my entire house to be dark.
Second, for the ultimate in sophisticated, paint your trim and ceiling dark as well. Of course, this isn’t a rule that has to be followed, but I love how it sets a room apart. But this returns us to my first point. Make sure the room you want to paint can be visually separated from the rest of the house. And don’t do an accent wall. All or nothing, baby!
Thank you to the designers who so generously let me use your images. You are a talented group.
And for anyone reading, please submit your questions so we can continue this new Q & A series. Until next time!