The Dark Room

It was a dark, dark and stormy night; but is every night a fright when a room is given dark walls?  How does one accomplish a dark room that’s exciting, beautiful and makes one want to linger there?  One rarely finds a proud description of one’s house as a dark home but a dark room, when done right, could be the room which draws us in the most.  Dark rooms in their mysterious way present each of their aspects slowly, not all at one glance like a bright, cheerfully lit room.  Dark rooms can be quite seductive with their hidden charms to be unveiled one at a time. A dish to be savored slowly – nuanced acclimatization required.  They can be engrossing and, at the same time, protective in their allure.  One might also extoll the comforting elegance of that precise darkness especially when in a quest to relax, wind down or meditate.

Designing a dark room is a task that could prove harder than cleaning the Augean stables.  One doesn’t just divert a river of dark paint into the room and call it done.  Dark paint needs contrasting values in various forms to show off  its somberness or velvety quality.  One  usually chooses an accent color to liven up the abysmal depth of the dark walls.

Dark rooms rely primary on browns,black, dark grey, dark taupe, dark blues, greens and purples on walls for it to feel a convincing threat.  The first way to dissect this approach is to go by colors.


Chocolate walls for a chocolate store. This stairwell is done a bit too literally but to chocolate lovers, it must have been a treat to walk through a small hallway with the smooth warmth that chocolate offers.

Dark brown with white trims, white linens and strong geometric patterns. The dark walls retreat into the background to show off the stark patterns.


One of the original black walls. Lutyens played  off the black walls in this room with red lacquer furniture and white trims. A daring color scheme!

Here is another black walled room with white trim. The white trims and fireplace stand quite crisp against the receding walls.

Black kitchen cabinets with a gloss. Here the contrasting color is also white in the white painted floors and window.

Black walls and black floors!  This little opportunity for white trims is compensated for the bright blue uphostery.  A great stroke of creativity to enliven this dark dark room.


Dark warm grey walls set against light colored furniture and white trims. Funny how white trims are the recurring themes for dark rooms.

Cool grey enhanced by black furniture! The light rug saves the day and the cinnabar chairs adds such punch!


Dark taupe walls and casework against yet another dark component in the floors. The contrasting effect relies on the light colored furniture and the accent color orange in the drapes and pillows.

Here is a medium taupe with greyish pink accents. Quite an elegant combination of colors. The daintiness in the radassier and wall sconces is balanced by the playful geometric pattern on the floor.


Ingeniously intense blue on the walls! The polished marble floors and white trims negotiated the heightened sophistication of the room.

Dark grey blue walls with light grey rug and white accents found in the screen and the furniture. Again, the darker the room, the more whites we find.


A rare treat with green plaster walls and old faded yellow trims. The combination is repeated on the tiled floors.

Go green! Use dark furniture as well and redeem it with perfectly white ceiling and a few white windows.


One must truly love purple to use it in such abundance with little relief in silver and grey.

The Textures

Sometimes, dark rooms don’t rely on just dark paint and  contrasting trims or furniture. They rely on the textures the dark colors give off and the sparks and glitters coming from lights and mirrors that complete the look.

Multi-faceted dome lit by an occulus. Lessons learned from the Pantheon, no doubt.

Could any heavy timber construction be heavier than this?

Bring in the stone work and let there be a few light spots.

Texture in the wood paneling serves enough contrast that the absence of white would go amiss.

Glossy walls, shiny crystals, polished marble, polished chrome and silver mirrors. This is how we can bring in the cavalry of reflectivity and give the room sparkles.

Dark wallpaper. It saves itself with the contrasting pattern. An easy way to go for a dark room.

Dark masonry walls. Who would complain if they frame the view so breathtakingly.

Curved wood ribs on the ceiling. Could one suffer from so much sensuality?

The Uses

Dark rooms are best used to show off the objects of desires whether it’s a tub, a set of stairs or the spatial quality of the room.

Stairs. A room to show off a set stairs. Less is more.

A pure white tub against a dark paneled wall. A simple trick, really but effective.

The intricacies of the structure shown by small light sources.

And then, sensuous curves that leave us gasping and wondrous about the  simplistic beauties in life.

Photo sources: click on images for links.

4 thoughts on “The Dark Room

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  2. Pingback: The Decomposition of Our Living Room. | Chris Loves Julia

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