Behind The Blue Door

Statement Dining | November 13, 2015 |

Dark decor:

Using deep colours to transform your home



When it comes to a sense of mystery and intimacy, rich, deep colours really do have something that lighter, whiter shades lack.

Contrary to the common belief that deep colours will make your room look gothic or gloomy, they can, if done correctly, envelop a room in snug luxury. Whether you’’re seduced by the thought of going full-on noir or you’’re simply considering an Oxford Blue door, these styling techniques will set you on the right track.

Setting the tone

Mastering deep decor takes a certain set of skills – it’’s not just a case of picking out any old dark hue and assuming it will transform the room.

If you’’re plumping for a strong, deep shade, look first at the intensity levels. Black, for example, will only give that cocoon-like warmth if it has soft undertones.

Abigail Ahern’’s signature colour palette has an array of what she describes as “’intoxicating, dark, inky ‘bottom-of-the-lake’ hues’”. For example, the chocolate undertones of her Hudson Black provide a buttery softness.


Smart complements

When dark colours are done right, shades such as inky blacks, dark chocolates and navy blues can bring other elements of a room into focus.

Rather than contrasting white, which can be jarring, try painting woodwork and ceilings in soft browns, such as taupes, caramels and toffees.

Grey is another subtle option to pair with darker shades: when used insightfully, hues from the lilac-tinged to the green-hued sea-greys are far from boring.

Shots of high-voltage colour are also desirable in a dark space. Zingy yellow, for example, can give a space a contemporary, creative feel, while accents of shimmery copper blush bring glamour.

Little Greene has set off this room by expertly complementing a timeless blue-black Basalt shade with pencil grey, taupe and soft salmon. The whole composition makes statement pieces pop and highlights interesting architectural details.


If you’’re not sure about tones and accents, US colour palette creation blog Design Seeds is a great source for intelligent colour inspiration.

Textural overload

To really make the most of rich hues, a medley of textures is a must. Think dark leather upholstery, brass fittings, untreated wood, knotted rugs, tropical botanicals, exposed brick, wicker baskets. Mix old with new; natural with metallic.

Don’’t be afraid to experiment. Throwing your personal expression into a room is the secret ingredient to creating a unique space. Whether this is contemporary artwork, thick ethnic rugs, ornate mirrors or even a contrastingly frilly chandelier – it’’s your own stamp that will make the difference.

When it comes to shapes and patterns, a little will go a long way. Subtle markings on a rug, decorative motifs such as that on Wedgwood’’s Renaissance Gold teapot (£160) and even textured wallpaper will add instant animation to a dark room.


Presence of lighting

Lighting is particularly important in smaller spaces. Oversized lamps, pendants of assorted lengths and smaller touches such as lanterns and a candelabra are crucial for creating a mix of soft, focused lighting. Variety brings the spice here.

Moving a pendant or floor lamp next to a feature mirror or bold furniture can lift pieces to statement level: French Connection’’s spun done floor lamp (£160) adds the gleam of warmth that works well in dark decor.

Gloss finishes and supersized mirrors can also reflect and refract light, adding contrasting textures.



Shop the Story

Complement your dark space with the intricately gilded Renaissance Gold collection. The gilding and neoclassical detailing are the perfect counterpoint to a grown-up, rich decor.

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The Jasper Conran Tisbury collection offers a plethora of informal tableware and home accessories that allow you to mix the collection into your everyday living. The tailored shapes with renowned Jasper Conran precision combine with a resilient porcelain, glass and wood to withstand wear and tear of everyday use. Natural colour styles contribute to an effortless look and feel.

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