Dive in to the dark side and drown your walls with deep navy blues, smokey greys, or earthy tones. The result will be a room that cocoons you.
Don’t be afraid of the dark when it comes to interiors. Moody, dramatic shades can create a brooding sense of intrigue and luxe sophistication and are the perfect foil for accent pieces in jewel shades or metallic finishes. And aside from being cocooning, alluring and restful, dark walls are also a great remedy for spaces that don’t receive much natural daylight. Rather than having the effect of brightening a dark room, whites or more colourful shades can end up looking dull and flat if the room is naturally dark or north facing. Instead, welcome smoky and dramatic hues to highlight a cosy nook – or create a dark space that wholly envelopes you. Whether you dip your toe in with a feature wall or blend in the entire backdrop by including the dado, radiators, flooring – and even ceiling – to match, be brave and welcome the dark side.
A velvet fuchsia armchair pops in this moody grey living room.
Get the look: The walls are painted in Down Pipe estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball. The Eames Stool A (aka ‘Time Life’) is available from The Conran Shop. The vintage armchair is upholstered in a Designers Guild velvet; its Varese in Cassis is similar. The Pia tray, in the fireplace, by Rachel Convers for Ibride is available from Made in Design.
Make your ‘fifth wall’ a focus with an off-black painted ceiling. Here, luxe seating is given a clubby feel beneath the dark ceiling, its paint shade highlighting the original Victorian mouldings.
Get the look: The ceiling is painted in Blue Black estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball. The sofa, coffee table and storage cabinet are from Roche Bobois. This is the 45 armchair by Fin Juhl, available at Twentytwentyone.
Layering dark blues will give a sophisticated feel to a space. The velvet sofa is fringed as thickly as a flamenco dancer’s skirt. The abstract painting by Jane Goodwin is echoed in toe-cosseting rugs by Christopher Farr.
Get the look: The walls are painted in Juniper Ash absolute matt emulsion by Little Greene. The sofa is by George Smith, trimmed with a linen fringe by Nicky Haslam. This is the Pigeon print by Hugo Guinness at John Derian. The Baobab table lamp is by Porta Romana. The curtains are made in Raoul for George Smith’s Madras in Delft.
The bespoke library shelving is tongue-in-cheek. The detailing starts plain on the left, then picks up decoration as it wraps around, like a story that gathers momentum.
Get the look: The sofa and chair are from Designers Guild. This is the Borghese coffee table by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance for La Chance. The Split Bright rug is by Paul Smith for The Rug Company. The mirror is French vintage. The prints reflected in the mirror are by David Hockney from Richard Gray Gallery. For a cactus vase like this one, check out The Conran Shop.
Even the door frame and wall skirting have been swept up in moody hues, creating a complete and cohesive look and making the room feel bigger.
Get the look: The wall is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue estate emulsion. The sofa is from the short-lived M&S concept shop Lifestore, re-covered in a John Lewis fabric. The 1820s fireplace was salvaged. The rug is from the Plantation Rug Company at Heal’s.
To prevent the palette feeling oppressive, layers of texture have been woven in, with plenty of reflective surfaces and luxe finishes. Even the ceilings feature bold wallpapers. The original embossed ceiling has darker layers of paint applied on top and is finished with a light-reflecting glaze that looks almost like it’s waxed. The mirrored wall in the living room is actually a wallpaper. The light reflection adds another dimension.
Get the look: The Art Deco Ibex table lamps were bought in the US. This is Antique Mirror wallpaper from the Mariinsky Damask collection at Cole & Son. The sofas are upholstered in Rubelli velvet and faux- alligator-skin fabric from Altfield. The zebra-print fabric used for the cushion is by Abbott & Boyd.
The artwork is by Bob Takes, an artist in Belgium who specialises in steel sculptures. He took a picture of the sea at N13° W80° – a co-ordinate in the Caribbean Sea – and then rendered it in steel. When the light reflects off it at night, it glows and almost looks like it’s on fire. The chairs were picked up in an antiques shop in France and revived.
Get the look: These are original Senior armchairs by Marco Zanuso for Arflex. The rug is from The Rug Company. The unit is by B&B Italia.
Painted floorboards and matching skirting and cornicing frame this earthy hued living space. Original features such as the sash windows, tiled fireplace and original plasterwork help add character to this modern scheme.
Get the look: The armchair was found at The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair and the vintage Danish sideboard is an eBay buy. Above it hangs a print of a Bert & May x Darkroom textile. The coffee table was built by the home owner, who topped it with a vintage Danish gym mat. The fireplace is tiled with Majadas tiles by Bert & May. The rug and cushions are by Larussi. The curtains are made in Bert & May’s Lily and Amaryllis.
Squid Ink by the Paper & Paint Library continues up the ceiling, engulfing you in a calming yet dramatic dark hue. Sumptuous blue velvet chairs and a vibrant red Persian rug add contrasting pops of colour, preventing this space from looking dreary.
Get the look: This is the Cliff Suspension pendant light by Lambert & Fils. Find similar mid-century chairs at Da Silva Antiques. This is the Cesar stool by Minotti. Walls painted in Squid Ink by Paper and Paint Library. Basket, Skandium. The blue throw is by Designers Guild.
An elegant blue makes the art on the walls stand out, and despite being a dramatic colour, it feels surprisingly calm. The space is filled with plump, button-backed blue chairs, swan-necked lamps and fringe-clad sofas. Cobalt ebbs into azure, ultramarine fades into forget-me-not: it’s a palette that, in less confident hands, might feel overwhelming. But here, the effect is bold, glamorous – and as enticing as a deep lagoon on a hot day.
Get the look: The walls are painted in Juniper Ash absolute matt emulsion by Little Greene. The vintage armchair is upholstered in Raoul for George Smith’s Zoe fabric. This is Madeline Weinrib’s Daphne ikat cushion in Blue. The abstract painting is by Jane Goodwin. Katherine found the lamp in a flea market in the South of France.
The fireplace has been lavished with the same grey shade as the walls, highlighting the original detailing. The skull on the wall adds drama while the armchair balances it with a bright and cheerful floral print.
Get the look: An oval mirror from Frame Emporium and an industrial-style bar trolley by Swoon Editions define a cosy living room. Interior by Tiffany Duggan of Duggan Interiors.
The dark, moody tones of this reception room beautifully showcase the carefully curated furniture and accessories.
Get the look: The walls are painted in Down Pipe estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball. The vintage fuchsia armchair is upholstered in a Designers Guild velvet; its Varese in Cassis is similar. The Pia tray, in the fireplace, by Rachel Convers for Ibride is available from Made in Design.
Pinky undertones add warmth to this smokey grey room. Modern shelving and ceiling pendant gives a contemporary edge.
Get the look: The sofa is from Béton Brut. The ladder shelving unit is from French Connection Home. The central light fitting and the wall lamps are fitted with Tala light bulbs from Heal’s.
The dark theme continues up the ceiling which is painted in a matching shade of gloss paint.
Get the look: The juju hat was brought back from the States – find similar at Rockett St George. The woodwork is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Studio Green estate eggshell darkened with black. The Art Deco horse-head lamp base was found in a Parisian flea market.
The feathers of the taxidermy birds glow as brightly as the gilt mirror against the dark grey walls. At night, it looks cosy and in the day, it feels fresh because of the white on the ceiling and floor. Black-and-white monomania is given an adrenaline shot with unexpected colour injections, while details like gilt mirrors, taxidermy peacocks and anatomy prints on the walls honour the era of the property and its original features in a quirky, individual way. The result is a working family home with an industrial edge.
Get the look: The fire surround was created by Decorative Designs. The vintage mirror was inherited. The chandelier is an antiques-shop find. The blue sofa was bought on eBay and reupholstered. The coffee table is by Innes Cole. The taxidermy and prints are either from Dig Haüshizzle in Bristol or were sourced on eBay.
Offset by a daringly dark backdrop, an updated oriental weave pops with pure colour. Anchor with a Persian rug for full effect.
Get the look: Walls painted in Acqua Viva architects matt, £52 for 2.5l, Paint & Paper Library. Woodwork painted in Acqua Viva architects eggshell, £65.50 for 2.5l, Paint & Paper Library. Clarendon display cabinet, £1,199, M&S. Drum stool, £125, plus 1m of fabric and 2m of trim, The Dormy House; upholstered in Larkin FWY8024/02 viscose-mix in Peacock, £85 per m, William Yeoward for Designers Guild; edged with Sabine 977-56041-29 rayon-mix border in Caribe, £19.50 per m, Samuel & Sons. Persian Palace 035 rug, £5,175, Knots Rugs. Swing-arm wall light, £480; with shade laminated in Blue/Green marble wrap, £2.50 per sheet, V&A Shop. Beaumont flared vase, £35, Made.com.
Sanded floor boards and white ceilings balance the smokey blue walls. Little Greene’s Juniper Ash absolute matt emulsion feels simultaneously dramatic and calm.
Shades of lilac and orange punctuate this grey, neutral scheme.
Get the look: This is Drag DR 1216 wallpaper by Farrow & Ball. The Small Snooze sofa is by Ochre. The coffee table is bespoke, made in Belgium from reclaimed flooring.
A Renaissance art print is framed by a moody blue backdrop.
Get the look: The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck canvas is from Surface View. The wall is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue estate emulsion.
Both high- and low-end artwork grace the purple walls. They come from junk shops as well as galleries, creating a deliberate collector’s mix.
Get the look: The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Pelt estate emulsion.
The original details, such as the embossed ceiling in the living room, are dressed in deep tones and the moody palette creates the perfect backdrop for unique finds and offbeat furniture. Hanging on the wall above the original Peacock chair is a stag’s head, which has been mirrored.
Get the look: The ceiling is painted in Brinjal estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball. The Peacock chair was found at an antiques fair. The sheepskin rug is from Bowron Sheepskins. The candleholders, lanterns and illuminated tree are all from Graham and Green.
This room oozes drama, the white ceiling and fire surround accentuating the near-black Chemise estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball. Oddities like the oversized angel, the sitting wood mannequin and large skull make a bold statement and add to the Gothic vibe.
Get the look: The angel statue and Seventies coffee table are both from Pure White Lines. For a similar rug, try French Connection Home. The walls are painted in Chemise estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball.
A painterly palette of hues – ranging from sapphire to cerulean – layered with vivacious prints and patterns sets the tone for this fabulous family home. Deep blue shades are made elegant and welcoming with complimenting velvet upholstered furniture. The mature fiddle leaf fig adds a contrasting pop of vibrant green, while the white ceilings keep the scheme fresh and prevent the space from being too overwhelming.
Get the look: The walls are painted in Juniper Ash absolute matt emulsion by Little Greene. The pouffe is by George Smith. These are Christopher Farr’s Zele rugs. The antique urn is from Josephine Ryan Antiques.