5 things people who decorate with dark colors do to make their homes feel more expensive

Designers reveal the secret to elevating a moody color palette for an upscale finish

dark blue living room with blue velvet sofa by Ryan Street
(Image credit: Ryan Street Architects/Reagen Taylor)

Fans of decorating with dark colors will know that rich, saturated hues can create cozy, inviting spaces that can at once pair moody drama with relaxation.

But what can you do add the luxe factor to dark-colored rooms? Whether you're working with dark colors in a bedroom or living room, there's a number of designer-approved tricks you can employ to elevate a dark space.

We tapped a host of designers to share their expert insight into elevating dark paint ideas

1. Use different textures in the scheme

dark powder room by LH Designs

(Image credit: LH. Designs/Lauren Taylor)

If you're a dark paint decorator, there are a number of things to keep in mind that will help to create a particularly luxe finish.

First of all, introducing textures of the same or similar hue will ensure the space doesn't fall flat, and add depth and dimension. 

'When using dark or rich saturated colors, make sure to have different layers of the hue with textures weaved into the space,' suggests Linda Hayslett of LH.Designs.

'By creating interest with different textures, a dark space becomes more luxe and subtle design choices elevate the look.

 'For instance, use a textured paper for all the walls in a small powder room (as seen above), to give the space a luxe feel as opposed to just painting it all black,' she continues. 'Then add in other subtle grays that fall within the same hue as the paper.'

Ginger Curtis, CEO and founder of Urbanology Designs, agrees that texture and tactility is important for creating a designer-worthy finish. 'Elevate the tactile experience by incorporating a variety of textures - velvet, silk, or faux fur in dark upholstery not only feel luxurious to the touch but also contribute to a dynamic visual appeal when combined with matte and glossy finishes,' she says. 

2. Layer your dark colors

dark bedroom with floral wallpaper by LH Designs

(Image credit: LH. Designs/Lauren Taylor)

Dark bedroom ideas can create a cozy, sleek boudoir aesthetic that's cosseting as well as luxe. 

Enhance the upscale aesthetic by introducing more than one hue into the space. This can be through printed wallpaper, through soft furnishings or, as in the bedroom above, via a statement headboard.

'Having pops of color that stand out can make a dark colored room feel luxe, warm and cozy,' says LH. Designs' Linda Hayslett. 

'Even adding other dark, rich colors to the room, enhances the luxe feel. The most important thing is to layer the dark colors in the room so that your eyes have interesting things to look at while processing the flow throughout the space.'

3. Introduce artwork into the space

blue dining room with bold artwork by DATE Interiors

(Image credit: DATE Interiors/Seth Caplan)

Art is often particularly successful when set against a dark backdrop, and is always a great way to make any space feel more luxe.

'Dark colored walls are the perfect backdrop for interesting pieces of art, like this framed vintage Hermès scarf,' says Molly Torres Portnof of DATE Interiors. 'Art, lighting and furniture tend to pop and look cooler when placed against a dark, moody wall.'

'Artwork holds transformative power; opt for vibrant, bold pieces with pops of bright hues for a striking contrast against the dark backdrop, or go for monochromatic art framed in white for a sophisticated and moody ambiance,' Ginger Curtis agrees. 

dark blue home office by Devon Grace Interiors

(Image credit: Devon Grace Interiors/Dustin Halleck)

4. Add upscale materials for fixtures and fittings

dark powder room with printed wallpaper by Urbanology

(Image credit: Urbanology/Matti Gresham)

'Incorporating brass and gold elements into your dark interiors infuses warmth and sophistication,' says Urbanology Design's Ginger Curtis. 

'Whether it's in the form of fixtures, hardware, or furniture accents, these metallic finishes elevate the space, adding a luxurious touch that catches the eye.'

The dark powder room above is elevated by the gold finishes, and also shows how important texture is in the space, something we touched on earlier.

Devon Wegman, founder and Design Director of Devon Grace Interiors, says: 'When going dark, incorporate tons of texture in the space, such as a tiled wall or organic wallcovering. You can then play with lighting effects to highlight the texture and add even more depth to the room. Our favorite way to do this is by backlighting a mirror against a textured wall in a powder room.'

Another material that will always elevate any space is marble. Ginger Curtis adds: . 'Choose marble to bring timeless luxury into play, whether it's a stunning sink in a dark powder room or a marble backsplash in a dark kitchen; the juxtaposition of the dark background and the graceful veining of marble creates a visually enchanting effect.

5. Invest in statement lighting

dark living room with statement lighting by Urbanology Designs

(Image credit: Urbanology Designs/Matti Gresham)

Statement lighting can really add extra drama to a space as well as a design-driven element.

An oversized sculptural pendant, as seen in the living room lighting idea by Urbanology Designs above, can add that extra touch of luxe to a room, particularly if it features metallic finishes like gold or brass.

'When designing a dark room, lighting becomes key in adding drama, warmth and texture to the space,' says Devon Wegman. 'Against a dark ceiling, a bold brass light fixture adds an impressive contrast and really pops adding even more drama to the space.'

And Ginger Curtis adds:  'Illuminate the space with sculptural or oversized lighting fixtures that not only provide functional lighting but also double as captivating works of art - be it pendant lights, chandeliers, or floor lamps, let them make a bold statement.'

How can I brighten my dark interior room?

You can brighten a dark room by introducing contrasting lighter-colored furniture that pops against the deep background.

Ginger Curtis comments: 'Strategically introduce lighter elements, such as light-colored furniture, rugs, or textiles, to avoid an overly dark and heavy feel, thereby enhancing the richness of the dark tones.'

dark home office with white furnishings by Urbanology Designs

(Image credit: Urbanology Designs/Matti Gresham)

Ruth Doherty is a lifestyle journalist based in London. An experienced freelance digital writer and editor, she is known for covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, as well as titles like Prima and Red. Outside of work, her biggest loves are endless cups of tea, almond croissants, shopping for clothes she doesn’t need, and booking holidays she does.