4 Paint-Free Ways to Give Your Living Room a Dark and Moody Vibe

published Jun 12, 2021
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Credit: Rikki Snyder

The Small/Cool Experience is a shoppable online home design showcase and social event full of decorating tips and tricks from your favorite designers. Check out the whole virtual experience online and at @apartmenttherapy on Instagram from June 11-13. Thank you to our sponsors BEHR® Paint, Genesis G70, LUMAS, Overstock, Tuft & Needle, Chasing Paper, and Interior Define for making this experience possible.

No matter what your interior inspiration is, a solidify your style. If you’re renting, though, you might not be able to use paint in your space — a bummer, since that’s often the first recommendation any designer will make. But don’t fret! The designers behind the Moody Musings Space from the year’s Small/Cool Experience, Jaclyn Journey and Amanda Jacobs (Journey + Jacobs), have a few style tips to give your space a moody makeover without having to use a single drop of paint on your walls.

Journey + Jacobs’s 120-square-foot Moody Musings space is full of cozy drama. “Dark colors are taking on larger roles in the home, creating an enveloping atmosphere that’s a total #mood,” the design duo says. They created their space’s distinctive look by mixing tons of textures throughout the room and painting the walls a deep, sultry shade of red.

Of course, the pair knows that a dark paint job isn’t doable for everyone, so they have a few tips for amping up the drama in your space if you can’t pull out a paintbrush.

Add color and texture with textiles.

“If you have to go light on the walls, then you can throw in more color and patters in other places,” Jacobs says. For instance, dark velvet curtains will give your space rich color and texture.

Go dark with furniture and rugs.

Go for broke with dark furniture and rugs, which take up a lot of visual real estate in your room and will help bring the moody vibe.

Choose the right lighting.

Overhead lighting is bright and sunny, but for a cozy, romantic look go for something a little softer. Floor lighting and plug-in, renter-friendly sconces both offer a glowy look that’s perfect for a moody yet inviting living room.

Don’t just think about looks.

Journey says that “moody” isn’t just a look, but a feeling, “so add anything else to boost your senses,” she says. Candles and incense are great picks. Not only are they beautiful, but the scents you choose can help contribute to the overall feeling of the space.

Journey adds that music can also set the mood, so a record player is a stylish and functional way to add a conversation piece, decor, and music all in one.

Want more ideas and inspiration for creating a moody space? Check out the conversation between Jaclyn Journey and Amanda Jacobs and Apartment Therapy editor-in-chief Laura Schocker below.