How to Dominate Dark Colors Like a Londoner

published Jun 9, 2017
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(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Londoners aren’t the only people in the world who often use dark, dramatic colors in their home, but they are world-class masters at it. Shadowy shades create a snug, intimate atmosphere in these London homes. But though dark and moody, these homes are anything but gloomy. These Londoners know the secrets to using dark colors successfully — tips that will help you master the mood in your home.

Dark colors belong in the kitchen

All-white kitchens are a common sight. Understandably — white lightens and brightens. Crisp white paint can make an old kitchen look refreshed. It can be affordable to install. And nearly every color goes with white! But dark colors can add drama to a kitchen.

In Jane and Jeremy’s kitchen pictured above, black bottom cabinets mingle with a black tile backsplash that meshes perfectly with a matte black wall. An icy white thin countertop divides the space into two, but both top and bottom are a brilliant blend of black on black on black.

(Image credit: Viv Yapp)

Dark colors can ground

Dark colors can serve well when applied to a room’s floor surface, as exemplified in Eloise and Aine’s East London home. White walls, simple mid-century inspired furniture and brightly colored pop art would be beautiful in any space. But here, the entire room’s design is elevated because of the contrast provided by the dark painted wood floors.

(Image credit: Viv Yapp)

Dark colors can hide flaws

Dark colors don’t just have to be design decision. They can be a tool for covering up physical flaws in your home! In Rhonda Drakeford’s small London rental apartment, she uses black in two big ways.

(Image credit: Viv Yapp)

In her open-plan living room and kitchen, she applied black paint to the damaged old wood floors, adding sophistication to the space. In her falling-apart bathroom, matte black painted on the wall in a geometric shape helps disguise the fact that some of the walls tiles are missing.

(Image credit: Viv Yapp)

Dark colors can establish a cozy atmosphere

It’s not that light-colored room can’t be cozy (because of course they can). But when dark colors are added to a space — even on just one accent wall like in the London living room pictured above — an element of coziness is added. Like dimming the lights, pulling out a throw blanket and making a fire in the fireplace, dark colors can be another tool to use to manipulate the atmosphere of your home.

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Dark colors can modernize

If you’re lucky enough to have architectural elements in your home, you might be tempted to leave them alone. But see how this London homeowner treated his home’s architecture and you might be persuaded to apply dark color to yours.

The wall, fireplace mantel, built-in shelves and built-in storage seating are all painted the same dramatic, deep blue in Andrew’s compact living room, and the effect is multi-fold. The room is instantly modernized, yet the matte color also seems to highlight the elements, as well.

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