Following up on my earlier article of designing mostly with black or dark grays, another option is to limit the darker colors to just the flooring and/or accent pieces. Accent walls are also a possibility but it really depends on the layout of the room, the direction of the natural light and the function of the wall in question. Dark accent walls are particularly effective in workstation areas because they limit the reflectivity of a lighter wall color when staring at a computer for extended periods of time.
The downside to dark wood floors is that they need to be cleaned frequently. A cerused finish on dark flooring is a great option if you are concerned about maintenence. If you have existing wood floors and do not have the budget to purchase new flooring, they can always be sanded and refinished in a darker color which will completely transform the look of the space.
Why is it that some spaces look gorgeous and elegant with a predominance of darker colors while others look drab, cold, too small or ‘too dark’, more than anything else?
There following are several of the key factors to consider when using black or dark colors in designing a space:
The space needs to be large enough to augment the dark colors with other design elements. If the room is too small it will feel even smaller with a preponderance of dark colors. Sometimes all that is needed is a dark accent wall to stretch a space and make it feel bigger if the room is small.
Lighting is absolutely essential for darker interiors. Cove lighting, chandeliers and glass blown lights are great choices for dark interiors. The right chandelier can add color, warmth and elegance amidst a dark backdrop. If a space is long with a window at one end darker walls will create an even narrower feeling. In this case you would want to put a mirror at one end if possible.
3) Organic elements
To warm up a space with darker colors incorporating natural wood, stone, brass, glass or colorful art is key. Glass refracts light and is perhaps one of the reasons the right chandelier looks amazing in dark interiors. A well placed colorful painting can become more of statement on a dark wall.
The textural consistency of a surface or object will affect how the color displays. The rougher the surface, the darker materials will look because they will absorb light and color. On the other hand shiny surfaces will reflect light and create additional luminance. Certain fabrics such as velvet will cast small shadows within themselves and appear darker than silk fabrics of the same color value and hue.
In general, the closer in light values two elements are, the lesser the contrast produced. A dark piece of furniture such as a chair or table against a lighter background will produce a dramatic effect, but it will not have as much contrast as a lighter object against a darker background. This is often why designers will select iconic lighter pieces in darker interiors.
1.Kelly Wearstler 2. Mim Design 3.Kara Mann 5.Tom Dixon
Selecting the right piece of art for an interior is essential to creating a memorable, iconic space. Artwork can serve as an inspiration and it can be helpful to look at pieces before the design rather than after. A piece of art can serve as a guide to frame the design aesthetic. Many galleries will permit clients to take artwork on approval to see if it works in a space. It’s helpful to be able to “live” with a piece of art for a few days. Often pieces will grow on you or you will like them less over time. It’s a very subjective area as art can look so different in one space, a gallery for instance, versus in your home. Helpful elements to look for is the size, the color, and the mood. Does the artwork feel cold or warm? Serene or angry? Feminine or masculine? Inspiring or transcendant?