7 Easy Ways to Rock the Dark Walls Trend

Image: #TidyLife

In recent years the trend for painting walls in a darker colour has grown and grown. Darker interiors, black walls and even ceilings is a look that takes some pulling off and you’ll need to think carefully if you’re going to get it right. We probably have Abigail Ahern to thank for it; it’s her signature look and she’s made it accessible for many people to give it a go. Having just taken my own living room to a very dark grey (a full reveal is coming soon and sneak peek below), I speak from experience when I say it takes some time to get right, but don’t be put off if it’s what you want, there’s a way to make it work.

If you’re thinking of joining this trend and painting a room in an intensely dark colour, here are some tips to help you along the way.

7 Easy Ways to Rock the Dark Walls Trend:

Image: Swoon Worthy

#1 Don’t Rush

Right, give your plan some thought. Put some testers up on the walls, then scrap them and try some more. See if you can live with looking at this insanely dark colour for hours on end, and sometimes more importantly, can the rest of your family. Believe me, if your other half isn’t keen, find a shade that you can both adore.

#2 Make a Moodboard

Image: Making Spaces

I say this with love, go and make a moodboard! Or at the very least, get your colours together in pictures and lay them out with your room colour before you go and buy ANYTHING. I am the worst at this, always purchasing the odd cushion or two before I’ve got my plans together, and then regretting it. But I’m learning. And have made a few moodboards recently to plan the room makeover properly. Thanks to MartinMark Design and their interior design workshop for putting me on the right path.

#3 Consider the Natural Light

If you’re going to the dark side, you’re going to need a lot of natural light. Maximise what you have because the dark hue will suck it in and eat it for breakfast. You probably want a high-ish ceiling too to ensure the room doesn’t feel like a black box, but to be honest I think you can get around this. Read on for ideas on how.

#4 Personality Counts

I’ve always had light, bright walls. Always. So the transition to something dark was a big deal for me, particularly as I crave light and bright on a daily basis. But I also love a bit of drama and trying new things, so, for me, as long as other rooms in the house offer an antidote to the dark living room, I know I can deal with it. It’s incredibly dark and cosy during the evenings, but I’ve offset that with pieces of bright art and light accents to give it life (above). It’s working. The art you see in the image above is from Lane By Post, a local company who sell all over the world. You can check it out HERE. These twin tone prints come in a variety of combinations, and you can put them together in sets exactly how you’d like. Their quality and stunning design speak for themselves.

#5 Create a Scheme

Image: Paul Craig for Mad About the House

Just painting the walls in a dark shade won’t work, you need a proper scheme. If you’re a lover of the white skirting and ceiling, think carefully about how this is going to look with the rest of the room. Adding a dark blue for example could give it an unnecessary nautical feel which you may want to avoid. (Thank you Karen Knox for that tip!). So think about what you want to do with skirtings and window/door frames. Creating something in the same colour, adding dark skirtings, or even painting the ceiling in a darker shade too will all bring the scheme together and help the room feel more coordinated.

Companies like skirting4u supply custom made skirting boards to fit your room, but more than that, they come ready painted too. So if you’re putting a dark wall scheme together and want complementary skirtings, this is a good option. Hand sprayed in a satin or gloss finish it’s an easy way to finish your look.

#6 Bags of Artificial Light

As I mentioned above in #3, a dark space will eat the light, so in the evenings you’re going to need tonnes of artificial light. And probably no matter what you do, that room is always going to feel ‘dark’. Of course it is, you’ve just painted it pretty much black. But that’s ok. It’s all about ambience and atmosphere with this look, and the dark walls ooze character. Just remember if you need to do any kind of task in a space like this, you’ll need bags of lights. Think wall lights, floor lamps and task lighting.

#7 Offset with Colour

Image: Making Spaces

You might think that adding a large expanse of dark colour to your room will be enough to bring it to life, but it’s going to look very flat and quite depressing if you don’t dress it up a little. Use the dark walls and scheme as a canvas for showcasing things like art and accessories in brighter shades, as well as plenty of greenery. If you think of a colour wheel, use colours on the opposite side to your dark shade to really give your scheme drama, or stick to similar shades to keep it calmer. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to really go for it. After all, dark walls aren’t for the shy and demure, so give your room some real wow factor with bags of colour and personality.


So, do you have dark walls? Is it something you’re considering, or do you hate this look?

I’d love to know your thoughts so drop me a comment below and let me know.

Jen x

Collaborative Post

Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


  1. Kimberly Duran
    July 11, 2017 / 7:55 pm

    Ahh thanks so much for including my bedroom! I think it’s certainly a gorgeous look and you are absolutely spot on about the fact that it does suck up light (naturally) but you can indeed make it work with lots of additional lighting, cool art, textural accents, etc. Lovely post and very informative! xx

    • Jen Stanbrook
      July 12, 2017 / 10:01 am

      Thanks Kimberly, and for letting me showcase your gorgeous room x

  2. Karen - Making Spaces
    July 12, 2017 / 12:15 pm

    Thanks for including two from my gaff Jen! Really great tips here for those people who are thinking of going dark. I’ve just had a client paint a whole room in Off Black, their bedroom in Down Pipe and their hallway in Hague Blue. They’re now addicted! 🙂

  3. Mary
    July 13, 2017 / 9:18 am

    A dark wall is such a daring choice, but it is so very striking! It might take a bit of work, thought, and coordination to pull it off, but when its done right, it really makes for a wildly unique room with a special, brooding kind of atmosphere. Absolutely love it. Thanks very much for sharing!

  4. Linda Campbell
    June 25, 2022 / 8:41 pm

    I love this and I’m going to give it ago, I’m hoping it’ll look as good as yours as your room is very similar to mine, thanks for the idea and encouragement to try such a different colour

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