Monday, September 20, 2010

Design Tips: Don't be afraid of dark paint!



You’ve heard the rule: “Light paint makes a room look bigger, dark paint makes it look smaller.” Which can be true.

If the room is empty.

It’s not scary at all. Dark paint can make a room so much warmer and cozy. It can also unify a range of pieces –furniture, accessories and colors, whereas very light walls make each piece stand out individually. Which is desirable if you are a museum, where each piece deserves such distinction. But if your house is anything like mine, some pieces are nice, most are just OK and don’t deserve the attention. It’s more important to tie them all together.

Dark paint makes a room look lived in and rich—a hue-tastic hug, a dramatic bold atmosphere. It’s not cold and sterile. When was the last time you ever remembered a dramatic white room?

You won’t fool anyone into thinking a tiny powder bathroom is anything but tiny, so why not turn it into a stunner with a rich deep burgundy, eggplant, chocolate brown or even black. Don’t stop with the walls, either—paint the ceiling, too.

Dark paint can also be a virtual remodel. Perhaps your living room’s shape is just a little too square and you wish it was longer. Paint one or both the walls on the side(s) you wish would be further away. Instant remodel… dark walls appear to recede. Thus making the room look… bigger!

A couple of things to consider, however: what is the mood you are trying to set? What is the function? How big is it? Social rooms, such as dining rooms, living rooms, and bar areas are good candidates for a dark coat of paint. So are powder baths, and bathrooms, too. Theater rooms of course. And bedrooms, too, especially if they get a lot of morning sun, can turn into a cozy retreat.

Hardworking rooms such as kitchens, offices, laundries, craft or sewing rooms might be less successful in a coat of dark paint, unless the lighting is very good at the perimeter (recessed cans at the edges of the room remedy this) and there is good task lighting. Or if the cabinetry is light to offset the darkness.

Be sure to accent the darkness with light furnishings, shiny, sparkly and reflective accessories and other bright colors to avoid a complete cave effect.

Choose a paint with more sheen than you would typically use, such as a satin or even semi-gloss (if the room doesn’t get a lot of bright sunlight) rather than a flat or eggshell finish.

And use a tinted primer, so you won’t need to use so many coats of paint to get an even finish. For best results, talk with your paint sales person. There may be a particular grade of paint they sell that is more suitable for dark colors.

Be brave, experiment. Break a rule. And console yourself: if after it’s all done, dried and your drop cloths put away, you truly hate it, you can always repaint. Just be sure to finish the job, put everything all back together before passing judgment. Otherwise you’ll be comparing it to the old color (and your new paint will look impossibly dark) and every fiber of your being will want to revert to your comfort zone. And remember, whatever you do, don’t look back!


Until next time!

--Elaine Bothe


Photos courtesy of www.PointClickHome.

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 12:01 AM 

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