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Dark Colors in Small Spaces? Yes You Can! (Here’s How)

Exotic prints and eclectic accessories brighten dark colors in a living room. Image: Ethan Allen

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Small rooms can be a decorating challenge, and we often reach for light colors in hopes of making the room look larger. However, a light color palette isn’t the only way to decorate a small space, and it doesn’t always make a room look larger. Don’t be afraid to use dark colors in even the smallest rooms of your home. With a few easy tips, your small spaces can handle a dark color palette.

Your powder room is the perfect spot for dark colors

Powder rooms may be small, but they can pack a big decorating punch. Your powder room or guest bath is used less often, so it can take more color and daring accessories. No amount of light paint that will hide the fact that these spaces are tiny. This is great news, as it means you can decorate however you like.

Gray powder room

Gold metallic accents add luster to a charcoal-gray powder room. Image: Eurodale Development

Add drama to your foyer

Use a dark color palette to give your guests a big welcome in your small foyer. Most foyers and entry halls open up to other rooms, so your adjacent rooms will balance dark colors. If you’re not ready to jump into a totally dark color palette in your foyer, an accent wall or even your ceiling make good surfaces for deep colors.

foyer with accent wall

If you’re not ready to commit to lots of dark colors in your foyer, a dramatic accent wall may be the answer. Image: Design West

Purple foyer

Dark purple walls are the perfect backdrop for bold stripes and gold accents. Image: JDS Designs

Make your formal dining room an everyday space with color

Formal dining rooms may not see everyday use, as busy lives often necessitate casual mealtimes. That said, a new color palette and furnishings can make your dining room the most-used space in your house. Deep wall color with light upholstery and accents is a classic combination, but it doesn’t have to be stuffy. Choose modern lighting and accessories for an updated look.

gray living room

Natural light is an asset for a dark dining room, illuminating your accessories and fixtures. Image: Ethan Allen

navy blue dining room

Crisp white dining chairs balance the rich blue of these dining room walls. Image: Adam Gibson Design

Choose dark colors for your bedroom

There are so many ways to use dark colors in a small bedroom. Other than your walls, your bed and bedding are the largest surface areas in the room. If you love the look of dark paint but fear it will overwhelm the room, light-colored bedding and window treatments even things out. Of course, there is no rule that says bedrooms have to be light and bright, especially as a space for sleeping. To pair dark wall color with dark bedding, choose bed linens and window treatments with texture or patterns. Too many solid dark colors can quickly turn a relaxing space into a cave.

Gray bedroom idea

White bedding and innovative plant shelves soften a dark bedroom. Image: i3 Design

Plaid bedroom accents

Clever plaid wallpaper makes a welcoming backdrop for a black headboard. Image: Boutique Homes

Turn a living room from cave to cozy

We love the look of a cozy living room, so don’t be shy about decorating with dark colors. There are ways to create a harmonious balance between dark and light in these often-used spaces. For instance, paint your ceilings and trim white, or use pops of bright color in accessories and artwork to create a bridge between the two extremes. The right lighting is important for your living room, so look for fixtures that are airy and light.

brown living room

Metallic accents and wall texture brighten up a brown living room. Image: Anthony Michael Interior Design

Contrary to popular belief, there are many ways to make dark colors work in small areas — everything from using accent pieces to employing unusual texture. Which rooms will you be transforming with dark colors? Tell us about it in the comments.

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