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Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Read on if you dare; charcoal walls are not for the faint hearted.  Or so you may think… 

With a frightening ability to suck light from a room and create moody, unwelcoming shadowy spaces, charcoal or ink black walls are often shunned in lieu of trendy, fresh white-on-white surfaces.  However, throw aside black’s doom and gloom stereotype and you’re left with a very dramatic and exciting interior design concept.

Applied simply as a single feature wall and teamed back with bright white furnishings or a hint of soft colour, black walls add an unexpected energy to a room.  Surprisingly suited to both contemporary and traditional spaces, it’s a colour scheme accessible to many.

One of the most daring uses of black wall paint I’ve come across is the Berlin apartment of set designer Sylvester Kozioleks.  With almost every surface from the floor up drenched in inky black, the effect is something like a contemporary art gallery, where furniture and accessories catch the light and emerge from the darkness like actors in the spotlight.

Tried and tested is the stunning Dulux Matt Paint in Dark Secret 05/000, but I’d love to hear other recommendations.  Has anyone tried this look at home?



3 thoughts on “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark


    Yes, I’ve tried it several times at home in a variety of light conditions ranging from blaring bright to light-challenged. I’ve used black, blackberry, dark grey… I don’t agree that dark colours have a frightening ability to suck light from a room and make unwelcoming shadowy places. All the rooms I have painted dark, be they bright or gloomy, have been fantastic to look at and wonderful to live in. Everything in them seems much more interesting than if they were set against white. I’m just about to plunge into indigo, which is a colour I haven’t tried before. Farrow and Ball’s Downpipe is a lovely grey that changes throughout the day. And Porters Paint Chocolate Torte is not, as the name suggests, a dark brown but a red-tinged black – blackberry.

  2. Sue R

    Renovating an apartment with very high ceilings and large sash casement windows, I had Porters Paints make a special colour for me; a midnight blue-black in matte finish. It created an incredible, dramatic effect throughout the rooms it was used – kitchen, lounge and dining, and was beautifully offset by glossy white windows, ceiling, cornices and skirting, and shiny Japan black floorboards. It made all the furniture placed seem special, and conversations at dinner more passionate. It was so individual and stylish…I am thinking of going dark again on my next project.

  3. Beth

    Hi Sue, sounds beautiful and very daring. The most risky projects always have the biggest pay off though, and by the sounds of it, yours was a very stylish success!
    Thanks for sharing,
    Beth, Field Notes

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