Want Dark Walls? Here's How to Make Them Work

Want Dark Walls? Here's How to Make Them Work

Jennifer Hunter
Jan 23, 2015

Everyone knows that dark and moody doesn't come easy (just think about your last high-drama relationship). But if your heart is set on going dark, we can show you how to decide where and how to paint this high-maintenance (yet high-reward) tone.

Get the right light

Remember the principles of light and dark — light colors will expand a space, dark ones will contract it — and make sure that the color you ultimately choose to use is in line with your goals for the room in general (i.e. don't go dark if you want an open, airy space). Already have a bright, expansive space with plenty of windows? You can afford to soak up some of that light with a dark hue. Or you may decide to shoot the moon and give an already-too-dim room a dark coat of paint to make it seem intentional.

Start with a flawless canvas

The darker the color, the more you'll notice the texture of your wall, so it's especially important to prep properly before starting out. Imagine trying to put lipstick on chapped lips — it makes them look so much worse, right? Don't do that to your walls. Fill each tiny hole and crack and smooth every bump because they will only be magnified once you put your paint on (and then it'll be too late).

Pick the perfect paint

Sure, the color you choose matters but that's only half the battle here. When going for such an inherently dramatic look, the finish of your paint formula is just as important —you know, gloss, semi-gloss, eggshell or matte. Some of it depends on the vibe you want — a matte navy and a glossy navy are just very different looks. Also keep in mind that the glossier your paint finish, the less forgiving it will be to imperfections (you'll notice every flaw) BUT the more durable it will be. See, trade offs. Remember that usually glossier finishes are used in high-traffic rooms like kitchens and baths so where you're doing your painting may help you make this decision as well.

Master your technique

Need we even say it again? Dark colors will amplify every streaky, patchy spot so a professional-quality paint application is a must. Good tools, good technique and lots of patience are essential for painting day success. Need some professional painting tips? You know we have those right here.

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