Dark and Moody Decor- A Growing Trend

Some decorators believe dark colors create a calming atmosphere.

When Emily Peterson bought her seaside cottage in Cape Neddick, Maine, she decided to replace its coastal colors with darker hues. “The moment we saw the house, I envisioned it being dark,” said Ms. Peterson, who purchased the 1770s home two years ago. She wanted to revive the house with a historical look using deeper colors. House Digest, homesandgardens.com​.

Ms. Peterson, her husband, and their two young children repainted the butter-yellow and powder-blue walls with shady greens and deep blues. homesandgardens.com.

Dark and Moody Decor- A Growing Trend

While bright and vibrant spaces have been popular, a dark interior style is gaining attention. On TikTok, videos showcasing this style receive thousands of likes. On Houzz, a home-decorating site, searches for “moody bedroom” have increased by 142%.

“The rise in dark and moody décor is likely a reaction to the dominance of bright whites and light grays in recent years,” said Mitchell Parker, Houzz’s senior editor. “Homeowners are seeking something different.” House Digest.

In Ms. Peterson’s home, each room now has its own dark shade. The living room’s blackish-green walls, painted with Sherwin-Williams’ Andiron, highlight a green velvet couch and a gallery wall of vintage paintings. The shady walls make furniture and art stand out more than in a bright room. “I want my house to feel like a museum,” she said. Her son’s bedroom, painted with Sherwin-Williams’ Smokehouse, emphasizes its nautical theme.

The new color scheme has a calming effect on Ms. Peterson. “I feel cozy,” she said. “It’s like a warm hug every time you sit in these rooms.”

Dark interiors have a long history. In the Victorian era, rich tones like forest green and dark blue were popular due to technological advancements. Paint became more accessible and stable with synthetic pigments, said Kate Reggev, a historical architect in New York.

Ms. Reggev isn’t surprised that dark interiors remain popular. “Moody, shady interiors create a comforting, enveloping environment,” she said.

In Bluffton, S.C., Jessica Hawks, a business coach, transformed her builder-grade home by painting her bedroom with Farrow & Ball’s London Clay, a deep brown with a burgundy tint. She added wainscoting and vintage furniture to give her home a European feel.

a deep brown with a burgundy tint

Bedrooms are popular for shady colors, but some people choose less-used rooms for bold shades, making them special spots. Jean Stoffer, an interior designer, painted her butler pantry in Grand Rapids, Mich., a custom gray-blue. “When we have parties, people always gather there,” she said. “They love that room.”

Some worry dark colors will make a space feel small, but it often has the opposite effect. “If you paint the ceilings and everything, your eye has nowhere to stop,” Ms. Peterson said. “It actually feels bigger.”

Laura Jenkins, an interior designer, considers lighting when choosing colors. “If a room has beautiful natural light, I make it bright and light,” she said. “If a room is already shady, I lean into the dark and let it be what it wants to be.”

When Emily Peterson bought her seaside cottage in Cape Neddick, Maine, she decided to replace its coastal colors with darker hues. “The moment we saw the house, I envisioned it being dark,” said Ms. Peterson, who purchased the 1770s home two years ago. She wanted to revive the house with a historical look using deeper colors.

Ms. Peterson, her husband, and their two young children repainted the butter-yellow and powder-blue walls with dark greens and deep blues. Each room now has its own deep shade. The living room’s blackish-green walls, painted with Sherwin-Williams’ Andiron, highlight a green velvet couch and a gallery wall of vintage paintings. The dark walls make furniture and art stand out more than in a bright room. “I want my house to feel like a museum,” she said. Her son’s bedroom, painted with Sherwin-Williams’ Smokehouse, emphasizes its nautical theme. The new color scheme has a calming effect on Ms. Peterson. “I feel cozy,” she said. “It’s like a warm hug every time you sit in these rooms.”

moody dark greens and deep blues

Bright and vibrant spaces have been popular, but shady interiors are gaining attention. On TikTok, videos showcasing this style receive thousands of likes. On Houzz, a home-decorating site, searches for “moody bedroom” have increased by 142%. “The rise in dark and moody décor is likely a reaction to the dominance of bright whites and light grays in recent years,” said Mitchell Parker, Houzz’s senior editor. “Homeowners are seeking something different.”

shady interiors have a long history. In the Victorian era, rich tones like forest green and dark blue were popular due to technological advancements. Paint became more accessible and stable with synthetic pigments, said Kate Reggev, a historical architect in New York. Ms. Reggev isn’t surprised that dark interiors remain popular. “Moody, dark interiors create a comforting, enveloping environment,” she said.

In Bluffton, S.C., Jessica Hawks, a business coach, transformed her builder-grade home by painting her bedroom with Farrow & Ball’s London Clay, a deep brown with a burgundy tint. She added wainscoting and vintage furniture to give her home a European feel. Bedrooms are popular for shady colors, but some people choose less-used rooms for bold shades, making them special spots. Jean Stoffer, an interior designer, painted her butler pantry in Grand Rapids, Mich., a custom gray-blue. “When we have parties, people always gather there,” she said. “They love that room.”

Some worry dark colors will make a space feel small, but it often has the opposite effect. “If you paint the ceilings and everything, your eye has nowhere to stop,” Ms. Peterson said. “It actually feels bigger.” Laura Jenkins, an interior designer, considers lighting when choosing colors. “If a room has beautiful natural light, I make it bright and light,” she said. “If a room is already shady, I lean into the dark and let it be what it wants to be.”

The Practical Side of Dark Decor

Dark colors can be practical too. They often hide dirt and stains better than lighter shades, making them a good choice for high-traffic areas or homes with children and pets. Dark hues can also add a sense of luxury and sophistication to a space. When paired with the right lighting and accessories, they can make a room feel both cozy and elegant.

Using Accessories to Enhance Dark Spaces

Accessories play a crucial role in dark and moody interiors. Metallic accents, like gold or brass, can add warmth and a touch of glamour. Textiles in rich fabrics like velvet or silk can enhance the luxurious feel. Art and mirrors can break up large expanses of dark color and add visual interest. In Ms. Peterson’s home, vintage paintings and a green velvet couch create a striking contrast against the dark walls, adding depth and character to the room.

Making the Most of Lighting

Lighting is key in shady interiors. Natural light can balance dark colors, making them feel less overwhelming. For rooms with less natural light, layered lighting solutions can create a cozy atmosphere. This can include a mix of overhead lights, floor lamps, and table lamps. Dimmable lights can offer flexibility, allowing the room’s mood to be adjusted to suit different occasions.

Dark Decor: A Trend with Staying Power

The trend of shady and moody décor is more than just a passing phase. Its historical roots and modern appeal suggest it has staying power. As more people look for ways to make their homes feel unique and personal, dark colors offer a way to create spaces that are both stylish and comforting.

Creating Your Own Dark Oasis

If you’re considering embracing this trend, start with a small space like a powder room or an accent wall. Experiment with different shades and see how they interact with your lighting and furnishings. Remember, the key to successful shady decor is balance. Combine dark walls with lighter elements and a variety of textures to keep the space from feeling too heavy.

Whether you’re drawn to the historical charm of Victorian colors or the sleek sophistication of modern dark hues, there’s a place for shady and moody décor in any home. With the right approach, it can transform a space into a cozy, inviting retreat. House Digest, Homes & Gardens, and Houzz

What Is Dark and Moody Decor?

Dark and moody décor is a sophisticated design trend that embraces deep, rich colors to create a sense of intimacy, comfort, and elegance in living spaces. This aesthetic diverges from the bright, neutral palettes that have dominated home décor in recent years, opting instead for shades like deep blues, shady greens, and blackish tones. These colors are used to envelop a room, enhancing its ambiance and making it feel both cozy and expansive.

Historical Context

Dark interiors have a long history, particularly popular during the Victorian era when advancements in paint technology made vibrant and stable hues accessible. The use of synthetic pigments allowed for a broader range of colors, including the shady, moody shades that became synonymous with luxury and refinement in House Digest.

Modern Appeal

In contemporary design, the resurgence of dark and moody décor is partly a reaction to the overuse of whites and light grays. Homeowners and designers are drawn to the dramatic, calming effects of these hues. Platforms like TikTok and Pinterest show increasing interest in this style, with videos and posts about dark interior designs gaining significant attention at homesandgardens.com.

Design Strategies

Color Drenching

One effective technique in this décor style is color drenching, where walls, ceilings, and even trim are painted the same dark shade. This creates a seamless look that can make a space feel larger and more cohesive. For instance, Emily Peterson, an artist, used blackish-green walls in her living room to set a dramatic backdrop for her furniture and art, making each element stand out in House Digest.

Lighting

Lighting plays a crucial role in dark and moody interiors. Natural light is often complemented with dimmable lamps and ambient lighting to enhance the rich textures and colors. Interior designer, Laura Jenkins recommends leveraging natural light in bright rooms while fully embracing darkness in naturally dim spaces to create a balanced and inviting environment in House Digest.

Psychological Impact

Dark colors are known to have a calming effect, creating a cozy, “hug-like” atmosphere. This can be particularly beneficial in spaces meant for relaxation, such as bedrooms or living rooms. The enveloping nature of shady hues helps in crafting an intimate setting that can also feel luxurious and sophisticated.

Versatility

Dark and moody décor is versatile and suitable for various rooms and styles. Whether it’s a living room, bedroom, or a less-visited space like a butler pantry, dark colors can transform these areas into standout features of a home. Jean Stoffer, an interior designer, used a custom gray-blue in her butler pantry, making it a popular gathering spot during parties.

Conclusion

Embracing dark and moody décor involves more than just painting walls; it’s about creating an ambiance that combines history, modern trends, and psychological comfort. By carefully selecting colors, using strategic lighting, and understanding the effects of these choices, homeowners can transform their spaces into sophisticated, cozy retreats.

For further insights and inspiration, explore articles on platforms like House Digest, Homes & Gardens, and Houzz.

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