How dark paints are hot tones for your home this year


By AGENCY

A bedroom with a deep indigo ceiling goes well with a soft velvet pillow and Eskayel’s Galileo Glass wallpaper. Photo: Stephanie Studer/LifeCreated/AP

Dark hues have a bad rap as gloomy and depressing.

More likely, they’re bringing home the good vibes, all year long.

For Apartment Therapy’s 2024 State of Home Design report, editors tallied 131 design experts who said “moodiness” will be one of the year’s hot vibes.

Pros say darker hues are more likely to create resonant atmospheres like cosiness, stylish ambience and even a little drama to keep things interesting.

Rooms with these colours aren’t boring, nor are they over-stimulating. They envelop and embrace.

“Moody hues are more than just visual,” says designer Noz Nozawa. “They’re storytellers, deeply evocative, emotional and often very nostalgic.”

She thinks people don’t give dark hues enough credit for their versatility, and points out how well they go with different woods, metals and brighter hues.

“I often like to use them as a grounding point – they anchor a room, and then all the other textures and elements in a space can harmonise around them,” she says.The interplay between moody hues and natural light adds layers to this space. Photo: Urbanology Designs/APThe interplay between moody hues and natural light adds layers to this space. Photo: Urbanology Designs/AP

Try it yourself, Nozawa says, by holding a moody colour swatch next to different woods and metals.

“The swatch will complement in a way that’s warm and comforting, not gloomy or heavy,” she says.

Tasked with choosing BlueStar’s 2023 Colour of the Year for their appliance collection, she went with a deep, fruity Wine Red, which pairs well with different finishes and might remind you of a cosy evening sharing a glass with friends.

“Here in the Pacific Northwest, about two-thirds of our days are moody,” says Peter Spalding of the interior furnishings marketplace Daniel House Club in Portland, Oregon, the United States.

“To cope, we drink a lot of coffee and buy tactical gear instead of fancy dress,” he laughs.

“You’d think brightly coloured interiors would be sure-fire medicine too, but actually some of the cosiest interiors I’ve done here have been in moody greens, blues and greys.”

He’s not a fan of cool greys, especially in the Northwest’s dreary light.

“But a warm French grey is another thing entirely.

“It’s sort of creamy, with green undertones, and creates a cocoon that no one wants to leave,” Spalding says.This stylish space is painted in a dark, warm purple-red that was inspired by Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and the colour of the lobby boy’s uniform. Photo: frenchCalifornia/Douglas Friedman/APThis stylish space is painted in a dark, warm purple-red that was inspired by Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and the colour of the lobby boy’s uniform. Photo: frenchCalifornia/Douglas Friedman/AP

That chameleon quality, where a colour shifts slightly depending on the light, is what you’re after, he says.

Besides dove grey, Spalding favours deep russet and dark forest hues.

“They can glow in the sun, or create a cosy envelope when it’s grey outside.”

Jennifer Verruto of Blythe Interiors in San Diego, California likes how these hues make a space feel settled and warm.

“Forget the idea that dark colours turn rooms into caves of doom. It’s time to embrace the moody vibes!

“They have an energy. A room wrapped in a dark, dramatic colour can actually provide an uplifting, invigorating feeling,” she says.The richness of moody colours is what carries this family room. Photo: SENCreative/Lauren Andersen/APThe richness of moody colours is what carries this family room. Photo: SENCreative/Lauren Andersen/AP

She advises counterbalancing any potential heaviness.

Position mirrors to bounce light around. Bring in lighter furniture, rugs and decor.

Use warm woods and nature-inspired motifs for a comforting, organic vibe.

Some of her favourite paints: Sherwin-Williams’ Iron Ore, Gale Force and Pewter Green.

Deep blue could remind you of an oceanside vacation.

Mossy greens might evoke a favourite woodland hike.

Mineral hues like citrine, garnet, iron and copper also have that earthy connection.

Brad Ramsey, who has his own interior design firm in Nashville, Tennessee loves to create a “jewel box” space.

“By taking a moody hue and colour- drenching the walls, drapery, even the ceiling, you get this cocoon-like feel,” he says.

A study, dining room or den in a larger home can, when made darker, work well as an intimate social space, or a retreat for some quiet “me” time, he says.In this kitchen, the cabinets were painted Sherwin-Williams’ Iron Ore. Brushed metallic taps, hardware and range hood, and an artful backsplash, add atmosphere and interest to the vignette. Photo: Hoedemaker Pfeiffer/Haris Kenjar/APIn this kitchen, the cabinets were painted Sherwin-Williams’ Iron Ore. Brushed metallic taps, hardware and range hood, and an artful backsplash, add atmosphere and interest to the vignette. Photo: Hoedemaker Pfeiffer/Haris Kenjar/AP

Some of the imaginative names for these paint colours are as much fun as the hues themselves.

Dock Blue, Basalt, Goblin, Adventurer and Jewel Beetle are all to be found at British paint maker Little Greene, which has branched into the North American market now.

Backdrop’s founder Natalie Ebel says she wants to evoke a place or a feeling with the paint names.

Masterpiece Theater is their first brown, with olive and a little yellow in it.

“It’s a colour that really lends an atmosphere to a space, like a period drama for your walls,” she says.

Backdrop has even developed an accompanying playlist, which includes some Verdi, Rossini, Bizet and Hans Zimmer.

Their warm-purple red called Lobby Scene was inspired by Wes Anderson’s movie The Grand Budapest Hotel.

And a deep olive green is among the company’s most popular paints.

Its name: Night on Earth. – AP


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