What’s Better…Dark or Light Paint Colors?

It’s tricky knowing whether you should play it safe with paint colors (or even sofa colors), or be more bold with your walls. What’s better…dark or light paint colors? Well, it depends on the room. And lighting. And some other stuff. Here are my thoughts on choosing light or dark paint colors for your walls:


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I hope that this video answers some of the pressing questions you’ve had about paint colors! I get asked all the time, “Should I paint my walls a dark color?” Dark colors are really “in” right now, and I think it’s awesome. I love to see stuff that’s rich and lush and just full of color saturating walls. But – it’s not always the best idea. So let’s talk a little bit about dark walls – when they work, and when they should be avoided.

So, a common misconception is that white and light paint colors equal bright and light in a room, and that’s not true. You can paint a room white and if it doesn’t get great lighting it’s going to look dingy and dull and sad. And by contrast, a dark paint color doesn’t have to mean a room that feels dark and gloomy. In fact, the right dark paint color in the right room can feel rich and warm and comforting and inviting – and can actually be a better option than a light color.

As you probably already guessed, the key to painting a room with a dark color is great lighting. Now, if you have great natural light, awesome! You are in business and you’ve got a great starting point. But what if you don’t have great natural light but still want a room that has that coziness and that depth and that richness, but doesn’t feel like a cave? Well in that case, you need to add the right lighting.

There are three types of lighting for a room: ambient, which is the main lighting; task lighting, which is specific to doing a task; and then there’s accent lighting, like table lamps, that give a beautiful warm glow but aren’t illuminating the whole room. For a dark paint color to work successfully it’s really important for all three types of lighting to be working in conjunction in a room. Most rooms have some sort of ambient lighting whether it’s pot lights or a ceiling fixture, but it’s the accent lighting I find gets missed a lot.

I’ll also mention that dark paint colors tend to work better in smaller, enclosed rooms – so, a bedroom or powder room. In really large rooms or open plan homes where you can see multiple rooms from one vantage point, a dark color isn’t often the best choice.

I’d love to hear if you’ve been brave enough to go with a dark wall. How did you like it? Leave a comment on YouTube below this video – I would love to hear from you.

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