What I Wish I’d Known About Choosing Dark Paint Colors

In the last What I Wish I’d Known post I shared my experience (and hard-earned knowledge) about choosing white paint colors. But what about the other end of the spectrum – choosing dark paint colors? I’m so psyched to see dark wall colors gaining popularity. They’re beautiful when done right, and not as scary as you might think.

Just because a wall is painted white does not guarantee that the room will have the bright expansive feeling that’s desired. (Bummer, right?) It’s counterintuitive, but in fact, a deep color can often be a better choice and actually make a space feel larger! While white walls bounce light and feel open and airy, dark colors recede. A deep wall color sits back and blurs the boundaries of a room, creating the illusion of a larger space, especially if the walls and ceiling are painted the same dark hue. I do love dark walls, but there are a few things you should know before committing.

What I Wish I’d Known About Choosing Dark Paint Colors

What I wish I'd known about choosing dark paint colors - tips and tricks from designer Lesley Myrick

There’s always something to learn when you try something new.

My experience painting my master bedroom in Sherwin-Williams Dark Night (my faaaavorite deep peacock blue) definitely taught me a few things about selecting and working with dark colors.

I prefer matte or flat paint for walls

over an eggshell or slightly glossy finish, but it’s a lot trickier painting a dark, matte wall than it looks! The paint store pros actually cautioned me against it.

It took a bit of convincing..

…and several days for them to source the right base paint and have it transferred from a different location before my Dark Night was in hand. Deep paint colors need a special base to tint correctly, and the product I needed was hard to track down.

When I finally got the correct formula, there didn’t seem to be as much forgiveness with the paint, and coverage took more work than with a lighter color or a color with more sheen. Also, while matte paint today is more durable than it once was, there’s a real difference in durability between a medium to light-hued matte paint and a deep, dark hue.

Scuffs, rubs, and water marks (from wiping the walls) do show up a lot more on a dark matte paint than I expected.

Here’s what I wish I’d known about choosing dark paint colors:

Dark paint colors are higher-maintenance, both in application and in day-to-day care. But – it’s totally worth it for the stunning results! The photo above is of my master bedroom and I can’t wait to share the finished space with you. Dark walls transformed this room into a rich and cozy sanctuary and were absolutely the best choice for the space.