Those of us at StyleBlueprint have yet to meet an all-white room we don’t love. Because really, is there any space that isn’t better with white subway tile? We don’t think so. But we can’t quit thinking about some recent spaces that make us want to embrace our dark side.
So we sat down with Sean Anderson, of Sean Anderson Design, to shed some light (pun intended!) on why we shouldn’t be afraid of the dark.
According to Sean, the trick to going dark is to know the purpose for the space. Dark walls provide a moody atmosphere and lend themselves to intimate spaces. Dark rooms also serve as a showcase for the room’s accessories and help highlight treasured art collections, unique memorabilia and more. Plus, there is, of course, the “wow!” factor. Sean’s recent designs show us that when used in the right way and in the right room, dark elements add the perfect touch of mood and mystery to any home.
In this 100-year-old home, the owner wanted a bedroom that was masculine and sophisticated, but that stayed true to the age of the home. Sean took a year gathering furnishings that included a collection of antique mirrors, old photographs and maps, vintage trunks and more. These items all fit in with the home’s original character, almost as if they had been there all along.
For the wall and ceiling color, he chose Surrey by Ralph Lauren. This charcoal-like color added a rich element that played off of the décor, but also added practicality. The homeowner loves to sleep late, and the dark color helps keep out that early morning light.
Cutting-edge technology needs a cutting-edge space; Flow Cryotherapy offers treatments to promote healing and pain management through the use of cryotherapy tanks. Here, Sean used concrete floors, dark walls and modern furnishings to mimic the company’s forward-thinking health benefits, resulting in a chic, minimalist space perfectly suited for its many visitors.
Traditional with a twist
In this traditional East Memphis home, the library got an edgy update with a deep gray-green color by Ralph Lauren called Warwick Lodge. With rich bookcases full of the client’s favorite words, this space invites all who enter to curl up with a good book. The room also serves as a men’s sitting room, and the rich, earthy colors provide the perfect backdrop for after-dinner drinks.
In this formal dining room, the client wanted a space to host large dinner parties for family and friends, but wanted the room to feel intimate and romantic, almost like a dimly lit restaurant. Using a rich brown by Restoration Hardware called Chocolate on the walls, trim and ceiling, Sean created that moody, yet inviting, atmosphere where guests feel truly privileged to be included.
Moody man cave
In this man cave/media room, the client wanted to highlight his impressive deer collection. The planking on the walls adds a rustic, cabin-like element to the room, and the dark color, Broadway, by Behr, helped to highlight the deer collection, as well as provide the perfect backdrop for watching movies and sports. Sean added softer touches with the light-colored upholstered seating and organic, natural elements to round out the room.
In this room, the nature-loving homeowners wanted a natural retreat that balanced with the gorgeous view of the outside. The darker scheme creates a soothing atmosphere, helping the busy clients get the rest they need. In addition, by using the same Chocolate color by Restoration Hardware on the walls, trim and ceiling, Sean made the somewhat large space feel intimate and cozy.
Of course, not everyone is ready to embrace their dark side. But even if you aren’t ready to paint an entire room charcoal gray, a dark element can give a room depth and weight.
In Sean’s own living room, the walls, trim and ceiling were all painted white. The rug and upholstered furniture were also all varying shades of white and light-colored neutrals. To add depth and dimension, Sean added antique wooden doors painted black along the back wall. This pop of dark gave the all-white living room the just right edge it needed, while the old doors gave the room a classic feel.
So, whether you have a flare for the dramatic or just want to add a focal point to your room, don’t be afraid of the dark. The beauty of adding just a hint of midnight or charcoal — whether on the walls or in an accent piece — is that it can feel both classic and contemporary, elevating the design of a room and adding much-needed character to any space.
Our thanks to Julie Wage Ross for her photos of these beautiful dark spaces.
Want to check out more beautiful Memphis homes? Click here to be inspired.