Using Dark Paint Colors to Add Contrast and Personality to Your Decor!

Using Dark Paint Colors to Add Contrast and Personality to Your Decor!

Homes & Gardens via House to Home

I love contrasts and touches of deep paint colors in decorating! I know many people are into monochromatic paint schemes, and using all light tones for a softer airier look. But I really love the dramatic effect of pairing whites and light colors with touches of dark tones! For me, mixing things up with deeper shades of painted walls or accessories can bring a lot of personality to a space!

Are you wondering how to add your own personal stamp of style to your home? Paint color is a great place to start! Today I’ve assembled some fabulous inspiration photos and we are going to talk about ways to add a bit of chic flair to your house simply with darker paint! It is easy to do, no matter what your style of house or budget!

This post is brought to you by Lowe’s. Find inspiration and encouragement as you plan, begin and complete do-it-yourself projects at Lowe’s Home  101. The views and insights shared in this post are my own. The content for this post was produced strictly by The Inspired Room.


Using Dark Paint Colors to Add Contrast and Personality to Your Decor!

House Beautiful

Now let’s dispel this decorating myth right away. Dark paint in a room doesn’t have to mean dreary or depressing! No way!

You can still have that essentially all white room and then shock your eyes with red chairs and accessories. Oh my, how I love the pop of deep rich red in this all white room!


Using Dark Paint Colors to Add Contrast and Personality to Your Decor!House Beautiful

If you are fortunate enough to have beautiful white trim, using a gorgeous deep shade of green paired with the white makes the walls recede and the white POP! POP! POP! Such a fresh and pretty color scheme!

Also, look at the above photo to the adjoining room. See the painted black door and windows? That is another fabulous way to bring a super chic look to your space! You can use black paint to add more architectural personality to even boring white builders doors! You aren’t stuck with what you have, a little bit of paint can completely change the vibe of your room!

Using Dark Paint Colors to Add Contrast and Personality to Your Decor!

Or if you don’t like black, how about painting your doors dark red like at Sarah’s House? (HGTV)! You know I love that!  Even if you prefer lighter neutral walls, a pop of color on the doors can really make an amazing style statement for very little money.

Using Dark Paint Colors to Add Contrast and Personality to Your Decor!

House Beautiful

So do you have crazy angles in your space? No worries! Enveloping your room with a dark solid color on both the walls and the ceiling will give it warmth and make the most of its unique personality!

Using Dark Paint Colors to Add Contrast and Personality to Your Decor!

House Beautiful Bee Cottage

Want to mix in more light with your dark paint? One word: stripes. Oh my heavens. I do love a striped room. Stripes bring amazing depth to a space. Have I told you my husband painted stripes in my girls’ rooms when they were little? Yeah, we were WAY ahead of the stripe trend. Stripes made those tiny bedrooms feel twice as big! Yes, they do take some time to do right, but the results can’t be beat!

Using Dark Paint Colors to Add Contrast and Personality to Your Decor!House to Home

You don’t have to stick with dark solids or stripes to liven up your space, you can pair a nice deep gold wall paint with glorious little stenciled flowers to give it the look of wallpaper.  This room is both light, cozy AND lively! Love that combination created with contrast!

Using Dark Paint Colors to Add Contrast and Personality to Your Decor!House to Home

If you have all neutral walls but just feel like your room needs a little something more, use a darker paint to stencil a charming design here and there. It doesn’t take much dark paint against the light to make a fun and unique statement! Isn’t that leaf motif fun? I really like that!


Using Dark Paint Colors to Add Contrast and Personality to Your Decor!Living Etc. via House to Home


Or if you are a real rebel, you can go all crazy with black and paint your whole room, or at least one wall. This bedroom is amazing, and that tub is pretty cool in black as well. The architecture helps, of course, but black and white always create drama when you use them together.

Using Dark Paint Colors to Add Contrast and Personality to Your Decor!

If you prefer to put your dark colors on an accent piece rather than on the walls, a simple painted black table or black accessories are ALWAYS a chic statement.

Using Dark Paint Colors to Add Contrast and Personality to Your Decor!

Living Etc. via House to Home

Two houses ago, I had a powder room with walls that were exactly the orange color of the room above. I adored the combination of the white with the dark orange wall. Swoon, I love orange almost as much as I love yellow these days! I guess I just love color, period.

So, do you follow the old decorating advice “Every room needs a touch of black?” (or red….or yellow…)?

I looked around my house and I sure follow that principle!

Using Dark Paint Colors to Add Contrast and Personality to Your Decor!


  1. Lisa Hankins says:

    Thank you for posting this! All those white rooms in blogland are beautiful to look at but I could never live in them. I need color like I need oxygen! These are fantastic ideas and I will be implementing the painted doors and pops of color in my home. My daughter wants a feature wall in her dining room and that will be her pop, a gorgeous blue! and stripes, we gotta stripe something at her home too! I appreciate you posting this for the rest of us who would be lost without color in our homes!

  2. Love it!! We had a deep blue kitchen in our last house and I loved it!!! Don’t fear the color!!!

  3. I’m a huge fan of dark floors and light walls, but the best use of dark wall color is in a bathrooms that had black walls and all white woodwork, cabinetry, mirror frames and a light floor. I was in love… No fear! It’s only paint…

  4. the cottage child says:

    I love whites and neutrals, but I think they need depth to keep them from being stagnant. I don’t use a lot of color – faded blues and greens, red that’s almost gone pink here and there, but I love using deep dusty charcoal brown, zinc, etc – and I love a black door!

  5. I find myself using pops of bright color more and more in my decor. Like a bright orange dresser for storage in a light blue room, or “green apple” colored frames and a lamp in that same room.

    Most importantly, I do what I LIKE!

  6. THANK YOU< Melissa!!! I think you are soo right. I love pairing the two! :) Those red chairs and the white back drop…:) Be. still. my. heart! ;) Even the burnt barn red door and beige entry…Love!

    Xoxo, Meme

  7. I absolutely adore that photo with the dark red door. Funny thing- I painted my door to the garage a deep red color about seven years ago. I loved it then and I still love it now BUT I’ve gotten so many comments from people on it over the years- some love it and others wonder what the *bleep* I was thinking when I painted it red. LOL! It was one of the first things I painted in our new-all-stark-white house.

    I’d love it if you did a post on colors that go with different colors of wood trim (there’s the orangey oak trim, brown-hued wood trim, yellowy wood tones, etc). I’ve got wood trim that’s more in the orange-y wood tones and I’d love to figure out what shades work well (to tone DOWN the orangeness of the wood). I know white woodwork is very popular and very nice but I’m NOT going to paint all my woodwork. I’ve tried doing a Google search but I’m honestly not finding a lot out there on paint colors to use with different tones of wood work.

    • We’ve got that same color of woodwork and it has been a challenge to find paint colors that work with it. Sometimes you just gotta experiment.I’d love to have white woodwork too but like you, do not want to paint all our woodwork. Toooo much work! I found a very, very soft yellow works quite well on the walls…or a creamy off-white. The tones of the wood are still there, but at least they don’t seem to stand out as much. Kudos for painting that door red too!

  8. I love the black bathroom! Might be too chicken to do it my self, but WOW!

  9. I am a color junkie!

    We have wonderful white trim in our home – my husband made it all – and great colors on the walls…yellow in our open living room/kitchen – green in the hallway, red in the bathroom, etc…we love it!

  10. I always loved a little black in every room….wrought iron light fixtures, frames, candle holders….now that I’m into a very neutral backdrop in my house, the black and punches of color really pop! I couldn’t do the all-white look either, despite the fact that I adore it in other people’s houses!

  11. Franki Parde says:

    You touched my “color soul!” The photos are indeed, “Inspired Rooms!” THANK YOU! franki

  12. Whew. I was about to have a panic attack this morning because we painted our living and kitchen area a dark, dark gray. Thanks for the encouragement!

  13. Very pretty. I love black accents in a room. Especially when paired with gold! So chic!

  14. Yup! I do have a touch of black accent piece in nearly every room. But after 3 excessively long and cold winters, I’m looking for lots of opportunities to bring more light and airiness into our house. The kitchen just got a mini re-do with a warm white paint color. So now as the seasons change, the accent colors will be easier to change as well. Right now it’s a soft pink for spring/summer and our little granddaughter!

  15. Wonderful post, Melissa! So true – people tend to be afraid of color. I’ve been on a turquoise bent lately. Like the last 3 years, ha! But I love the ‘summer’ feeling of it. That being said, I can appreciate pops of orange, or lime green, and, yes, always, always black!

  16. Yep, I’m a girl who likes color too. I’m actually sad to see people aren’t painting walls deep reds anymore. I like the cool blues and greens, but warmer saturated colors speak to my heart. Don’t follow the trends, just because you see things in “blog-land”. Your family lives in your home, use what YOU like! This following is one trend I can do without, thankyouverymuch. I for one can’t s t a n d gray paint. Don’t understand why someone would want gray paint instead of a nice warm neutral ;) but, that’s just my color-eye! I don’t think making your house a home has to be trendy.

    • Melissa says:

      Ha, well I have a warm shade of gray walls to be my neutral in my living room and dining room and in spite of how it might look to you, it feels JUST like I wanted. It is classy and subdued, warm and cozy, yet a great contrast to my white trim and a neutral backdrop to my vibrant pops of stained glass and color elsewhere. I didn’t show gray walls since my post was already too long but they really can look amazing too! But, we all get to choose what colors resonate with us so they definitely might not be for everyone ;-)

  17. What do you think about using a deep color on the front door of an all white house? We just built a white farmhouse with white lineal trim. Eventually we are adding a large front porch with attached gazebos. I am wondering if I use a color (I was thinking black or dark green.) on the front door it may look like a gaping hole in the middle of the house.

    • Melissa says:

      Oh I’m sure it would look wonderful, I’m always smitten with white farm house and black doors. Oh my heart.

    • Hey both Melissa’s! ;D I wish I could remember which issue,heck what year of the last couple-but one designer that gutted&restored a former church?school? Something…painted the clapboard stark white, the trim a deeeep forest green, and the gigundous front door a “blackwatch green”- depending on the light it looked like a soft black or an incredible deep green. It Was Simply Breathtaking!. With the amber landscape lighting it would take your breath away. PLEASE do this&post pix? I Adore Color-deep jewel color in the highest possible gloss (Diana Vreeland’s red room, Sammy Davis Jr’s cross between CocaCola&aubergine), dusty deep coolor in satin finish, and bright pastels like coral & lime in semi-gloss. More later but don’t fear the “swoon” dark door!

  18. Melissa,
    Thanks so much for this…I agree, while neutrals are lovely, I long for a little contrast. Your images were perfect.

  19. I tend to use a lot of warm neutrals in my home too and I just love when a fun pop of color is added. I just like the way the warm color make me feel when I am in the room. Loved this article. I love the trend of whites and neutrals…but in my own home I like to use more color.

  20. this color loving girl loves this post and all of these images that are quite inspirational. makes me want to clean my house so i can actually see my brightly colored walls :)

  21. Looks like I do…have red, black or yellow in every room…some all three.
    Great post.

  22. Ooooh, I love rich contrast! Gimme gimme lots o’ white with pops of bold color ! Fab article my friend, “borrowed” a few of those inspirational images, love the HB green paint and Sarah always knocks it out of the park.
    Miss you!

  23. I LOVE all of that color!!!

  24. i love black baseboards & black doors–every room in my house would have them, but my husband’s just not feelin’ it…so, i only have black baseboards in my kitchen. love this post!

    nanne in indiana by way of alabama

  25. First, I have to say the older I get, the more I want to be absolutley immersed in color. When I moved into this house 17yrs ago,it “tolerable” warm neutrals. But I painted the kitchen & master BR a soft dove gray-still neutral,but “cooling” to the a.m.&cooking heat of an east facing kitchen & the unbearanle heat of a south facing bedroom–in 60yo brick with no AC. It was not a trendy color. :) Now that so many homes are “light&airy” I am heading for jewels &Tuscan orange-yellow-gold; that sunset color on old Venetian plaster. Thyme/basil/even blackwatch green (black iron canopy in front BR,to be cocooned in white sheers that puddle &swoop); barn red/countrygirl in the city; that awesome Tuscan yellow. Backed with original honey oak fllors&trim. The kitchen will be industrial country French-bicycle yellow,dark aqua,chickenwire&curtains on cupboard,sheetmetal backsplash wall to magnet recipes&notes;thinking same for bathroom-both very feng shui cuz of toilets&drains. Front porch cum office …cont’d sorry

    • A coral/red with bright pear green&yellow accents. Entries forest green,red brick, white trim,forest green accents with trellised roses&everbloom licas (sniiifff…ahChoo! Haha) but the BIG departure will be the formal DR- Lotsa corners,perfect walls for plate rails&armoires,window nook begging for blanket chest window seat. But since I bought HB’s book of 500+paint colors&dogeared it dragging it everywhere in a tote? Aubergine,HI-GLOSS to reflect every light flicker, DARK turquoise ceiling, ragged or swirled w copper glaze, copper chandy or sconces, w crystal chandy. If I cant make it blend thru, up go the the damask portierres. :) all with honey oak trim&hardwoods. Do y’all think am nuts? :D wait till u see the pieces that go-with. I just cant WAIT! Now does that sound “immersed”? Thanks for your patience w me,cuz I am SO impatient…hugs & thank u Melissa!

  26. I am in love with color. So all of those images made my heart sing. SO pretty! Makes me want to head out and grab some new paint and a brush :)


  27. I’m so afraid of colour – but inspiration like this really helps me be determined to add colour when I finally paint this house. I love the green room (I’ve almost decided on green). I like the window treatments in some of those pics as well – are those roman blinds? I think I’ll be going with something like that – if I can find fabric and some way to make them. Do you have or know of any tutorials?

  28. I love all the pictures especially Sarah Richardson’s. I’m a color junkie. I could spend hours looking through my paint decks! I have every color of the rainbow in my house. It isn’t too overwhelming (I hope) because every room is primarily black and white plus one color. It is easy to update too.

  29. Yep- every room has something with black on it! And I also make sure I never have unlit wicks on my candles!

  30. Jessica says:

    So, I look at all different kinds of rooms right, and I just love color, but why am I so scared to do it in my own home? So crazy. I have a wood floor that I can’t afford to re-do but would love to paint it white instead, I have been thinking of doing it for a year now and haven’t done it yet. Why? I’m scared. I would love to have a piece of furniture that is not black or white but colorful like yellow, again I’m scared. Help me Melissa become brave!


  31. Great collection of photos and rooms!!
    I love what you said about Contrast. The sun truly IS brighter after the rain. The same thing is true in our homes.
    great post!
    – {darlene}

  32. I do follow the black rule.

  33. After browsing thru this post, I want to be bold! I love the splashes of bold colors and want to encorporate it into my decorating… I’m just not sure I’m bold enough?!

  34. Lila Ferraro says:

    I love the contrast of dark on light. My grandmother, whose super stylin, just redid her entire kitchen. She had all of her crown moldings painted a dark brown. It looks absolutely amazing against the white cabinets and beige granite!
    Lila Ferraro

  35. I love this idea! We are famous for dark burgandy accent walls! :-)

    On another note, will you vote for my blog? It only takes a second. Thanks, Traci

  36. Melissa totally agree with you. I have my stairway and office done in a deep peacock blue with white trim. Love love it!

    Art by Karena

    Come and enter my Great Giveaway from Serena & Lily!

    You will love it!

  37. I am in love with that first photo of the steps. The darker color really makes it that more lovely!

  38. Love your stuff! Thanks for the inspiration… I now know what I’m going to do with my basement “beach house room”

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