Myth Busted: Dark Colors in Small Rooms


So you think you are not supposed to paint dark colors in small rooms, eh? Really? Go ahead - I dare you! Just Google "dark colors in small rooms" and look at the images. Gasp! It can't be right! If it is not true then why does everybody do it? Because it seems fantastic! Dark colors make a bold and dramatic statement that can be just as inviting and beautiful as the rest of your home. Let's take a closer look at how to make your small, impossible room wholly unique and an expression of your crazy color style!

There are several critical components to assessing any room when wanting to apply dark colors starting with the purpose of the room, such as a powder room or a den or a bedroom. Look at the amount of light available from either window with direct or indirect sunlight, and whether it's morning light, afternoon or evening light.


Perhaps the room is dependent on incandescent lighting, such as a wall mounted fixture above a vanity or table lamps on a desk or nightstand. The height of the ceiling and width and depth of the area is essential as well. Also, consider if there is one wall that might make a good feature wall or is the first wall you see when entering the room.

Look at the flooring material and color such as carpet, tile or hardwood, and will you use area rugs. Next, consider what elements are a priority. For a powder room, there is usually just a sink and a mirror, either a pedestal or cabinet, a toilet and a towel bar, and most of the time no window. Keep it simple no matter what you do or what room you want to design.

Last but not least, the most important consideration that is somewhat overlooked is just how long are you going to spend in this room and why? If you are only going to be there long enough to do your "business," wash your hands and get out, like a powder room, for example, I say go all out crazy! Your guests might look at the boldness of the color, think to themselves "that's pretty, but I could never do that!" and about the courage, it took for you to use that color and then get out as fast as they can.

They as well as you might love that color but you both know that you would not want to look at it all day long or night, like in a bedroom where you spend a lot more time and do several different kinds of activities at different times of the day and night.

You can now start to build your color palette. There are many studies done regarding the effects that specific colors have on us and the moods they can bring out, something to perhaps research before you determine the color and room that you want to design. If you don't have a color wheel, they can be beneficial for selecting complimentary colors to help create balance.

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.
— Pablo Picasso

Since it is such a bold and personal color, as any dark color would be, let's start with keeping the color palette to a minimum, say 2 to 4 coordinating colors. Starting with the floor in a light natural oak hardwood, white pedestal sink and toilet, with a white framed mirror, brushed chrome faucet, towel bar, and light fixture. Add some white painted wood wainscotting that is a little higher than typical, such as 3/4 high on the walls, with a beautiful top trim.


Paint the rest of the walls in Peerage and the ceiling in white or go all out and apply the Peerage. Here is where the accessories and make or break the look as well. Gold or yellow is a complimentary color (opposite on the color wheel) to purple as is the natural oak floor color, so look for accessories with gold or yellow tones but use them very sparingly. Try a piece of art that will add a splash of yellows, golds, and greens. Add a decorative soap dispenser and hand towel and, if you have space, a small leafy green plant and that should do it! A good artist knows when to stop!

So take a fresh look at that small room that's been crying for a makeover and see what you can do. Go ahead and use that crazy color that you love but thought it was a no-no for using in any room let alone a small room. With a few primary considerations, thoughtful planning and applications you will be surprised at how dramatically beautiful your space can be! I double dare you!