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Your favorite color can be found in many different shades and intensities. If you love dark colors, be aware that adding it to the walls can be a big commitment. It may take several coats to get it covered. However, if you love it, it will be worth it!

dark grey color wall behind a grey sofa

Pros of Dark Wall Paint

Light Furniture Will Glow Against Dark Wall Paint

Light or brightly colored furniture will pop against a dark wall. For example, your silver gray velvet armchair and pale pink sofa will be pretty pastels against white walls, but against a navy blue wall they will really shine.

Pale wood tones, such as a light maple, can also brighten the space. If you love older furniture and have woods with a variety of finishes, do your best to choose a wall paint that is nicely balanced; a rich velvety green may be more friendly to a warm cherry buffet than a deep navy or cool charcoal gray.

light wood furniture in front of dark grey wall color

Dark, Saturated Color Adds Elegance

If your favorite art pieces are large, a dark wall can be a wonderful foil. One single painting or photograph can be centered on a dark wall to great effect.

If you prefer smaller items, you can easily create a wonderful display of smaller framed items; to draw things together, you might use a contrasting frame color or a unifying mat color.

Another feature that can really shine on a dark wall is a mirror. Reflective items will effectively draw the eye as people move through the space.

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They will also bounce light around and brighten a space if windows are limited in your home. One of the simplest ways to gently brighten a space that is inherently dark is to use warm or flame-colored light in front of a mirror.

natural light livingroom with dark wall

Dark Wall Paint Can Zone A Large Room

If your home is open, adding a dark wall can quickly zone the space. For those who don’t care for accent walls, you can reverse the impact of dark paint with a bit of light-colored trim or wainscoting.

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For example, you may have navy paint on the walls of your living/dining room space. There’s likely a nook or a corner where your table and chairs sit.

Adding a chair rail, picture rail or low wainscoting in light wood or pale paint can zone your dining “room” without impacting your favorite wall color.

Cons of Dark Wall Paint

Dark Colors Tend to Be Trendy

Remember when hunter green was all the rage? Even if you like hunter green, you likely remember the colors that are now quite dated, such as harvest gold and avocado green.

Dark colors tend to be particularly trendy. If you like re-doing your space with a fresh coat of paint and have the time to prime, you may enjoy going from navy to aqua and back to dark gray.

If you don’t have time to repaint when trends change, dark colors may not be your best choice. That being said, if your furnishings and wall color please you, don’t worry about the trends and use what you love.

dark green wall color with green sofa and chair

Lighting Can Be Tricky

In a dark space, a bare bulb will make the room feel more like a cell than a comfortable space. Do your best to either use filtered light or indirect lighting.

For example, a diffused glass shade on a single bulb can create a lovely glow. If you have a built-in bookcase, adding indirect lighting above that item can add brightness to the space without adding harsh lines.

Part of the challenge with dark wall paint is that shadows in the space can be downright grim. Diffused light, such as from a table lamp, can really brighten the space.

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If you are fully committed to overhead lighting, consider using a shade that will either diffuse light or add an extender pole and direct light up to the ceiling.

hanging light over a table with a dark wall background

Changing It Will Take Work

Covering over dark paint takes primer. Depending on your ultimate top coat goal, you may need multiple coats of primer. Primer is sticky and can be hard on brushes and rollers.

Some DIYers choose to use cheap brushes and rollers when applying primer, but this often results in a poor-quality base for your new top coat.

Even though you may have to toss them, do invest in decent rollers for your primer layer.

If brush quality is a challenge, consider investing in an edging roller tool to complete the line at the top of the wall.

These handy tools have rollers that sit against the ceiling and create a clean line; the paint is applied to a spongy pad that sits against the wall.

adding paint primer with a roller

Get extra paint pads and take the time to really scrub up the roller mechanism so it will move smoothly.

A final tip when applying primer: Give your primer coat plenty of time to dry. This product formulation is inherently sticky; if it’s not completely dry, you can pull off the first coat when applying the second coat.

Pay attention to the temperature recommendations and keep the air moving.

Color saturation is simply a matter of taste. If you love a rich charcoal gray or a velvety burgundy, put it on the walls. Pay careful attention to providing the proper lighting and reflective surfaces to make that color glow.

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