Skip to content

How to Take Your Interior to the Dark Side

The white-on-white interior trend has been an industry favorite for a few seasons now, and while it will always be a classic look, UK resident and interiors expert Abigail Ahern paints a moodier future ahead. Ahern has been dipping her brush into inkier hues for years now, but she thinks there is a “real change in the air.”

Meet the Expert

Abigail Ahern is an interior design expert and an entrepreneur who sells furniture, textiles, hand-crafted ceramics, and more. She has been featured in publications like Apartment Therapy, Architectural Digest, Homes & Property.

“You see it on Pinterest and online; we’re beginning to push our color choices in our homes,” she said. “The reason I am so obsessed with pushing color boundaries is that when you do, you utterly reinvent your space, turning it into a place you never want to leave. The trick is not to be afraid.”

Ahead, Ahern explains why and dishes some advice for those ready to take their interiors to the dark side.

Dark Colors Can Open up a Room

dark bedroom
Alyssa Rosenheck ; DESIGN: Jason Arnold Interiors

"I am obsessed with inky hues. Why? Because anything you put against these bottom-of-the-lake greens, browns, grays, blacks, and blues actually looks and feels grander than it really is," she says. "No one believes me until they try, and then I receive the best emails."

Williams Sonoma Velvet Lumbar Pillow Cover, 14" x 22" $89.00 $53.00

An All-White Interior Can Be Dull

how to use dark paint
Alyssa Rosenheck ; DESIGN: Sean Anderson Design

“Most people think that small rooms or apartments with little or no natural light need to be painted white, but this can actually make a space more depressing,” Ahern tells us. “It doesn’t matter where you live: hot climates, cool climates, in the city, in the country, on the coast. Even if your space faces north or it’s bijou with very little natural light, inky hues will give the space an instant Hitchcockian vibe and add oodles of interest.”

It's a Game Changer

black paint
Alyssa Rosenheck ; DESIGN: Sean Anderson Design

“Paint is the cheapest and most transformative change you can make to any room,” the designer points out. “It’s a game-changer. When you go dark, you suddenly create this vibe that almost exaggerates coziness; you just want to hunker down and never want to leave.”

Maloney Chesterfield Sofa by Rosdorf Park
Scully & Scully Chesterfield Extra Long Sofa $7,700.00

Dark Works with Any Décor Style

dark interiors
Courtesy of Abigail Ahern

"In terms of interior style, you can partner anything with a dark palette, even Scandi!” says Ahern. “I gravitate toward glamorous interiors with a slight boho edge, but really anything goes."

It Invites You to Push the Color Boundaries

blue bedroom—feature wall
Monica Wang

"My trick to perfecting the dark look is to limit the color palette in a room and partner it with various shades of similar intensity … then throw in a punch," Ahern shares. “There are so many amazing pairings out there, from a brown earthy palette accented with blush to inky blue with black and highlighted with gold. Olive and scarlet is a beautiful combo, tangerine with brown."

"Forget old dictums about not combining certain colors too. If Mother Nature can pair green grass with blue sky, why can't we?” Ahern poses. “It’s so much more interesting to play with color than to keep things bright and white. It makes you grin with delight, adds drama and movement, and mixes beautifully with neutrals. It becomes addictive, and you actually want to linger longer in a space. Promise!"

Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue $110.00