White walls have dominated interiors for a long time now, but the tide is well and truly turning. Say hello to rich, dark, moody hues. Risky though it may feel adding dark paint to the walls, the result is undeniably sophisticated, cocooning and dramatic. Paint the walls, fire surround, ceilings and even floor, in the same hue and the effect is magnified.

Gasp! But what if it's a small room? What if there's not much natural light?

Throw out the old rule book and start following Abigail Ahern's daring approach. The Queen of Dark Interiors has been leading the way in this area for a long time. Here's a round-up of her advice for doing it right.

Top of the range paint

Using a high quality paint is always a good idea, but especially so when it comes to dark paint (which is a lot less forgiving than light). If you're painting the whole room then getting a dark colour that is soft, not harsh, is also key. Sounds strange, but the hue needs to have a 'buttery' depth to it, with soft undertones.

The main thing? Test, test, test. Make sure you've tried out the colour on your walls, with the room's own lighting, before you commit.

Photo by Alida And Miller
Photo by Alida And Miller

Light up for ambience

Layers of lighting is super-duper important in making dark interiors feel luxurious and glam. Use lighting at different levels (ambient and lamps), as well as the main light. Abigail even goes as far as saying you should have at least eight sources of light per room.

"I didn’t realise the importance of lighting until I converted to the dark side but now I’m fanatical about it! It has magical powers, highlighting, adding depth and intrigue, drawing the eye, making a space look bigger, cosier you name it," explains Abigail.

Metallic magic

Metallics are hot in interiors right now and add interest and a shimmering dynamic to any space. In a dark space they are particularly striking, as the copper/silver/gold pops against the dark background.

Escea Double Sided DX1500 Gas Fireplace
Escea Double Sided DX1500 Gas Fireplace

Layer lux fabrics

Sheepskins, animal hides, throws, textured cushions and rugs...layer 'em up! They will warm up your space making it even more cosy and add visual interest.

"The thing about layers is that they are so transformative, they elevate a space to another level because your eye doesn’t quite know where to look. It darts from the painting, to the bar, to the yellow chair, to the corner of the coffee table. Consciously or subconsciously your senses are more engaged and you feel intrigued, excited and tantalised!" - Abigail Ahern.


Spare the white

A common mistake people make with dark interiors is thinking they need to off-set it with a lot of white. White works well, but only to a point, before it starts to feel jarring.

Abigail suggests opting for taupes, soft browns, tan leather, caramel shades. "These gently contrast and complement your darker undertones."