top of page
Sign up for The Woof! and get our guide to hiring an Interior Designer.
  • Writer's pictureNatalia Allende

This week on The Woof! “My room is dark so I’m going to paint it white!”

“White rooms are light and bright. My room room is dark, so I’m going to paint it a nice, crisp, pure white so that it’ll feel lighter and brighter.” This seems to be common sense, but it results in a lesson many of us who live with a dark room in our home have learned the hard way. After hoping to create the perfect backdrop for light to bounce around on the walls, we discover that not only does that not happen, but even worse, the space feels gray, dingy and flat. What a disappointment! And now what do I do? If white didn’t work, then what will?

All is not lost with whites for this kind of space, but it is useful to have a little bit of knowledge about what can work. A stark clean white reflects sunlight very well, but in the shadows of a darker room, it only makes the shadows casting on each other in the corners more pronounced. This is why it falls flat. There are some interesting solutions you can pull out of your sleeve to solve this.

Three things to consider: paint color + LRV (light reflectance value, that is, how much light the color reflects), lighting and other elements in the room.

Here is one example of a color+LRV that would work well in a dark room. Considering a paint color that sits around the whites range, you would need to bring in some warmer undertones. There are many undertones that would help a dark room feel warmer and a tad brighter: reds, peaches, yellows, and even some violets and greys. The greiges (grey/beige colors) that have been so on trend work well precisely because many of them have that lightness and warmth that many of us want. Benjamin Moore’s Natural Cream is one such color.

Benjamin Moore Natural Cream

While it still reads white, it also works well in dark rooms, especially if paired with stark white ceiling and trim. Its LRV is 64.78, which is pretty much the sweet spot for the amount of light the color reflects without it being washed out or too dark. More on LRV in a future post! It’s a fun topic, especially or those interested in technicalities. The undertones (an almost invisible green, in this case) help lift the color and do not emphasize the dark corners and shadows of the space. This is a sophisticated color that works amazingly well in modern spaces and still keeps that warm inviting mood all around.

The second element to consider is lighting. A stark white ceiling will reflect light amazingly well when you have a spotlight pointed at it from below or lighting directed up at the ceiling. Use warm white lightbulbs to brighten. And I’d suggest using a yellower light source in a lamp for ambiance when this is what is wanted.

Light directed at white surface

The last bit of advice on how to make a dark space brighter is to add touches of brighter colors here and there. These will lift the mood and add that much needed vibrancy. A red stool. A clean, bright, crisp yellow or blue or green lamp. When thinking about the colors that will add a little vibrancy to the space, do avoid muddy colors, as they will simply look like dark shadows. It’s truly joy-giving when you discover that a color that isn’t actually adding light can bring in a sense of brightness as sharp, clean colors do precisely that.

Bright object in a dark room

There is hope. Always. Even for dark, dreary rooms.

18 views0 comments


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page