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Dark Walls Done Right

Posted by Greta Braddock on Oct 31, 2016

Dressing up for Halloween might not be your thing. Instead, may we suggest a plan to dress up your walls to match the darkening season (and we're not just talking black cats and witch costumes—daylight savings time starts next weekend!)

Turns out, dark paint colors on your walls are actually far from spooky or depressing. In fact, walls painted in shades of rich gray, dark blue and deep green look striking and sophisticated. Plus, they can lend the perfect high-contrast background to custom framed artwork. We spoke with Interior Designer Tamara Eaton of Tamara Eaton Design to learn 10 tips for how to use dark paint colors to create a bewitching interior and make your custom framed art look better than ever.

1. Go for a gallery wall. Dark colors make a great backdrop for an eclectic salon wall. In this space from The Havenly, custom framed prints in shades of white and ivory lend high contrast, set off by luxe gold accents.

Interior by The Havenly. Photo by Ginny Branch.

2. No fear. "Don't be afraid to go really dark—especially if you have light floors," says Tamara. "Layer in high-contrast colors to the space—they'll really pop off of the walls."

3. Don't keep art in the dark. The walls might be dark, but your art shouldn't be. "Picture lights or adjustable recessed lights are a great way to highlight a piece within a dark room," Tamara tells us. "Often, museums have a dark room with very bright, directional lighting to help show off the art." 

Sconces in Haley Weidenbaum's bedroom keep her custom framed Otomi textiles (floated in our White Gallery Frames) illuminated on deep green wall. Photo by Tessa Neustadt for Homepolish.

4. Consider contrast. A monotone color scheme can also make a more colorful piece of artwork pop: for instance, this painting by Christina Baker floated in our White Gallery Frame.

Artwork by Christina Baker. Interior Design by Katrina Stumbos.

5. Start small. Afraid to go all in? Start with just an accent wall, which can create a nice pop and separate a bigger space into more defined areas.


Photo by Révelateur Studio via sfgirlbybay.

6. Make the art a focal point. Hanging one high-contrast piece of art against a dark-toned wall can create a bold statement. "Art on a dark wall can get lost if it's not powerful enough," says Tamara. "Make sure the piece you choose is powerful in terms of scale, content and color."

Brad and Jen's Winter in Panex framed and matted in our Black Gallery Frame. Photo by @bradandjen.

7. Which room? No rules! You might think that dark shades are reserved for elegant foyers and sophisticated bathrooms. Not so. We love how Adrianne Betz of Little Adi + Co. chose gray for a fun little boys' room.

Photo by Adrianne Betz. Print by Miniwilla, framed in our Black Gallery Frame.

8. Choose colors wisely. "Look for really saturated colors with depth to them," says Tamara. "Two of my favorite colors are Benjamin Moore Deep Space and Hale Navy. They are both sumptuous colors that feel rich instead of just dark."

9. Keep it cheerful. If you're questioning going gray or black, try jewel tones like royal blue or emerald green. "It's hard to go wrong with really bright, happy colors," says Tamara. Case in point: this glowing blue shade in an interior featured by Wit & Delight.


Frame-spiration via @witanddelight_.

10. Add some texture. Adding some texture to a dark wall can give variation and visual interest that will keep the look from feeling too heavy.

Kate Holstein's Venice Mornings, LA in our Black Gallery Frame on a textured blue wall.

Now that you've got your wall color figured out, time to get the art you'll put on that wall framed. Head over to Simply Framed to get started!

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