In the Dark

Design Tips

Monday, April 2, 2018

In the Dark

This large bonus room by CLOTH & KIND was transformed into a modern-day speakeasy. | Photo by Sarah Dorio
This large bonus room by CLOTH & KIND was transformed into a modern-day speakeasy. | Photo by Sarah Dorio

Light and airy rooms are very welcoming and accommodating, but they sometimes lack the warmth and sophistication that a well-done, dark and moody space offers. Read more about how several of the area’s top designers incorporated these dark hues into their clients’ spaces.

“We aspired to transform this massive bonus room, situated above a three-car garage, into a cozy, dark and moody 'modern day speakeasy.' The soot black walls were specifically chosen to help make this vacuous space feel infinitely cozier. We incorporated the use of lighter accents and interesting layers to keep it from feeling too heavy, and the abundance of natural light helped as well. In large and small spaces alike, we never shy away from dark and bold walls - and our clients are always happier for it!”
– Krista Nye Nicholas and Tami Ramsay, CLOTH & KIND

“The clients let me design this space exactly how I wanted. We get a good chuckle as we have dubbed the room 'Amanda’s bathroom.' The goal was to create a moody lower level that had a little edge to it. There is an incredible bar, amazing artwork, and lots of gaming, so we wanted to approach the bathroom with a dark and moody feel, but still a little playful. We immediately fell in love with the Dia de los Muertos design from Detroit Wallpaper Company and had it scaled so that the eyes of the skulls were peeking out over the mirror. The lighting emits a soft glow out of smoky gray glass from Tec Lighting above a custom concrete trough sink. An espresso cabinet with all-black plumbing and hardware adds a soft, slick look on top of the bold tuxedo and charcoal-colored zig-zag (Sterling Row) Walker Zanger tile from Virginia Tile. The colors work seamlessly with the rest of the lower level and the subtle details keep you looking around the room for more.”
– Amanda Sinistaj, Ellwood Interiors

“This is the Ladies’ Powder Room in the Governor’s Residence, referred to as the 'Power Room.' The view from the window was of the parking lot, so we selected a treatment to block the view, as well as contribute to the dark, moody effect in the room. Since the room is small and there is no natural light, we took advantage of those characteristics and went dark. Contrary to what many people think, a small room can be powerful with dark finishes. A palette of deep green, gray, and charcoal was selected to coordinate with the main spaces of the residence. To provide visual relief from the intensity of the intimate space, framed photographs from the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame were selected not only for their historical interest, but to provide a 'lift' from the deep-green grasscloth background.”
– Kathleen McGovern, Kathleen McGovern Studio of Interior Design

“Here is a special powder room entirely clad in a pewter metallic glass tile. The room was designed to create the mood of an atmospheric lounge in a trendy nightclub. I love dark spaces that are a bit edgy, and add mystery and intrigue!”
– Terry Ellis, Room Service Interior Design

“The Dressing Room walls were painted black, contrasting with crisp white woodwork and windows, reminiscent of a classic little black dress adorned with pearls. The art over the sofa was the inspiration for the room done by Rene Gruau, a famous Parisian fashion illustrator. The dark walls and draperies were a perfect backdrop for the white furniture, vintage 3-way mirror, and accessories. We added the touch of yellow for a pop of color. There were places to display handbags and shoes, dressing area, and a desk for a snack or computer. The room was designed so you could sleep, work, or entertain. What woman wouldn’t want this private sanctuary?”
– Phyllis Whitehead, Fifi & Coco Interiors

“Our clients wanted a dark and moody bedroom that still displayed playful elements. We chose jewel tones to play off the almost black walls, and an eclectic blend of traditional and mid-century modern lines. The Fornasetti plate collection adds to the mysteriousness of the space. They almost have a voyeuristic presence. The large mirror reflects the light from the window and is also functional for dressing. These clients are creative people and have a dark and funny sense of humor. With all of the spaces we have done for them, they wanted them to be unique, fun, and beautiful.”
– Dan Davis, Dan Davis Design

"'When in doubt, wear black.' The inspiration for this powder room renovation was the framed nude sketch the client already owned. The dark patterned wallcovering in shades of gray created a dramatic backdrop. Bubble glass pendants were chosen for their simplicity. Brass and polished nickel accents add a dose of sophistication.”
– Toby Sneider, Snieder Custom Interiors