embracing the dark side.

Step 2 of my magic wand decorating scheme was to paint my living room.  The biggest challenge was picking a color.  I don’t know about you, but I’m very seasonally motivated when it comes to color choices.  If it’s summer, I want to go all light and airy.

But in the winter I want warm, dark and cozy.  Especially when our temps are hitting ridiculous lows like the -27 F we had last week, or today’s ‘practically balmy by comparison’ -7.

Dark walls have really been on my radar lately.  First I saw Danielle’s home office makeover for her husband …

Gorgeous, right?  You can read all about that makeover on her blog Finding Silver Pennies.

Then my friend Meggan, a.k.a. the thrift doctor, emailed me to say that she painted her sun room walls black!

As a reminder, I shared a full tour of Meggan’s home back in 2015.  At that time her sun room had pale green walls.  But now they look like this …

The dark walls are perfect for showcasing her milk glass collection.

And as a sidebar, isn’t that cupboard fab?  It was free!  As Meggan says, nearly everything in her house was either free or is from the thrift store.  She painted the inside of the cupboard in a minty green and switched out the hardware, but otherwise left it ‘as is’.

I think Meggan’s dark walls are perfect for emphasizing the amazing view out her bay window too.

Isn’t that gorgeous?

So after seeing all of this fabulous inspiration, I decided to embrace the dark side in my living room.  I went to Home Depot thinking that I could easily pick out a deep, rich dark charcoal grey for my walls.  I started pulling out the little paint chips and every time I grabbed a different one, it totally changed the look of the last one.  I don’t know about you, but I find that even when I have a specific image in my head of the color I want, I have a lot of trouble finding it in the store.  The terrible lighting in most of the big box DIY stores doesn’t help either.

Over the years I have found that it’s wise to bring home some samples and test them on my own walls and at various times of day to make sure I get the color I really want.

The Home Depot paint guy recommended I try these Sure Swatch thingies for that.

Instead of painting your test swatches right on the wall, you paint this 9″ x 12″ film and the temporary adhesive back allows you to move it around to different locations on your wall to see how it looks.  For example, you can see how it looks next to the window trim, and then how it looks on the wall that gets the most sun, or maybe the wall that is next to the bookcase.  You get the idea.  They were quite convenient, except I moved them around so much that the sticky back lost most of its stick-ability.

After studying them in various lighting conditions, I was surprised to find that I liked the color called Black Locust (Behr) best.  I thought for sure I was going to go with Grey Tabby (PPG) while I was in the store.  But I really loved the depth of the Black Locust.

Next came the easy part, first I coerced Mr. Q into sanding the edges of the existing horizontal stripes on the walls.

Today’s q-tip:  If you have taped off stripes on your walls, there will be ridges in the paint wherever it met the tape.  You absolutely must sand those down smooth before repainting your walls or you will see those lines.

Then I coerced my bff, Vonda, to come over and help me paint!

Jobs like this always go so much faster when you have some company.

We were done in no time!  The paint covered really beautifully.  We did only one coat of cutting in and two coats of rolling.

You guys, I absolutely LOVE this color!  And it works beautifully with my existing pale blue ceiling and front hallway color.

It didn’t take me long to realize that the farmer’s market sign from my dining room would look amazing hanging above that archway instead.  I made that using a cast off side rail from a bed.

My newly styled bookshelves really become a focal point in the room with the dark walls, although it was a little difficult to get a good picture of them on a gloomy day.

So, the last remaining item to take care of in this room is buying new furniture.  My old stuff is in terrible condition and has needed to be replaced for years now.  I have an idea of what I want but need to find the time to get out there and see if I can find it.  Then I suspect I’ll have to order it and wait 2 years for it to arrive!  So you’ll have to be patient and wait for the final reveal of this room.

In the meantime, I’m going to move on to the next room and see if I can get some of that tackled.

But first, tell me, have you embraced the dark side at your house?



36 thoughts on “embracing the dark side.

  1. Oh I do love that color! Good choice. It does go well with the entry hall and the white shelves. Bold move, but it works. I also love the sunroom at Megan’s house. I love the narrow wire baskets above the door with plates in them, along with her milk glass collection. Thanks for sharing your updated living room with us. (The plastic sheets to move around the room are a great invention, next time I’m choosing paint, I’ll choose those, too)


    1. I have lots of mature trees too. Actually I think this dark color is at its best at night. It’s moody and romantic. It looks beautiful by lamplight. Very cozy and enveloping. Perfect for a Minnesota winter 😉


  2. Oh wow! Love that so much! Really highlights the built ins and all your gorgeous trim! Think my office is about to get a face lift! 🤗🤗🤗


  3. I love your new dark walls. There is just something so moody and relaxing about being surrounded by dark walls. Everyone needs at least one room full of mood in their home. A couple years ago I painted the feature wall in our lower-level family room a dark moody gray; my husband thought I was crazy but it is our favorite wall in the house. Look forward to enjoying your furniture choices and the rest of your painting adventures!


  4. As always, you completely surprise me. I didn’t expect to like the change to such a dramatic dark color but you pulled it off beautifully, especially with the gorgeous white for contrast. Well done! ❤️


  5. It looks amazing! But I just can’t …. The darkness between november and february is too much for me, let alone with dark blue walls. I go white, white and more white lately. I would definitely try a more dramatic dark when I lived in another climate.


  6. Ohhhmmgosh, I obviously love your new look. What a difference! I love the contrast with your shelves! The color really showcases the character of your house and the vintage details and decor. I am so excited to see your final reveal and what you choose for furniture. How fun!


  7. Your room looks beautiful! The book cases really pop! I love that. Not quite that brave yet for myself, although I love the pictures that I have seen that other people have posted. I decided that I might try to do one wall in the kitchen/dining room. I found some blackboard art that I would love to try on part of it 😊


  8. We live in the woods here in Indiana. When the leaves are off the trees we get some sunlight, but still not a lot because the wrap around porch of our farmhouse prevents sun coming in, especially when the leaves are on the trees. Our entry is really dark, we left out the side lights on each side of the front door. We didn’t want people to be able to see in, and it is also easier for someone to break the window by the door to unlock it and come in. I love the dark paint; I love gray, but just couldn’t do it here; it would feel like a cave! Lol
    Love what you did very much! Really looks nice!


  9. I love this! I’ve wanted to do a dark charcoal room for a long time but my husband panicked. The darkest I could get him to go was a medium gray called Storm by Benjamin Moore. I told him it wasn’t dark or stormy enough for me but I suppose I have to respect his opinion as well.


  10. I honestly never considered black walls, but what a dramatic effect it gave your decorating! Certainly made the furniture stand out in addition to allowing you to keep accessories light the room still has a great deal of warmth to it. Well done in my humble opinion!


  11. That is stunning but wouldn’t work for me. I embraced darker about 30 years ago when they called the colors jewel tones. But as I get older… give me lighter! We downsized from our larger home into a little cottage with white trim and lighter colored walls. It picks my spirits up especially in winter.


      1. I always struggle to get through November and December because it is just so darn gloomy here, and getting darker every day. But starting in January things start looking brighter with more sunny days, and that sunlight reflecting off the snow makes everything brilliant. Sure, that usually means it’s below zero, but at least it’s sunny, right? 😉


  12. Love it, love it!! And you’ve given me the confidence to go dark in my kitchen. It’s a dark room anyway with little natural light and dark ‘charcoal’ coloured kitchen cabinets. I’ve tried to lighten this room with white painted walls, ceiling and trim but it just doesn’t work! I still need to put the lights on in there whatever time of day! And now feel that ‘if you can’t beat it, join it!’ So no more white, I’m now going over to the dark side and am going to paint the walls the same colour as the kitchen cabinets. I’ll leave the ceiling, doors and trim white and I guess if it doesn’t work I can always go back to white!!! Wish me luck!! 😬😬


    1. I love your way of thinking Lindsay! My kitchen has just one small window, so not much natural light, and I have dark walls. Not quite as dark as this new living room color, but fairly dark. And I’ve been happy with that color for years now. I think you hit the nail on the head with ‘if you can’t beat it’. Why not just embrace that warm, dark, cozy feeling and go with it? I bet you will love it! Good luck 🙂


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