When it comes to small-space decorating, the common advice is to go all-white on the walls to reflect the most light and make the space feel bigger. This theory made sense to me when I first heard it, and is a great way to brighten a room, but after painting my father’s entryway grey, I’ve begun to appreciate the value of darker walls in small rooms. While white is an easy and versatile base, the way that light interacts with white can be very static — there are no subtleties in its hue because it reflects all the colors at once. This is where the dynamic color of a dark shade gets interesting: as the light in a room changes throughout the day, so does a dark wall color. Even black can have cool or warm undertones.
Now, the main purpose of a fresh white coat of paint in a small room may be to make the room appear larger, but the fact is that a dark color can do the same thing — although in a different way. Instead of reflecting more light, it reflects less, and though this difference may seem misleading, the depth of its color and shadows — and the fact that it’s not so clearly defined by the light — blurs the edges of the room. By absorbing the light, the walls of the room are less clearly marked and can give an illusion of more space.
So, next time you see a white wall, think of it as a blank canvas and consider the impact of a moody charcoal or luxe jewel tone, just as these rooms showcase. I love the mix of colors here — from shades of grey to cool blues and greens. Would you consider painting your walls a dark shade, and if so, do you prefer the rich colors or modern monochrome?