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How to Create Dark & Dramatic Interiors

It’s a common misconception that coastal properties should be decorated in white or neutral colours, accessorised with stripes, shells and driftwood. Elaine Skinner from Hops and Camellias believes otherwise and regularly uses a palette of rich, dark tones when implementing design schemes for her coastal clients. We caught up with Elaine to get some professional advice and tips on using dark colours successfully in coastal properties.

Give me 5 good reasons to embrace the dark side?

  • Dark walls and window frames actually draw attention to the sea or countryside views beyond.
  • Cottages often have small dark rooms that can just look dingy and depressing if you paint them white, so don’t fight the lack of light and embrace it instead with dark, strong colours.
  • Dark hues create a luxury boutique feel and really deliver on drama leaving a lasting impression, so don’t let your self-doubt deter you.
  • Deep shades create a cosy, cocooning and restful mood and lend instant intrigue, glamour and sophistication to living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, hallways and cloakrooms – in fact everywhere!
  • Rich colours are the perfect backdrop to showcase your cherished accessories and really make them pop!

  I’m still nervous, how do I begin using dark tones in my own home?

  • When choosing your colour palette it might be easier to take inspiration from an existing decorative object or a painting that you love. Interior magazines and designer portfolios are other great sources of inspiration.
  • Experiment in smaller doses like adding soft furnishings and accessories such as throws, cushions or lampshades that aren’t too expensive to buy.
  • Nothing transforms a room faster (or more cheaply) than a few litres of paint! You can also use a rich colour to paint floorboards, pick out woodwork details or paint wood panelling.
  • Build up to creating an accent wall either using paint or richly patterned and textured wallpaper. A strong colour on one or two walls can completely transform a room.
  • For bathrooms you can achieve big impact by painting the outside of a claw foot tub or using a rich tone on the walls alongside classic white suites.
  • As you gain confidence you can invest in an upholstered headboard, a valance for a bed, toning curtains and blinds, or re-cover a sofa or armchair for a luxurious and cohesive look.
  • Remember that you’re not limited to dark grey or black, there’s a wealth of colour out there including midnight blues, teal green, rich reds, earthy browns or opulent purples.

Elaine’s parting words of wisdom? “Be bold – if you really hate it you can always repaint it out. But I can guarantee that you’ll love it and once you start it’s quite addictive!”  As well as curtains, blinds and wallpaper, we also regularly re-upholster or source furniture for our clients, whether for domestic use or commercial properties. Speak to us and we’ll be happy to help you with your next project.