Embrace the Darkness

There's a dramatic colour trend doing the rounds - dark tone-on-tone rooms that are at once cocooning and welcoming, but also strikingly rich.
For a lot of people, dark colours can be a little intimidating to decorate with. They seem to carry with them an unfortunate myth that you'll be left with a gloomy, depressing, or unwelcoming room. But, to avoid dark colours completely is to miss the opportunity to really inject personality and drama into a room.

Dark, leafy plants and flowers are another excellent way to add more visual texture to dramatic...
Dark, leafy plants and flowers are another excellent way to add more visual texture to dramatic coloured rooms, as are tone-on-tone colour palettes. This casual home office, with walls in Resene Mother Nature and a desk in Resene Noir, has been finished with layers of softer green pots and vases in Resene Rivergum, Resene Nourish and Resene Peace. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, photo by Melanie Jenkins.

All for one
One way to use dark and dramatic shades to give a sense of space to a living area or bedroom is to really commit to one shade. If you can match your couch and armchairs to the shade of your walls and use variations of the tone in your other decorations and furnishing, with a pop of lighter contrast in a shade such as Resene White Pointer.
Try Resene Safehaven on walls with a closely matching couch, and then add layers of similar shades such as Resene Cello or Resene Seachange on a painted table top or shelves. Add curtains in similar shades and cushions in a mix of matching and contrasting
By keeping a room largely to shades of one colour it gives it a cohesiveness that implies size and space and allows you to showcase some of the features of the room, such as decorative ceilings, polished timber floors, or a prized piece of art.

No space too small
The number one 'rule' that can (and should) be broken is that you shouldn't use dark colours in small rooms - it's simply not true. While it may depend on what you use the room for and how it is lit, opting for dark colours won't automatically make a small room
feel claustrophobic.
Shades like Resene Element or Resene Nocturnal actually have cool bases, which makes walls recessive and become more of a dramatic background to showcase your furnishings rather than dominating the space.
If you're particularly nervous about going for a twisted dark shade on the walls, think about trying the smallest room - the toilet - first. It's a space that's prime for experimenting as it's not a centrepiece room, if you change your mind it's a small room to re-paint
and a white toilet and hand basin will contrast perfectly with moody colours like Resene Indian Ink or Resene Foundry. An interestingly decorated toilet will always be a talking point for guests.

Double down on twisted darks with walls in Resene Atlas and a door and architraves in Resene...
Double down on twisted darks with walls in Resene Atlas and a door and architraves in Resene Indian Ink. What really makes it work? The pops of aqua, like the Resene Yes Please tray and coffee table, the petrol blue jewel toned velvet couch and ottoman, and the agate-inspired area rug. The timber flooring, stained Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash natural wood stain and the vases in Resene Meditation and Resene Mystery balance out the look. Project by Megan Harrison-Turner, photo by Bryce Carleton
Adjust the contrast
Adding contrasting colours around an evocative dark wall shade can be the thing that can take a room from fine to fabulous.
When you're choosing your wall colour, talk to a Resene colour consultant about shades that will not only match it, but really make it sing.
Some combinations to try are Resene Coast with Resene Karaka, or the smoky brown Resene Ironsand with dusky pinks such as Resene Sorbet or olive greens such as Resene New Leaf. Use these colours as highlights to emphasise the wall colour - think mirror frames, shelves, or even skirtings and ceilings. Then, take these colours further into your soft furnishings through cushions, rugs and curtains.
Another great colour combination to try is subtly green-toned shades such as Resene Mangrove or Resene Black Forest, with contrasting gold room decoration.

Lighter twist
If going completely dark and twisted still seems too daunting, you could opt for a lighter shade of dark, which will still reflect your personality.
Shades such as Resene Dark Slate or Resene Atomic will still add a bold feel to a room while working more easily with softer, more appealing shades like Resene Chamois or Resene Innocence

Top Tips
As a rule, keep bold or fussy patterns to a minimum so that the colours be the ones doing the talking rather than having to compete with another bold idea.
Most twisted dark shades work well with bold jewel tones that go with their undertones. Try buttery golds such as Resene Cleopatra with a yellow under-toned green like Resene Family Tree; sapphires like Resene Wishing Well with a true inky blue such as Resene
Indian Ink; amethysts like Resene Memory Lane with Resene Purple Rain; or ruby reds such as Resene Salsa with Resene Courage.
Textural fabrics, particularly on-trend velvet, will add an inviting sense of warmth, comfort, and luxury.
If you're worried about a room being too dark, try using large mirrors to reflect more light around the space.
If it feels too intimidating to go floor to ceiling with a twisted dark, try just painting the bottom section of your wall.

This twisted dark room, painted Resene Twilight Zone, has been given added visual interest with...
This twisted dark room, painted Resene Twilight Zone, has been given added visual interest with an easy-to-achieve wall treatment in the form of timber battens attached in a grid format. The table top and bowl are in slightly lighter Resene King Tide while even more depth has been added by way of the timber floor, which was achieved by brushing a coat of Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash over Resene Colorwood Crowshead natural wood stain. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, photo by Bryce Carleton.