Using Dark Colors in Home Décor: Terrifying or Tremendous?

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Excerpted from the Quincy Sun, October 2021:

I wanted to write about the popularity of using the color black and other deep, saturated colors like charcoal, navy blue, eggplant, and winter green in home décor.  A dark color palette doesn’t need to be gothic and gloomy; if done right, it will be moody and magnificent.

Although the COVID condition is improving and more folks are returning to work, eating inside restaurants, and going to the movies once again, many are still cocooning at home and want a cozy feeling.  To avoid a gloomy outcome, contrast the dark colors with lots of natural light and with artwork and accessories that use a lot of white and shiny metallics to brighten the look.

And the trend continues into next year.  For example, Opus, one of Sherwin-Williams four color palettes for 2022, boasts “dusky deep tones and unexpected accents … created to be a new kind of classical, to set drama and emotion to the art of good style, and never, ever fade into the background.”

The four examples in the Sherwin-Williams idea book showcase several masterpieces in home décor.  The first room uses a dark muddy greenish gray on the walls, ceilings, and trim and is paired with a medium grey rug, mustard colored sofa in a room full of natural light with no window treatments to impede it.  In my favorite of the four, the walls are navy blue with bright white woodwork, coral doors and door trim with burnished gold accents on tables and framed art. The blackberry living room color plays beautifully with the leather side chair and marble fireplace, both is black, while the final scheme struts an iron ore color on the walls above the bright white wainscoting in a home office with a cranberry-colored writing desk, black painted chair with a white seat cushion, and gold table lamp with a black drum shade. Each room exudes luxury.

Want to take baby steps toward this look?  Try painting your bottom kitchen cabinets a rich chocolate color, buying charcoal gray dinnerware for your dining table, hanging an oversized black-faced clock in your living room, or adding a forest green geometric or large-scale floral wallpaper on one wall in your bathroom. 

Whether you opt for a splash or deep dive into this color trend, you’ll love the drama and visual interest it brings to your home.

A member of the Sherwin-Williams Advisory Board, Barbara Graceffa owns and operates Secretary of the Interior in Quincy, MA offering creative solutions at reasonable rates. Learn more about her decorating, downsizing, decluttering, and home staging services at, read her decorating advice at and enjoy her quilt art on Instagram @secretaryinteriordecorating. You can reach her at 617.921.6033.

By Barbara Graceffa

Barbara Graceffa, CEO of Secretary of the Interior, serves decorating clients; assists with professional organizing, home staging and moving assistance; teaches on these subjects; and delivers quilt lectures and trunk shows.

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