Dark Walls vs. Neutral Walls

Dark Walls vs. Neutral Walls

I remember when I first began my journey of apartment living, around ten years ago, my friends and I would always lament that we could not paint our walls. Renters with more lenient landlords were the envy of us all, with their colorful bedrooms. Fast forward a few years, and everything Pinterest-worthy was all about white walls. All white and neutral everything, and grey as the new beige.

Now there’s more of a shift back to color and white is being labeled boring. It’s all kind of annoying to me, honestly. I know paint is an easy and affordable change, so it lends itself to being the victim of what’s trendy, but I still see pros and cons to both color and neutrals, and the space itself should often dictate which way you go. And personal preference, of course.

I myself am a huge fan of dark and saturated colors. However, I also love Scandinavian design and love to get as much natural light as possible in my home. So we have a little bit of everything in our home.

We didn’t really consider any other color for our living room other than white. It was an unfortunate shade of beige when we moved in. While I love color, with the many east-facing windows in the room, it seemed a shame to paint the walls any color that wouldn’t bounce around the beautiful light. So the room dictated the color.

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And the rest of the house stemmed from there. The dining room seemed like the perfect place to go bold. It sits in the middle of the house, doesn’t get a ton of natural light, and for some reason, a dining space just seems like the place to go bold. Maybe because we want to be alert and sociable when dining together, rather than more calm in a bedroom or living room.

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We wanted our second floor to be light and bright, so we went with Moonshine by Benjamin Moore in our room and the boys’ room. A warm grey that keeps the walls light but gives them a bit more depth since these rooms are not as bright as our living room. White in these rooms likely would have looked flat. You can read a great article about why bright white is not the perfect color for a smaller space, or space without a lot of natural light, on Emily Henderson’s blog here.

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Our office is our wild card. I fell in love with this entire home makeover on Cup of Jo, and we immediately chose the same pink that’s in Lucy’s bedroom (Benjamin Moore’s Love and Happiness) for our office. I’m still working on tweaking the space (hopefully painting the built-ins), but it’s proved to be a fun and warm color for this space that receives lots of light and serves multiple purposes as an office and mud room.

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Our kitchen was informed largely by the existing colors on our first floor. It’s important to me that the colors throughout my house are varied yet harmonious. So although I love dark blue cabinets, that paint color would have been too much with the navy blue dining room. We went with a watery sage green that keeps an all white kitchen from feeling stale but also complements the adjoining dining room.

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So anyway, I love it all. I love the boldness of a dark wall, the light and calm provided by neutral rooms, and the personality of a room painted something like Millennial pink. Let the room and the inhabitant, not the trend, inform the color.

Photos by Rachel Loewen.

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