I’m a bit of a coward when it comes to using dark colors in my home. Let’s face it, splashing navy blue or chocolate brown all over your walls is not for the faint-hearted. There’s always the risk that you’ll deaden the room, making it seem small and gloomy. But, done right, dark walls can look incredible. They can create a cozy cocoon-like space, make a dramatic statement, or convey calm and elegance. Here are a few spaces where it’s been done right.

I’m not exactly sure how to describe the color in this first picture. Sludge, maybe? It’s very effective on the panelled walls, giving what could be a rather traditional room a twist. It works well with the white bedlinen, which keeps the space feeling light and airy. Via Canadian House and Home.

dark wall bedroom

I love the midnight blue walls in this living room. This particular blue still has a lot of life to it and looks great against the pale sofa and chair. This room works because there are little flashes of white dotted around (the wall sconce, the vase, the lamp). Via Homes and Gardens.

Dark blue living room

Dark walls make a fabulous backdrop for a wall of art. The purple here just pulls this eclectic collection together. I love it with the yellow too. I’m not usually a fan of paint effects but, because the color is so unusual, the mottled walls here look pretty amazing. Especially against the slightly battered desk and retro radio. This is one cool room. Via Glimpse of Style

Purple office

Black walls! Who knew they could be so fresh? In Britain, years ago, there was a kids’ book that was very popular called ‘The Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 and a Half’. The eponymous Mole was a rather unfortunate, nerdy teenage boy. At one point, in an effort to cover up the childish wallpaper in his bedroom,  he painted the walls black. Trouble is, he didn’t quite cover the pattern – you could still see the yellow bells on Noddy’s hat (Noddy was a fictional character from a British children’s book). Poor kid. Point is, since then I’ve never been able to think of black walls as sophisticated or desirable! But this picture proves me wrong. It works brilliantly with lots of white furniture, symmetry and a bit of pattern. Via Homes and Gardens.

Black living room

The deep gray of these dining room walls is stunning. It works well because the many reflective surfaces keep the space lively. It also helps that there are plenty of windows so the amount of wall space that’s covered is actually very small. Via Gorgeous Shiny Things

Gray dining room

Speaking of reflective surfaces, I love this glossy peacock blue. It balances the bright orange well – and look how it reflects the lamp. This is one way to ensure your dark walls aren’t at all gloomy. Via House Beautiful.

Blue living room

I’ve been hording this image from Domino for ages. It’s a great example of how dark walls can be the perfect background for unusually-shaped furniture (the bed, the stools, the mirror).

green bedroom

Ok, this one’s a little more controversial. Dark brown in a kid’s room? Well, it’s practical at least. But I have to say I like this. It works because the wall is a quirky shape as a result of the sloping roof. And it’s lightened up considerably by the white letters. It helps that the room is pretty spartan too. Wonder whether it’s like that every day… Via Australian decor mag, InsideOut.

Brown kids room

Right then, does that give you the confidence to try some more moody colors? Or did you crack the secret of dark walls long ago? Share your pics if so.