Balancing light and dark

Aug 7, 2017 | Anoushka's Blog, Interior design and decoration

As many of you may know I’m a big fan of using dark colours to contrast in my designs. Jet black, dark matt charcoals and navy blues are my 3 favourites to play with. Using these colours can create dramatic impact on the space without too much effort. However if you get it wrong the mood of the room can be thrown and you could be in danger of creating a dark and depressing energy. Here are my 5 top tips on how to get the right balance:

Using dark tones in kitchens

Black and white or navy and white can be really sophisticated in kitchens. To achieve a good balance either pick a feature area and layer dark on dark such as matt black benchtops on matt black island cabinetry and keep the rest of the kitchen white. Or if your feature is your lighting for instance choose black cabinetry throughout with contrasting white benchtops.

A SmartSpace Interiors apartment kitchen design

How to balance and blend

When combining black and white or navy and white if you want to soften the contrast introduce textural light timber floors or open timber shelving, or lighter greys in the splashback, lighting or floor tiles (or all three). This will all help to bridge the light and dark in the design.

Timber benchtops contrast with dark cabinetry

Small spaces and darker colours

If you are working with a smaller space whether that be a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or lounge try and keep your darker colours closer to the floor. For instance dark floor riles and vanity in a bathroom contrasted with lighter walls. Or dark chocolate floors with a dark fabric sofa broken up with a lighter rug. If you do want to use a darker wall colour in a small space then use it on half of the walls and not all.

Bathroom with vanity and floor tile in darker colour

It doesn’t have to be black

Black is still really on trend at the moment, you see it everywhere. However I think you can achieve great impact by using other dark deep colours to contrast in with your lighter palette. The dark jewel tones are very much in vogue, think about deep sapphire blues, dark emerald greens, and also obvious charcoals (not almost black) to bring out some contrast in your space.

Mix navy and black with dark walnuts for something different

Mixing textures with matt dark colours

When looking at darker materials and finishes we’ve definitely gone more towards the matt effects. Our kitchens are no longer glossy, our benchtops are honed and more matt. However when this is the case make sure you contrast your darker finishes with something different. This could be shiny gold or chrome hardware, or super natural but textured oak timbers, or even textural fabrics with a slight sheen. This will all layer up and add interest to your design.

Dark bedside with gold hardware mixed with a natural jute rug really brings this space to life

In conclusion, be brave with your choices, not everything has to be safe and light/white. Inject your personality into your space and bring it to life with a mixture of finishes and colours. You only live once!

NOTE: Images used under Fair Use, and the above commentary is a personal view and not commercial in nature, and were sourced from a variety of online sources and personal archives.

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