The Best Paint Colors for Dark Rooms, According to Designers

Interior bathrooms, subterranean common areas, railroad-style dining rooms: Dark spaces happen—but it's entirely up to you whether they read sad and cellar-like or rich and cozy. We asked a few interior designer friends to share the one paint color that consistently looks incredible in rooms with low to no natural light.

The Absolute Best White Paints for Your Home

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Photo: Claire Esparros

Best For Drama: Green Smoke By Farrow And Ball

The verdict is in: Low light is no excuse to skimp on bold color! "I love 'Green Smoke' in a smaller, dimmer space because dark colors actually accentuate these rooms and make them much more appealing," says Tali Roth. "I always think you should just lean into the existing elements in a space."

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Courtesy of farrow & ball
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Courtesy of Ryan Saghian

Best Brightener: Elephants Breath By Farrow & Ball

Psst: White plays off of natural light sources—so it doesn't necessarily work as a brightening agent in dim rooms. However, paler colors with undertones can work wonders: "The warm gray notes of 'Elephant's Breath' add dimension and bring soft lightness into a dark room—without being too stark," says Ryan Saghian.

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Courtesy of farrow & ball
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Courtesy of Marie Flanigan Interiors

Best Illusionist: Hague Blue By Farrow & Ball

Marie Flanigan relies on paint finish just as much as paint color when working in dark rooms: “Bold hues in a lacquered finish make a powerful statement," she says. "Not only does the finish reflect light, but the deep color also gives the illusion that the room goes on forever. This particular Farrow & Ball blue is a showstopper that lends a great deal of depth and movement.”

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Courtesy of John McClain

Most Versatile: Pale Oak By Benjamin Moore

If you want light and bright but never boring, John McClain sings the praises of Pale Oak: "It completely adapts to any space, making it the ideal choice for rooms with low or no natural light," he says. "The reflective value enhances it's ability to read well in any light, while still providing an interesting color choice."

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Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

Grace Beuley Hunt

Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.
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