Don't be afraid of the dark when it comes to interiors

Whichever style has piqued your interest this autumn, Kya deLongchamps shows you the best way to achieve it, from tone on tone to wood notes.

You might have noticed the gathering shadows of the showroom floors this autumn. There is of course perennial marketing at work. Stylists ravish the senses and pinch at our credit cards with suggestions of dimmed light, skin-caressing throws, intimate late evenings, and the hypnotic flash of firelight. However, the cosseting library hush of a determinedly dark room is nothing to be afraid of. Try out tips to dip into the seductive dark side of decor.

Tone on tone

To be right on trend this season, go back to black or dip a toe in inky, bruised blues, elderberries, and gunmetal grey. Similar darks layered one on the other can include anything from sumptuous emerald greens to shifting minerals and even blacks if you play clever with separating clicks of shade, sheens, and texture. What matters is that the pieces, though close in colour, sit up against each other, adding that fascinating depth to an interior we all love. The sheen of peacock velvet against glossy black marble, rough weaves against superflat, light-swallowing emulsions — the eye can easily pick up each element, but, taken together, there’s an enveloping decadent luxury. Make your wall colour the deepest colour and conjunct with pattern. Vouch for degrees of greys over blues for a first plunge at an all-dark room — blues are more difficult to marry.

We love: Little Greene latest Flat Oil Eggshells, with a sheen level of 10% that sits right between matte and eggshell in Basalt (black) and Dark Lead (blue), €36/litre it’s gorgeous with this season’s fainting pinks, littlegreen.ie.

Block Dark

Go for modern, dark, one-tone colour blocking in flat, deeper colours with flashes of startling colour — pink is a shocker for 2018. Strangely more harmonious and comfortable than using pale to dark shades, intense colour shapes in generous volumes can use single walls as complimentary canvases, or take the walls apart in geometrics, squares, rounds and rectangles. Russet reds, aubergine blues and mustards all work well together, freshened up with neutrals in woodwork, floors, and accessorising (if you’re scared), but test, test, test and consider one wall, not the entire room first. Get to know how to use a level and plumb line — not a time for a drunken angle!

We love: Dark and deconstructed Circles rug from M&S (shades of Eileen Gray) €199-€310. Ronda dinner ware in dark speckled blue has a Scandinavian purity and slight asymmetry suggesting artisan crafting, Considered by Helen James, from €10-€45.

Dazzle in the dark

The rage for mixed metals provides the perfect highlight to all this craven mystery. Copper, brass, and silver look beautiful in pools of night and artisan-styled candlesticks, platters, and girandoles are all over the high street this winter. Smoked glass has the happy talent of providing sparkle, 1970s opulence, and can be taken to table tops, shelving, and even set as semi-opaque doors to raised kitchen cabinets. Large mid-century footed vessels in fine grey shaded glass are my personal favourite. Pantone, the Gods of colour in the interiors trade, have flagged jewel tones like palace blue and unashamed iridescence as leaders in 2018, so expect to see ceramics take on a new polish and shimmer this spring.

Paredes escuras !! #blackwall #blackwalldesign

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We love: B&Q Earthstone composite counters in Black Star, from €200 per linear metre, diy.com. Debenhams has a new, well-priced lighting department, including some gorgeous flat glass chandeliers gleaned from the ’20s, Evie, €600.

Wood notes

We’re not looking for Hammer House of Horror gloom, so add more accenting, with the honest and natural character of timber. Reading as precious gold and harvest fruits in a dense moody interior — ornaments, wood panels to walls, timber, and veneers in total or as frames for furniture are warming and beautiful set in amid Atlantic deep blues, and even rich blacks. Colour aside, the polish and shine of patinated wood also relieves the weight of dense dark room-scapes. Read wood, engineered and laminate flooring can have a major role here, grounding the room, bouncing and multiplying light from natural and artificial sources.

We love: Black bucket seats on solid oak legs, the Sardinia dining chair is blessedly padded too and ideal for a smoked glass dining table, €145, Caseys. Bourbon Vintage Cabinets, with their distressed chalky pewter finish and Neo-classical lines, sheer Miss Haversham, €315 to order, made.com.

Dark forests, storming seas

Wallpaper is going large this season and with floral and woodland themes available in rich sapphire copses and dramatic branches and bouquets. To try some shadow-lands in a more visually free, lightly stated way, paper with a pale or neutral ground peeking through and shot with mesmerising metallic elements could be perfect for your project.

Try treating the wall with the least favourable aspect to a fabulous paper and paint up the others in dramatic colour. When testing out your choices keep in mind that these divas will drink in lamplight rather than throwing it back as they would off a brighter colour or white.

We love: The ascending fern leaves on woodland shadows of Erismann Central Park Leaf Wallpaper Charcoal, Beige (5953-15). Bring this wallpaper to sophisticated life with gold accessorising, €20.49 per roll, ilovewallpaper.ie. Hugo Dalton’s highly anticipated collaboration with the Paint & Paper Library, Tresco, includes navigation charts on pure black. From €250 per roll, paintandpaperlibary.com.


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