Color Q & A: Use Deep Color and be Happy

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A question I received recently about using deep color prompted me to share this topic with you. First of all, I’d like to state that Yes, you can be “Happy” using deep colors.

Q: We recently moved…
into a new contemporary high-rise home , and ditched all the British colonial/country French stuff. We’re still living with builder’s paint and are getting eager to make a change. We’d like to try something new (maybe charcoal!) but afraid it will end up a somber cave instead of elegant and crisp.

A: The question of using deep colors…
always comes with the concern “Won’t it make the space feel small?”  Since there is not one simple answer to this, I wanted to briefly touch on a few ideas about the subject. You might call it “advice on psychology of painting darker colors”—but that has such a formidable sound, I’d rather call it “some tips about using deep colors.”

Psychological color associations are so interesting. “Darker colors” often are described as serious, depressing, sad, formidable (see above comment), and other similar mood-and-feeling descriptions. The flip side of the description might be “sophisticated, intimate, cozy, meditative, exotic, solid…” and so forth. In other words, there are many ways to look at how we describe and feel about color!

But psychological associations aside, we have the physical attributes of the space (lighting, room size, wall shapes, ceiling height, floor color and material) and the question of function (what you want to do there)   are all part of the picture and process of choosing the best colors for your needs.

A few ideas on making a space elegant and crisp using deep colors

  • Deep on the walls and ceiling, bright contrast on the trim.
  • Select brightly colored accessories
  • Use texture and light
  • Use the deep colors of walls as a dramatic background for artwork or collections
  • Use a deep color on an accent wall to extend the view in the room and expand the space.

Deep, earthy EcoHues Full Spectrum – Fieldstone in a very small bedroom, opens to EcoHues Full Spectrum – Pewter on walls and ceiling in the adjacent powder room. Cabinets and lower walls are EcoHues Full Spectrum – Char-Plum Gray.

deep color bright accent
Closeup of cabinet in above picture: EcoHues Full Spectrum – CharPlum Gray. Brightly colored glass knobs make the deep color stand out and look even richer.

Deep Chocolate accent wall in Kitchen Gallery
Deep color on the walls of this kitchen “gallery” is Chocolate, from Ellen Kennon Full Spectrum paints.


Deep color again, this one is EcoHues Full Spectrum – Atlantis. Note the wall color is also used on the ceiling in the alcove portion of this space.(below)
alcove in entry

Below: Deep on the trim, with contrast color on walls and ceiling (in this case, the ceiling is a soft tinted white)

. dark trim lighter walls

Walls are Ellen Kennon Full Spectrum – Mustard Seed. Trim is Benjamin Moore HC-67.

Do have an experience using deeper colors that you would like to share?

My goal is to help create the best possible spaces with colors that help you enjoy your life and accomplish what you dream of doing. Let me help you “Get outside the box of off-white with colors for your vibrant life.

4 Responses to “Color Q & A: Use Deep Color and be Happy”

  1. kristie@thedecorologist

    Great tips for using darker colors! I like to use dark moody hues on the ceiling paired with an on-trend neutral on the walls. What better accent wall than the ceiling?


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