Decorating, DIY, Home Decor, Interiors, Painting, Trends
comments 33

Living Room Update – Pt 2 #styleitdark

Making Spaces Living Room update

Ok, if you didn’t read Part I, then this post might not make that much sense. So you might want to pop back a couple of posts and catch up so you know what the heck i’m going on about today.

Or just keep reading… you’re in charge.

Colour blocking black and brown

I think it’s fair to say I wasted spent a week painting various sections of this room. This bit that colour, that bit this colour. There are some sections of wall that have been painted four times over the space of a fortnight, I swear the room is smaller.

As much as I loved the tone of Dulux’s Rich Praline 3, it just did not work with our oak furniture or pine door.

Colour block wall black and tan

It was also a perfect match for the carpet (which I don’t like) making the room feel a bit “blah”. Not exactly the look I was going for when I started this room update.

Colour block wall Dulux Rich Praline 3

So after, repeatedly telling my hubster how the room would’t work unless I painted the door in with the walls…. and spitting my dummy out when he wasn’t keen on that idea, I knew deep down (so very deep down) that it wouldn’t make any difference.

That tan gotsta go mo fo.

Colour block wall black and tan

I know black works, i’ve used it enough times now in projects. But it’s always been in rooms with large proportions, lots of windows, higher ceilings. And with floorboards. There’s something about floorboards that just work so much better with dark walls I think. And our living room didn’t have any of those **sigh**. Our mid-century living room has 2.4m ceilings and an overall floorplan or 3.6m x 4.3m. So, ya know. It’s not massive.

Colour blocking black and tan

After a too many glasses of wine and a good moan online, I woke the next morning and put on my “big brave girl” pants. Yes, I finally bit the bullet and painted the whole god damn room black. Because that is really what I wanted to do all along. I was just scared and needed someone to blame. Cue hubby. God, i’m crap sometimes. Sorry Pete x

Black Living Room

And here’s the same wall you’ve now seen a million times already, but this time in Valspar’s Arrowhead. What do you think?

Gallery wall

I’m well happy with it. I feel like an idiot for just not doing this before. See, even people who supposedly know what they’re doing, get stuck sometimes. I’m much more indecisive (annoying) in my own home, that’s for sure.

Valspar Arrowhead Black walls

In order for the sofa not to disappear into the black hole, I tootled off to Ikea and picked up an enormous tan sheepskin which was in the sale for £90. Our sofa is the most comfortable sofa ever and over 1m deep. But it looks shit in photos and against the black wall, it also now looked flipping purple, when in fact it’s a very dark, bitter chocolate brown.

Valspar Arrowhead Black walls

So I loaded it up with the sheepie and my fave skull cushions. It’s like a soft play centre on there.

Valspar Arrowhead Black walls

You can see here, how the door adds a bit of detail and breaks up the expanse of black. As one thing you do need to do when you go dark all over, is to break up the space with art, lighting, texture.

Black walls white woodwork

Which brings me onto the Frosini scissor wall light from Which at £49 is such a good price. The quality is top notch too. Very happy with that! Frosini scissor wall light

Black and tan interiors

Over the other side of the room, i’ve added a Ferm Living Low hanging planter which I bought from Trouva. This hangs over my Jielde inspired floor lamp, bagged from BHS ages ago.

Jeilde Inspired Floor lamp

You may also be able to see i’ve finally updated our window blinds. Those mingin’ vertical numbers have been dropped at the chazza shop and been replaced with simple tan roller-blinds. I picked them up from La Redoute in one of their 40% off events meaning I got the whole window roller-blinded up for about £60.

Gallery wall detail

The gallery wall was put together using pieces I already had dotted around the house. Some framed, some not, but I stuck with sepia tones with a touch of orange and gold to tie in with the rest of the room. It will no doubt be updated with other pieces as and when I find them.

Black walls Valspar Arrowhead

I’ve lived with it for a week or so now and i’m confident that this is the way it’s meant to be. I really love it. I no longer have a roller tray by the sink. And it feels good.

Mid Century Black Living Room

So, can an average sized living room go black on all four walls? Yes. Yes I think it can. Although I 100% know that I will not be painting the 5th wall black, aka, the ceiling. I’ve already tested the 5th wall theory in our bedroom. You can read all about that here.

Dark Ceiling

Are you thinking of going dark this year? But can’t quite commit? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you actually like dark spaces? I’ve always loved black, so for me it’s a room in my fave colour. Don’t do it to follow a trend. Some people hate dark spaces, and that’s fine, so don’t force it.
  • Does your room get decent light? Our living room is south-west facing, so we get the sun streaming in from midday onwards. Our kitchen however does not, so i’d never go black in there.
  • Have you got plenty of artwork, warm colours, textures and plants to break up the black background? If so, crack on. If you prefer things more minimal, a black room may be more difficult to pull off.
  • There are no rules. It’s your home. And as i’ve proven over the past fortnight, trust your gut. You know deep (very deep) down.
  • It’s paint. It takes about two hours to paint a wall. If you’ve already spent more than four hours thinking about it, you could have tried it and painted it back again if you didn’t like it. End of.
  • DO NOT make your final decision until the paint has dried and you’ve put the furniture and lighting back, hung art etc. It’s only then, the black magic happens. Don’t chicken out after rollering half a wall. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Dark Interiors

Did I do the right thing? Do you like? Hate? Would really love to know what you guys think now i’ve finally finished. Well, nothing’s ever finished is it… but you know what I mean.


  1. Gilly says

    Yey, well done Karen. Told you it would look fab and it does! I’ m starting our bedroom tomorrow, it’s going ‘off black’ the same as our Living Room. I love what black does to a room, takes bravery though! Xxx

    • Karen Knox says

      Thank you. I thought you’d approve! And yes, bravery is definitely needed. Good luck with your bedroom!x

  2. Looks great, the tips about whether to go dark or not are very helpful! Looks great!

    • Karen Knox says

      Annoying isn’t it!? I’m not like this with clients at all!

  3. Oh it looks fab! So glad you got brave enough to do it! I too find it much more difficult to make decisions for my own place! My husband is dead set against dark rooms (but I harbour a secret love and a pinterest full of them!) Love the wall light too 😍

    • Karen Knox says

      Thanks Heidi. Am so glad too. Mainly so I can stop going on about it! 🙂

  4. Nic says

    I really love the rich praline colour but the black is more atmospheric, stunning. That’s a great bargain on the sheepskin

    • Karen Knox says

      Thanks Nic! And yeah, total bargain for a quad sheepie!

  5. Sara (Revamped by Sara) says

    It looks wonderfully inviting, I’d happily stay in there all day. A triumph Karen! Sara xxx

    • Karen Knox says

      Thank you thank you. Really appreciate you saying so xx

    • Yes, Karen! Your gut feeling was right, it looks absolutely great. Love the sofa styling, wall art, blinds. All ties in together so well xxx

  6. Lindsey wood says

    I don’t like black paint as a rule, but following your journey you have made the right move! It looks much better, well done x

  7. Ru says

    Much prefer it to the tan! Looks great. And it’s good to know it’s not just us non-pros who are indecisive sometimes

    • Karen Knox says

      Absolutely not. I’m a nightmare with my own home Ruth!

  8. It looks fab! I’ve been toying with the idea of painting all my 4 living room walls dark, but not had the confidence. Now I’ve seen what a difference going the full hog has made to your room, I’m going to go for it!

  9. Deirdre O'Brien says

    It looks amazing Karen! Im at the opposite end in that Ive gone from dark to white and I was a dithering idiot whilst trying to pluck up courage to do it. (Love it – so glad I did!) Your pertinent point….its only paint..and not the Sistine chapel😊 Love your blog.x

    • Karen Knox says

      Exactly! And thank you Deirdre. Happy to hear that! 🙂

  10. Ianthy says

    Looks gorgeous – especially with the sette and sheep skin throw.

  11. I totally get feeling more indecisive with your own home and even losing your way when you’ve looked at it so much. BUT you have nailed it now! It looks amazing and very atmospheric, especially with all the added textures, lighting, art and greenery. Gorgeous!

    • Karen Knox says

      Thanks Meera. So glad you like it. I know dark interiors aren’t for everyone, but it just feels right in this room!

  12. Although its common to hear people talking about only using neutral and light colours for rooms, it’s definitely worth considering breaking the mould – like you’ve done here. All these different dark shades of colour, all work together to create a homely and modern feel. The use of different colours for different walls helps to add depth to the room.

  13. Catherine says

    The dark color looks wonderful in this space!!! Thank you for candidly sharing your journey. I agree that sometimes making choices for our own home is the most difficult, and I tend to overthink my options…or worse yet, worry about if others will like it! I ALWAYS tell my clients we are designing for them, not their neighbors, mothers, in-laws…but I often don’t take my own advice. Thanks again for sharing!

  14. I’m late to the party but found your article hilarious. I need to get out more… But we’re in lockdown sohhh. I like a sunny room but also the dark colours in a cosy space. Having just bought an ex la with the lowest ceilings ever, I’m wondering whether to bit the bullet 😁

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.