Crossing Over To The Dark Side

In the last 12 years, I have lived in 15 (!) different apartments. And of those 15 apartments? I repainted 6 of them. I am totally BFFs with blue tape and primer and spackle. I’ve painted kitchens red and bedrooms periwinkle and offices leaf green. And I’ve learned the hard way that most apartments are white because that business is easy. Getting a dark, lush color requires gallons upon gallons of paint and a good primer. Not, as I previously believed, no primer and one gallon of the Walmart store-brand red paint. Surprising, that.But if you have the patience and the drop clothes to pull off dark paint, you can create a posh, cozy, intriguing space with (several) flips of the paint brush.

A bit of inspiration you say?

Doesn’t this gray and yellow look fantastic together?
And I love the weird, yellow-censored poster. So strange!
Gray and lime? Also oddly pleasing.
Isn’t the brocade on that wallpaper lovely?

I love the blue door against the matte, black paint.
Shiny black paint and a velvety yellow chair in a bathroom?
If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.

I would never have imagined purple could look so restrained
and classy. I guess chandeliers will do that.
Have you ever painted your space a dark color? Do you repaint your spaces?



I had my painter paint my powder room an olive green.. he did the ceiling as well.. came out awesome…He said little rooms are great for dark colors… That purple is unique…. A neighbor did her formal dining room in barn red- now that was gorgeous.


Sadly, we can't paint our rental. Can't wait to move into our own space though…am tanking up on inspiration till then! πŸ™‚

Love the purple here!

Zoe G

Hey Sarah,

Just thought you might like to know, the yellow 'censored' photo is actually a John Baldessari work from the 1980s – he's quite wonderful, and Tate Modern has just held a huge retrospective of his work.

I'd love to have one in my bedroom!

Kelsey in Korea

My dream is to one day have a bedroom/living room comfy SOMEWHERE with one big plum purple wall. now i just need to live somewhere long enough to justify painting it…


I painted my room in college (off campus) red, but unfortunately hadn't learned my lesson on the whole primer and lots of paint thing. You see I was stoked to find a gallon of red in the mess-up section at walmart and bought it! Then went to town making my walls look like the scene of a very brutal crime! I had to go back and buy several more gallons of the closest thing the walmart guy could do. Eventually ended up amazingly awesome, but took a lot of effort!


I haven't gone dark but I painted my old apartment in bright yellow. Ppl said it would drive me nuts being so bright but I loved it. I left one wall white so it wasn't too overpowering.

I love that purple in the last photo. Oh I did a purple wall (in the same apartment) – really dark, royal purple, but it was just the half wall next to the built in wardrobe. Looked great with a gold frame hanging on it.

La Historiadora de Moda

That last picture makes me want to go out and get rich.

I have painted dark colors in the past, but the places that I've lived in lately don't allow paint/or require that you paint back before you leave. I usually leave in a frantic panicking mess, so, knowing that, I haven't wanted to add painting to the moving agenda.


The hallway of my apartment was wallpapered in a dark green. So not my thing. A bathroom with a yellow velvety chair would be great, but then you need that kind of bathroom (big). I create coziness by other features, and I think that too much dark shrinks space.

Heather @ Side of Sneakers

You're making itch to pick up my paint brush!! My husband banned me from repainting anything because I get obsessed πŸ™‚ The gray & lime combo and the brocade wallpaper are simply amazing. I love the dark purple too!!


I love the yellow chair in the bathroom! You have to mix it up a little, maybe chill out on your chair reading a book while you run your bath? Haha! x


I have been known to painting and repainting my appartments forever and let me tell you that the Benjamin Moore AURA collection is simply the best paint ever! You really don't need primer, and it dries in like 1 hour and you never need to apply more than 2 coats… I'm telling you it is great! the only thing is that it's super expensive compared to other paints, but in my opinion, it's worth it!! πŸ˜‰


(first: LOVE your blog and have been lurking for awhile… i keep clicking on the camera letter signup, then waffle… i should just say yes, eh?)

me and the hubs went through MANY vivid and odd color schemes in our apartment, i think over 20 combinations in all, easily. at one point it was sponge painted purple and cheddar cheese yellow, it was like living in the LA lakers locker room. the last vibrant scheme, which had several years of staying power, was watermelon red, yellow, chartreuse and creamsicle:

(not intending a plug, but you have to see it to believe it). now we've gone white, but it's a highly pigmented white from farrow & ball that actually reflects the colors of your art/furnishings. i went kicking and screaming, but we have SO much more light now!

(oh, and moustiqueroux is right– benji moore will cover just about anything with no need for primer. take it from the watermelon gal.)


Both my bathrooms have white bead board then one is all black even the ceiling and one is a soft pretty blue. I love them both and they are probably my favorite rooms. It's easy to do and only uses half the amount of paint!

Kristie Lynne

I just moved into my first house (where my fiance and I will live when we're married) and I painted the living room a bright robin's egg blue. I'm toning it down with muted gray accents and adding little pops of bright yellow. πŸ™‚ I we left the kitchen gray too. I love a good gray paint, especially with yellow. I'm dying to try a regal purple now!


We had a deep red living room in our first house and now the same color on the celiling of our dining room. I love bold colors on the walls! Our bedroom is a nice grey and the little lady's room was orange, but recently changed to yellow. I love painting rooms…it changes their feel so much!


SarahVon, thanks for posting these pics! They come at a perfect time for me because I'm new to the city I live in (San Miguel de Allende, MX) and I'm about to tackle the first real 'paint job' of my life. I'm having a hard time creating a pallet and your pics are truly helpful! XX.


Most paint places will tint primer the same color of your paint, which is really helpful for dark colors.

I have a tiny bathroom painted the color of asparagus and there is tons of bright white semi-gloss trim. It's my favorite room in the house!

katie d.

Our living room wall, which is to say, one of our four walls, essentially, is a bright magenta. We have this thing that Wm built for a desk/table/tv stand all-in-one that is a little darker than the last photo's purple. Purple can definitely look classy. Our kitchen (one of our other four walls) is robin's egg blue. The other walls are a yellowed brick. It's pretty sweet. You can definitely decorate with major color without feeling like a circus. Just sayin'. πŸ™‚

katie d.

Also, I can't wait until I get MORE walls to paint MORE colors. I'm definitely down with the yellow-and-gray combo. That's happening in a future room.

Alice Elysium

ohhh i love grey. and matching it with all sorts of bright colors! i have one grey wall – like the color of dark wet cement. and have also painted my moulding a very very dark, almost black grey. and my furnishings are in chocolate and turquoise. i am such a fan of painting my space. it's the best way to make it your own….


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