The 7 Best DARKER Paint Colours for a Dark Room (Sherwin W. and Benjamin M.)
Partner post to The Best LIGHT paint colours for a dark room or basement
Do you have a dark basement or family room? Are you struggling to find a paint colour that makes it feel like a welcome part of your home?
Now a lot of people get in the mindset that their dark room needs to be a light colour to offset the lack of natural light. And while this can work, they actually might be missing out on the chance to add some personality and interest with a more deep and saturated paint colour.
Why would you paint a dark room a dark colour?
Because dark rooms tend to have a lot of shadows. Light colours don’t really like shadows and can look dingy and dirty. DARK colours LOVE shadows, they ABSORB shadows and tend to look even more stunning than they do on that wee little paint chip.
‘But won’t this make my room feel dark and scary?’
If you have adequate lighting, no. The key to solving a dark room doesn’t lie just in choosing the right paint colour, it lies in the lighting as well. With adequate lighting and the right decor, even a room with no windows can feel bright and inviting in the day and cosy and intimate in the evening.
If you DON’T have adequate lighting, there really is no paint colour that will save you
However, if new lighting isn’t in the budget and you want to give it a go anyway, check out these fabulous medium and dark toned colours…
The Best Gray Paint Colour for a Dark Room
Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray HC 168
(click on underlined colour name to view on website)
Hands down, Chelsea Gray wins the grand prize as the best medium/dark toned paint colour for a basement or dark room. It is just the right depth and sits just a smidge on the warm side of neutral compared to more cool/blue toned charcoal grays.
This gives you an idea of how Chelsea Gray might act in a room with some but not TONS of natural lighting – particularly the right side of the wall. Using white trim in a darker space is a great way to amp up the visuals as the CONTRAST will add a more clear definition. Are there darker rooms? Yes, but ONLY use images on my site from my E-design clients, so I have to use what I’ve got!
A bit more about Chelsea Gray
- Chelsea Gray is like a ‘heavy medium tone’. The darker version of CG is Amherst Gray which tips the scales into the ‘too dark/flat’ zone for a darker room
- Chelsea Gray has soft undertones that are susceptible to picking up cues from the environment. In some lights Chelsea Gray can pick up just a barely there green/blue, in other lights it falls into a slightly softer, brown zone while STILL looking totally charcoal.
- Chelsea Gray has an LRV of 23.5
Read more: How to Choose a Paint Colour with LRV
Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray HC 167
Amherst Gray is a beautiful, rich, medium/dark paint colour and is a stunner with it’s subtle undertones! At first glance, it is a medium/dark charcoal, but as the lighting shifts, you’ll see some beautiful almost cool green undertones coming up (green that leans slightly to the blue side over the yellow side).
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A bit more about Amherst Gray
- With an LRV Of 19, Amherst Gray is pretty skookum
- Notice the rich depth in the corner and beautiful velvet look on the main part of the wall
Benjamin Moore Dior Gray 2133-40
Dior Gray has been a LONG-time fave of mine, well before gray was popular! Now it’s not like Chelsea and Amherst as it has a more crisp cool, almost purple/blue undertone to it that adds a subtle glam, rich touch to a room.
- Dior Gray has an LRV approx 20, so it’s not as dense as some of the colours on this page, but it’s still got a glorious weight to it
- If Chelsea/Amherst are too ‘gray’ for you, you might like the wink more colour in Dior
The Best Blue/Green Paint Colour for a Dark Room
BM Knoxville Gray HC-160
Knoxville Gray is a wicked cool, medium dark blue-green-gray blend.
- Knoxville Gray has an LRV of 14
- It can really sway depending on the room, sometimes looking a bit more blue than green or more green than blue – but never plain old gray
SW Grizzle Gray SW 7068
Grizzle Gray is one of my FAVES, she’s a real moody Judy…
Again, I rely 100% on photos from my E-design clients, so thank you to those who’ve sent them in!
- Grizzle Gray is a medium-dark green/gray blend. It’s not a WARM green, but it’s not OVERLY cool
- The green is subtle – but it’s definitely there
- Grizzle has an LRV of 13, so it’s got some SERIOUS meat on its bones!
The Best Beige/Brown Paint Colours for a Darker Room
Sherwin Williams Keystone Gray SW 7504
I love this one. This is an interesting ‘greige’ type of colour in that it’s a brown/gray blend. At this depth, the brown is slightly stronger than the gray, but the gray is still there to stop this colour from being ‘chocolate’ or overly warm. In the lighter range of this colour (Agreeable Gray), it’s the gray that is slightly more dominant. If you are looking for a sophisticated look Keystone Gray is a great choice.
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A bit more about Keystone Gray
- Keystone Gray is one of the lighter ones on this page with an LRV of 29
- In the lighter range, this is a pretty decent greige that leans to the gray side. At this depth, the brown shows up more, without becoming a typical ‘brown’
Read more: The Best Greige and Gray Paint Colours
Sherwin Williams Cardboard SW 6124
I know, sounds THRILLING. But really, Cardboard is a gorgeous rich, dark beige. It almost has a caramel feel to it and is MAGIC for a darker room.
This room doesn’t look dark, but that wall is the DARKEST WALL because it is the window wall, meaning that the light is coming from it, but not necessarily casting on to it.
A bit more about cardboard…
- It’s great to make boxes out of
- Its undertones are pretty well-balanced so it’s not overly orange or yellow – it’s darker gold/caramel – check the sample blob out here
The Best Navy Paint Colour for a Dark Room
Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue HC 155
I have mad love for the DARKER navy look of Hale Navy, but it can sometimes sit a wink heavy in a dark room. If you bump it up to Newburyport Blue you might find that you see a bit more of the blue, especially in a lower light space.
And it would have feeling DAMN dark in this dark hallway had they not added a central light with some decent wattage to it.
- Newburyport Blue has an LRV of 8 – she’s a skookum one. Not sure what LRV is? Read here
- Newburyport Blue is a great way to nod towards navy without going into the primary range
Sherwin Williams Cyberspace SW 7076
Cyberspace, this is a colour that I used in my OWN home, so I had to touch on it for you!
Read more: Our Real Family Room Makeover
Sherwin Williams Cyberspace! This is a dark gray colour with a gorgeous navy blue undercurrent that comes to life when natural or artificial light shines on it.
Now to look at the photos, it doesn’t SEEM like a dark space, but I opened the blinds for the photo and jacked up my camera. In real-life we keep the blinds closed in this room most of the time so that it’s more intimate.
A bit more about Cyberspace…
- Cyberspace has an LRV of 6 – BOOM, that’s dark!
- If you want MORE blue to rise up, then Hale Navy might be a better choice for you. Cyberspace is a wink more subtle with a stronger charcoal base
Darker than Dark Paint Colours
Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze SW 7048
Urbane Bronze is one of the up-and-comers in the colour world due to its neutral, but intensely rich colour!
Via SW Coloursnap
A bit more about Urbane Bronze…
- The LRV or Urbane Bronze is 8 – rich and sexy!
- Urbane Bronze is a nice brown/charcoal mix with just a weeeee smidge of green
- When one of my e-design clients uses this STUNNING colour, I’ll put my own photo in!
And don’t forget
There are a few other things to think about before you finalize your paint colour…
Low Ceiling (common in basements): How to Make a Low Ceiling Feel Higher
Not sure which colour is the best for you?
Check out my E-Design – I can help!
Kylie M Interiors E-
E-Design and Online Color Consulting Services Based in Nanaimo, BC, Canada, serving the whole darned World!