Style it dark: snug room makeover

I recently posted a photo of what my family have come to call our "snug room" over on Instagram. Following the post, I got lots of questions about the room, the paint colour, accessories etc so I thought, why not write a little blog post about it?! Hopefully it will give anyone hoping to "style it dark" in their own home a gentle nudge into "the dark side"!  

The dresser on the right was a left by the previous owners and since this photo was taken we have painted it in Farrow and Ball's Downpipe.

The dresser on the right was a left by the previous owners and since this photo was taken we have painted it in Farrow and Ball's Downpipe.

Devil's Ivy plant (ideal for rooms with limited light). A piece of art from the Chicamocha Canyon in Colombia, and an antique map of Essex we found in a market in Florence.

Devil's Ivy plant (ideal for rooms with limited light). A piece of art from the Chicamocha Canyon in Colombia, and an antique map of Essex we found in a market in Florence.

 

Why style it dark? 

This room sits at the end of a rather long hallway, just before you step into the kitchen. As a result, it has always been a bit of a walkway rather than a room in its own right which seemed a real shame, as actually it is a great space. In order to ensure that the room didn't become an extension of the hallway we decided to go for a paint colour that would make an impact; and that colour turned out to be Farrow and Ball's Hague Blue. Don't let anyone tell you that a small room shouldn't be painted dark. We have found that, at least in the case of Hague blue, it has given the room far more depth and sense of space than the timid "magnolia" walls we inherited when we moved in ever did. In a household with kids it is also far more forgiving when it comes to dirty handprints!

Another misconception and one that we heard often while deciding what colour to go for, was that it would make the room "cold". Again it has actually had the opposite effect and I can safely say it is now called the "snug room" for that very reason, it always feels super cosy in there.

This is the only "before" pic I could find. It looks a bit sad doesn't it? I love when a house says something about the people that live in it, but this room really didn't say anything about our little clan.

This is the only "before" pic I could find. It looks a bit sad doesn't it? I love when a house says something about the people that live in it, but this room really didn't say anything about our little clan.

 
 

Dressing the room

Pinterest - Park and Oak Interior design.

Pinterest - Park and Oak Interior design.

Dressing a dark room has been far more fun than I could have anticipated. I absolutely love how art, plants and accessories in general contrast with a dark wall. The colour just seems to make everything pop. I have a stack of black and white family photos that are waiting to be framed and put up on what will be a mini gallery wall by the corner sofa.  The effect will hopefully be something like the picture on the right. Alas, as for the drinks trolley, that is just a distant dream because the kids would no doubt see it as a perfect piece of equipment to transport toys or each other from room to room. Can't blame a girl for dreaming though. In terms of what colours/materials to go for when it comes to accessories; well I'd say brass, copper, brown leather, dusky pinks, yellow, velvet greens and blues. The world is your oyster and Pinterest is your friend. It's all about having fun and experimenting!

 
 

Top tips when going for dark walls and making square rooms "softer"

If you have white or light floor boards or lighter coloured carpets and are going for dark walls consider painting the skirting boards the same colour as the walls. We didn't do this at first, and with the skirting boards white, the room looked a bit like a Ralph Lauren advert. It was thanks to one of Kate Watson-Smyth 's fab blog posts that we repainted the skirting in Hague Blue and we loved the result.  The surround on the fire place was salvaged from a neighbour's skip (save pennies where you can) and was a pretty horrible shade of orangey varnished pine. We decided painting it would make it settle better into the room. Again, dark walls make everything pop so if you don't like a room to be too "busy", blend where you can.

This is also a very square room, with a very square fireplace and burner. We knew the mirror over the fireplace would be the focal point so decided to go for something round that would contrast all those squares. Plants will always soften edges and this Devil's Ivy from House of plants (can't recommend them enough) is loving her shady spot.

The room looked a million times better with the woodwork matching the walls. Also, if you know me you'll know that carrying  huge hessian coffee bean sack back from Colombia was a must. We love coffee in this house!

The room looked a million times better with the woodwork matching the walls. Also, if you know me you'll know that carrying  huge hessian coffee bean sack back from Colombia was a must. We love coffee in this house!

Laura Ashley Round Mirror - £189 (currently on sale)

Laura Ashley Round Mirror - £189 (currently on sale)

Ted Baker Raye rug £399

Ted Baker Raye rug £399

John Lewis Calia Nest of three tables £299

John Lewis Calia Nest of three tables £299

H&M Tall Metal Candlestick £12.99

H&M Tall Metal Candlestick £12.99

Etsy Leaf Wall Art £6.57

Etsy Leaf Wall Art £6.57

H&M Velvet Cushion Cover £6.99

H&M Velvet Cushion Cover £6.99

This is from H&M also but seem to be out, they have similar one their site 

This is from H&M also but seem to be out, they have similar one their site 

Nuvola Paper lampshade Inspitalfield £49.99

Nuvola Paper lampshade Inspitalfield £49.99

The Wish list 

Plants and lots of them.

As I mentioned before our Snug room is not yet finished, a room never really is, is it?  I would like to add a few more plants, but we have to be careful as the room gets very little light so it's a slowly slowly approach. In an ideal world though, I'd love to replicate the look in this picture. I mean how gorgeous?

A PLUSH VELVET SOFA 

At the moment our corner sofa is a navy cotton blend and it works well for a family with young kids, as it's pretty resistant. However, in an ideal world of interiors, ( where I also own the drinks trolley we were just talking about), I would one hundred percent have a gorgeous velvet version, like the one in the photo below. Despite being a similar shade to the wall the contrast in texture is delicious!

Pintrest - Studio McGee

Pintrest - Studio McGee

This beautiful floor lamp

Also on the wishlist is this beautiful floor lamp from Pooky. I'm a sucker for a floor lamp. It's pricey, but it's the kind of thing that will last a lifetime. 

Pintrest - ustamagazyn.pl

Pintrest - ustamagazyn.pl

Pooky Lighting

Pooky Lighting

 

 

So there you have it. It's a work in progress but this snug, once a bit of characterless walkway has now become somewhere that the whole family gravitates to. So if you're "umming and ahing" about styling it dark just go for it, and if you do, I'd love to  know how you get on.

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