Dark Lacquered Walls
Dark lacquered walls are wonderful in dining rooms, libraries, sun-filled living rooms and even in the butler’s pantry. We love how a dark lacquered dining room twinkles in the night when the overhead chandelier is dimmed and the candles are lit. Equally lovely is a dark library which can be incredibly enveloping, often becoming the coziest and most popular room to curl up with a good book and a glass of red wine. One of my favorite rooms of all time is this deep, dark brown lacquered sun room designed by David Netto, below. I love how it feels at once modern and fresh, while still appropriate to the house. The walls of this room may be incredibly dark, but everything about this room feels airy and light–quite the feat if you ask me!
Super dark black, brown, and aubergine walls are not a new invention, designer greats such as Billy Baldwin, Sister Parish, David Hicks, and Mario Buatta have been painting rooms in inky, dark hues for decades. In design, contrast is king and Sister Parish shows the importance of this in her living room, below. With the walls painted a deep aubergine, the upholstered pieces and rug need to pop. Parish accomplishes this by upholstering almost all of the furnishings in creamy, light colored fabrics.
In this living room, below, by Billy Baldwin, he also upholsters one of the largest upholstered pieces in a creamy white fabric while bringing the walls to life with colorful art. One mistake we often see in dark rooms is that not enough color is brought into the scheme. This room is a great example of how integral color and contrast are to dark rooms.
A David Hicks room painted in an inky, blue black. Notice all of these rooms feature crisp white moldings and trim!
A luxurious chocolate brown lacquered living room by the legendary Mario Buatta. While color and pattern pop off the dark, shiny walls, so does a little glitz. Gold accents look great in these rooms and really up the glam factor.
Another one of my all time favorite dark lacquered rooms is this library by Jeffrey Bilhuber. I could live in this room forever!
A glamorous foyer by Ruthie Sommers, below.
Aerin Lauder’s home office, below. Chic, chic, chic!
It must be said, the black/super dark wall is much easier to pull off when it is lacquered. A dark matte wall doesn’t have the reflective qualities of a lacquer finish, helping to bounce light around the room. Unless a room gets a lot of natural light or has lots of built in bookshelves or art to cover the walls, we typically don’t recommend painting walls a dark matte black or brown. If you are considering painting your walls a dark, lacquered color, make sure you have sufficient lighting throughout the room–it’s the interplay of light and reflection that makes lacquered walls so special!
In Daniel Ramoualdez’s Manhattan apartment, his library walls are painted a true black. It doesn’t feel overwhelming because the walls are filled with so many books.
Not ready to commit to a large, dark room? How about a small entry, like this one in Phillip Gorrivan’s apartment?
We love lacquered walls in a butler’s pantry. Like foyers, it’s a great way to take a chance and create a special little nook in the house without going whole hog.
Or what about black lacquered doors and faux bamboo lacquered trim detail?
For us, there’s nothing more glamorous, or more enveloping than glossy, dark walls. Are you ready to go to the dark side? We sure are!