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Dare to go dark (we’ll help keep it light)

Want to liven up your home with some comfortable, classy drama? We asked our interior designer Emma to help take the mystery out of getting this look, so everything feels light and inviting, too.

A dark grey wall marks the dining area apart from the green living room in an open plan space with lots of textures.
A dark grey wall marks the dining area apart from the green living room in an open plan space with lots of textures.

Emma’s been working with interior design at IKEA for more than 2.5 years. She’s worked a lot with set design for films, too, so even though she didn’t create this style, she knows about creating drama. “I like to think of this style like an old theatre,” she says. “There’s an air of sophistication and extravagance, but it’s balanced with being relaxing and welcoming.”

Think mixed richness. Bohemian structures. Predominantly darker shades and stains of woods in grey, black, pine and bamboo (mixed with a bit of lighter oak). Brass details. Quilted or felt textures. Glass. Deep colours rule the tone-in-tone look with a lot of greens and blues. A splash of yellow or pink injects some lightness.

Set a dramatic stage. “To prevent a really dark room, use different materials of tone-on-tone dark colours like this black table, blue chairs and blue glass-door cabinet. Bits of gold, ochre and cognac make it pop.” A tall velvet curtain, plush side-by-side rugs, grouped spotlight-style lamps and eye-catching cutlery are extravagant combinations that make an impression, too. The wall colour? It’s NCS S 7005-R80B.

Curate your ‘gallery of me.’ Collect things that make you happy or proud. Show them off in a dedicated spot. For stuff you want to hide but have accessible, store it in boxes or closed cabinets. ”Try to use the same family of colour tones here, too, whether it’s on books, photos, frames, vases, whatever. And add in a few unexpected elements for effect in your show.” The green wall colour? It’s NCS S 4005-B80G.

Lighten with cosy decadence. Lift darker walls and furniture pieces with softer contrasts in colours and materials, especially textiles. “Break up the look while keeping it tied together by mixing in a few matching patterns. Don’t be afraid to pair abstracts with solids, stripes or nature-inspired patterns. Just stay within one or two colour families.” The grey wall colour? It’s also NCS S 7005-R80B.

We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

Made by
Interior designer: Emma Parkinson
Photographer: Andrea Papini
Writer: Marissa Frayer