Interior fashion is a fickle thing. It’s the type of friend who moves on to bigger and better things, and somehow manages to forget about you along the way. With each season comes a new fashion and all of a sudden you’re supposed to just throw away yesterday’s pineapples and embrace today’s flamingo! There has always been a new look to follow, but over the last few years it’s become very apparent that people are beginning to embrace their own style. There’s a move to stamp a bit of personality on our own four walls. Transforming houses into real homes rather than the carbon copies the retail interior giants would impose on us. One such way of life (I say this because this style is not just about fashion, it’s an expression of the inner self) is seeing more and more people moving over to the dark side of interiors.
I love how the movement is described as the ‘dark side’. It feels like we should somehow be channelling our inner Darth Vader and all live in our very own death stars. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Contrary to popular belief we are not all returning to our teenage Goth selves (well maybe a little). Instead, we are creating homes that feel right for us. If you open the doors of my own wardrobe you will find that the majority of my clothes are black or navy blue and I suddenly realised that my home didn’t reflect who I am. No wonder I never felt truly relaxed in my all ‘New White’ Farrow & Ball bedroom.
The point is that our lives are so busy and full on, that if our homes don’t truly reflect who we are then how can we completely relax? Whether dark interiors are your thing or not, I urge you to transcend fashions and find a look that is unique to you. Not only will it save your purse strings from snapping under the weight of ever changing fashion, but your home will slowly blossom and evolve to become an extension of yourself.
Moving over to the dark side of interiors has been an enlightening experience for me. Rather than my rooms feeling smaller and darker as many people would assume, they have become more spacious and somehow feel grander in nature. I now love to just sit and relax, where before I would always feel the need to be ‘doing’ and not really knowing why. Now my artwork pops on the walls and suddenly everything looks a little more interesting.
The best thing about this movement for me is that although we ‘dark side’ lovers have the deeper hues in common, we all have completely different decorating taste. And whilst each home has dark walls, the owners they belong to have put their own personal style stamp on each interior. Just to prove it, here are four (in no particular order, actually they’re alphabetically) of my favourite ‘dark side’ interior gurus from Instagram. And if you’d like to check out my own feed you can find me @raspberry_flavored_windows.
Nadia @artynads, the owner of this inspiring feed, describes her style as “dark and inky with hard gold metallic’s and soft textures”. She goes on to say, “Dark colours make me feel grounded. I’ve never been a fan of white; I always feel like my homewares, furniture and artwork are ‘floating’. I’ve always loved gold and have had it in my interiors since my first house in 1997. But when I painted my first dark wall, I finally found the perfect backdrop.”
Nadia moved over to the dark side of interiors about 7 years ago almost by accident. She bought the ‘go-to’ divinely decadent Railings from Farrow & Ball for the outside of her home but when it arrived it was too blue for her liking. Like many of us Nadia jokes that she’s too impatient for tester pots and now found herself with a large pot of paint that she couldn’t bring herself to throw away. She then remembered seeing the at that point the new to the interiors scene, Abigail Ahern (goddess of the dark interior) on television using dark greys. And not wanting to waste the paint thought, “what have I got to lose?” In Nadia’s words, “that was the start, I loved it. And Railings remains my fav.”
Summing up her style as: “Ever evolving. It never stands still. Interiors should be an extension of who you are. If you allow them to reflect your own personality, then they will always make you feel at home, they will grow and develop as you do and hopefully, bring out the best in you.” Kate’s beautiful account features her 400 year old home and when asked how dark interiors makes her feel she answered, “Dark interiors are cosseting yet seductive. They make me feel like I’m wearing my favourite sophisticated and sexy, little black dress.”
So what inspired Kate to move over to the dark side of interiors? She said, “I’m not a Goth by any means but have always veered towards the colour black. Black clothes are well known for hiding a multitude of high calorie indulgences after all and slipping into an LBD is guaranteed to make you look leaner and feel sexy. For many years I experimented with different coloured interiors. I LOVE colour! But I also love to change things up and I found that it was much easier to keep a neutral backdrop of pale grey or cream for instance, and add colour by means of swapping around cushions and other soft furnishings. Needing another change from light coloured neutrals but knowing that colour didn’t work for me, I decided one day to paint a wall black. Black is a colour that looks great with any other colour and more than that, it actually enhances them. Instantly I was hooked. It wasn’t long before almost my entire house was swathed in this super sophisticated and versatile hue and for me, there’s no going back.”
Jaz @jazzierere is passionate about art, bold colours and stylish interiors. In short her interiors are the antithesis of minimalism. When asked how she describes her style Jaz replied, “My style is an arty mash up that’s a bit edgy and I’d like to think a bit glam too.” For her moving to the dark side of interiors was an organic process. It started with painting the dining room and she loved, “the sense of drama it created”. In Jaz’s own words, “thereafter to maintain cohesion between rooms I transitioned everywhere else.”
Long before I first discovered Instagram I came across Pati’s home in an interiors magazine so I was over the moon when I found her account to follow once I’d become an Insta addict!! A blogger for Style Squeeze, photographer and campaigner to raise awareness for PTSD, this multi talented lady has transformed her small home which is adapted for the disabled. And whilst the transformation might have been done on a minimal budget, as described by Pati herself her style is: “Dark, maximalist and eclectic.” Pati transformed her family home as a direct result of her husband’s many hospital stays, he didn’t feel good in lighter rooms. And now dark rooms make them feel relaxed, Pati says, “When I am home I feel restful.”
Whilst moving over to the dark side of interiors may not be to everyone’s taste, I’m sure you will agree that each of these lovely ladies has well and truly stamped their own style on their homes. So whether you’re a Luke Skywalker or a Darth Vader let’s all make the homes we live in our own. Let’s ditch the throwaway culture of the ever fickle world of following the latest fashion.
Written and cover image by Rachel Edmonds @raspberry_flavored_windows.