August 20, 2015

Most people would find painting a room black unthinkable. I love the color plans for our living room, but whenever visitors have come over I have been vague or avoided specifics. Depending on how up for fielding skeptical questions or what generation the asker is a part of, I often have just said the walls will be “gray” so as not to overwhelm them with concern.

For what we are doing, gray is technically more accurate than black. Most specifically, I would call it “charcoal.” What I was after in color was the look of a recently erased chalkboard – a black that was very muted. Fittingly enough, the color we happened to choose is called “Chalk Stripe” from Ralph Lauren.


It may be called gray, but when it is up on all four walls, you are going to be like “girlfriend’s room is black.”

Very dark and even black rooms are popular right now, although it is certainly not your grandma’s paint choice. Our living room is a large space with not a lot of light. The only source for sunshine is the sliding door and it leads out to the covered sunroom.

An obvious first idea for the room was to paint all the trim, beams, and built-ins white and brighten up the space. In my opinion, choosing white for a room that does not get a lot of natural light can make it look very drab. I think chasing after the bright and airy feel in here would have been a flop.

FIRST FLOOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-7

For that reason, I am going the opposite direction. Think words like “cozy” and “moody.” Sort of like an old inn or when the hobbits stop at the Prancing Pony (if you were needing a Lord of the Rings reference to help make it click).

It is going to be dark gray meets black in color, but there is more. The second unusual piece to this venture is I am painting the walls and trim the same color. I do not much care for modern design, and this is more of a modern look. It works for me only if there is a big, chunky, old-fashioned molding to balance it out. Instead of calling it straight “modern,” I would (painfully pretentiously) call it neo-traditional.

Here are a few designs which are excellently executing all I am describing.

Dark Rooms from Rachel Schultz

Painting walls this dark takes some guts, but because most of our rooms will be white, I want to do something risky in here. We plan to pull out the rollers this Friday to get it done.

I am more than ready as this is where baby and I often play, so I spend at least five hours a day in this room. The bland white and wood is wearing me down.

Photo credits: 1 | 2 | 3

My New Cookbook



  • I love dark rooms with chunky molding – they definitely have an old-fashioned pub feel like the Prancing Pony, haha. Can’t wait to see what you make of it :)

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thanks Alexa!

  • I’m so eager to see the transformation! Certainly a bold choice but I think it’s GREAT that you’re just going for it!

Leave a Comment

Copyright © Rachel Schultz 2020