Paint Colors That Complement Dark Furniture


Paint color is among the most important decisions during a room makeover and is a key component to completing the overall look and feel of the space. Dark wood furnishings create a warm, sometimes formal atmosphere and are complemented by an array of colors. The characteristics of the room will also influence paint color and overall feel. For example, small, dark rooms do best with light hues while bright, large rooms will support bright or dark colors without seeming too confining.


  • White and its derivatives, including eggshell and cream, are widely used and flattering in just about any room. These tones reflect light in rooms where limited light is available and makes small rooms feel larger. Whites are neutral, which means they will fit with most decorating styles, and are a good contrast to dark wood furniture. If dark wood pieces feature a high shine, use a dull or flat white paint in place of a high sheen option. White paint will come with a variety of undertones, including blue, pink and yellow. Yellow undertones will flatter woods with red or yellow undertones while maple is complemented by whites with pinkish undertones.


  • Beige, taupe, gray and some shades of blue and green are ideal neutral colors for just about any room and decorating scheme. They are among the most soothing in the color wheel and will complement just about any shade or undertone in dark wood furniture. Neutral shades work well together, and using two or more in the same room will create non-clashing visual interest. As with white tones, most neutrals will have shades with varying undertones, which will bring out the undertones of dark woods.

Bold Colors

  • Bold colors, by themselves or as an accent, are widely used in modern décor to liven up rooms which tend to be dull or somewhat dark. This family includes bright tones of red, blue, yellow and purple among many others and will work well to brighten up rooms with dark furniture. They are also among the most energetic on the color wheel and encourage energy and activity. If a whole room is desired in such a vibrant hue, the kitchen is usually ideal. This space tends to have a great deal of natural light, and much of the wall space is covered with cabinets and appliances, meaning the brightness won't feel overwhelming. For other spaces where four walls in the same bright color are too much, utilize these hues as an accent wall with more subtle, neutral tones around the rest of the room.

Dark Colors

  • Dark wood furniture works well with deeper colors, including hunter greens, navy blue, burgundy and gold. These colors are often associated with formal spaces, particularly dining rooms, dens and libraries. Wine colored reds will accent deep walnut, maple and mahogany and give them a rich feel. Slightly lighter wood tones will work well with cranberry or similar shades of red. Paint color and any hues within the wood should be contrasted, not matched to create visual interest. Since these color combinations tend to be dark, good amounts of light, natural and otherwise, as well as bright or boldly colored accents, will liven up the space.


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