The Light with the Dark

I love pale interiors. I gravitate toward the light, faded, and predominantly neutral interiors that are so prevalent today. However, I have discovered that I like them better when there is some dark, or medium wood, mixed in with all the light.

Beautiful mix of dark woods and white slipcovers, accented with all those white plates!

Tone on Tone Dining Room

I think the dark pieces add such depth to the room. In my opinion, the dining room above would not be as beautiful if the table were light like the chairs. In fact, the mix of dark with light is especially effective in a dining room. You can do light chairs with a dark table, or vice versa. Or, you can do one large armoire or buffet piece that is dark and contrast it with a lighter table and chairs. Either way, the mix is much more interesting than if the whole room had all dark woods or all light/white painted furniture.

Love this black chinoiserie piece mixed with all the white

You can use black or very dark wood to contrast with the light, like above. Or a dark or medium wood like the two below. Either way, the pop it creates with all the light and neutrals is significant. I know that the trend right now is all neutrals and grays in the whole room (think Restoration Hardware) but I don't think it creates the same character in the room.

Gerrie Bremmerman often mixes some darker antique pieces in her spaces

This piece is medium brown but still makes an impact with white chair and white walls and floors

It can be several pieces scattered throughout, or just one piece like the table in the room above. Either way, it still makes an impact.

One of my all-time favorite dining rooms!

Classic living room by Kerry Joyce

Another favorite dining space with pale caned back chairs and a wood china cabinet

Gerrie Bremmerman again

Here an antique armoire is used in a predominantly neutral/pale bedroom to great effect

It's especially easy to achieve if you use antiques as many of them are in the dark to medium brown woods. You can mix that with light or painted antiques, or even new pieces, for a look that won't go out of style in a couple of years!


One black piece used here as a focal point in the room - gorgeous!

Just one small dark piece here - but it makes all the difference!

Dining room by Kerry Joyce 

This is the look I have in most of my house, though some areas I actually need to add more light or painted pieces because I have too much dark (even worse than too much light!) I was inspired by some of my favorite dining rooms when I purchased our new antique chairs (below). I love light chairs with a dark table and a dark buffet or console. My table needs refinishing (thus, the table cloth I'm using at the moment) and I think a bigger buffet or breakfront would look much better, but I'm so happy with the new, lighter chairs. And I love the contrast the dark piece adds to the room.

I think the depth and character that dark pieces add can make a room so much more unique, especially if you use antiques. (Now I just have to find a new buffet and get the table refinished!)


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