Bring on the rich hues.

By Melissa Locker
May 28, 2021
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When it comes to painting a room, white feels safest. It's versatile, goes with everything, is the quintessential blank canvas, and is always in style. It also seems to brighten up the place. Whether you have loads of natural light pouring in or have the curtains shut tight against the summer heat, white makes things light and airy feeling, right? Turns out that might not be the case.

In a mind-blowing Instagram post, Orlando Soria, designer and host of the HGTV series Build Me Up, revealed a shocking designer secret: Painting a room white may actually make it feel darker. In fact, a darker or moodier color may be a better way to bring out brightness.

"Sometimes instinct tells you to paint a dark room white to make it look brighter," Soria wrote in the post. "THAT INSTINCT IS WRONG!!!" He then uses a series of photos to illustrate his point that contrary to what you might think, dark colors can make a room feel light, bright, and airy. "Painting a dark, sexy space white makes it look dingy and depressing. LEAN IN and paint it a sultry, saturated color," he writes. "This will give your space an intentionally romantic vibe."

Of course, Soria doesn't mean go all gray everything, but instead use a dark shade on the walls and then use pops of white and ivory along with "warm woods, woven textures, and soothing neutrals" to give the room the bright and airy feel you thought you were getting with an all-white look. In the photo that accompanied his post, he paired a dark blue wall color (specifically Farrow & Ball's "Hague Blue") with a bright white fireplace, ivory sofa and ottoman, and a warm wooden floor and light-colored rug to create a gorgeous airy space.

Alabama Cabin with Dark Black Walls and Natural Wood Vaulted Ceiling
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Kiera Coffee

While the home decorating advice sounds hard to believe, the proof is in the pictures, and as Dolly Parton once said, "You'll never do a whole lot unless you're brave enough to try." She may not have been talking about interior design, but the point remains.