Opting for a dark room (or a series of rooms) means being somewhat cautious with the materials and furniture placement you choose. And no room - no matter how dim you may like it - can function without the existence of some light, natural or artificial. One must take light sources into consideration, from lamps and overheads to window light, and carefully select lighting and window coverings that will enhance the atmosphere of the room.
Below are several rooms from the pages of Martha Stewart Living that beautifully illustrate the effectiveness of dark rooms. This time of year, especially, dark rooms tend to beckon us into their warm enclosures, urging us to settle in and curl up with a warm blanket and a good book, a pot of tea steeping on the side table and the promise of a fire in the hearth a little later keeping us even warmer.
Brown tones and a mix of textures make this bedroom an inviting space in which to recline. Naturally distressed wood next to more polished grades give the room shape. Sisal and wool carpeting underfoot contrast the silky fabrics of the bedding. Burgundy and crisp white give the room punctuation and dimension.
A dark corner of a bedroom makes a quiet work space, illuminated by a slender lamp and the light from the setting sun. The pallette is kept neutral in shades of brown, taupe and beige with black-and-white photography echoing the high contrast in the fern-print drapery. The overall effect is rustic and refined.
Warm shades of gray in this dining room are accentuated by taupe trim. Metallic trays and frames give the vignette some shimmer. A bowl of bright fruit looks radiant in this setting, which is grounded by the heavy mahogany dresser acting here as a sideboard.
Dark furniture, like this purple dresser, can bring a room the security and warmth of deep colours without overpowering it. Bright yellow vessels holding an assortment of dried coral bring levity and lightness to the wood-panelled room.
Brown and purple are wonderful bedfellows in this image. They are united by the plush texture of the fabric and kept in context by the dark gray tone of the walls. Glossy black furniture and a metallic floor lamp add some firmness and shine to the room.
A gilt-edged mirror is the clear focal point in this photograph, rivaled only by the blue velvet chair. The room is graciously designed in bold shades of navy and indigo with the white hearth tile, birch logs and hardwood floor acting as accentuating foils.
Here again blue makes the room. A dynamic mixture of fabrics and prints give the room an air of whimsy: gold damask on the bedskirt, orange velvet on the bench cushion. The roll-down blind, with its minimal, linear pattern affirms the room's modern edge.
Dark wood is livened by a white ceiling and unadorned windows that let the light flow in. A heavily-patterned black fabric on the sofa is anything but somber. An ocre rug and an arrangement of yellow tulips lightens the room further. At Turkey Hill, Martha's former home in Connecticut, black furniture graced the rooms of the guest quarters above the barn near the main house. Here, Martha paired an ornate mirror with a simple dresser (both flea-market finds) and united them by giving them a coat of lustrous black paint. Silver and crystal accessories add a dressy bit of sparkle.