The Dark Side: Amsterdam Paint Inspirations

Aside from the serenity of the tree-lined waterways and hoards of Dutch ardently commuting on their quaint, sturdy bicycles, nothing swept me away on my recent vacation to Holland more than Amsterdam’s canal houses.  Narrow and delightfully crooked, their gabled facades are regularly painted in dark, brooding colors punctuated by contrasting trim. Inspired by the stormy blues, blacks, greens and browns, I fantasize about cozying up with a book in a similarly hued interior space of my own.

With a trend in the past couple of decades of an assumed design preference to “open things up” and make spaces appear as large as possible by painting walls white or a light neutral, a dark paint color will achieve the opposite.  Dark values create an illusion of a smaller space and one that is more intimate and serious.  Depending on the use of a room, such as a study or dining room for entertaining, these attributes are typically desired.  Psychologically, dark paint colors convey a feeling of comfort and security and provide a deliberate focal point or visual grounding if used on an accent wall.

Suspend for a moment the blind inclination to paint the dining room a tireless tan or the entryway worn-out white. Resist the temptation to make the living room look like a vacuous airport hangar. Take a walk on the dark side and flirt with a bottomless green,  a shadowy purple, or an inky indigo. You may find yourself transported to another place and time.

Benjamin Moore and Farrow & Ball manufacture several paint colors reminiscent of my Amsterdam experience. Here are a few examples:

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  1. Excellent! I do love a darker colored wall w/ white trim!
    Karen, the picture of the canal street houses looks like a painting I could so see you doing!


  1. […] I first came across Pitch Blue paint a couple of years ago when I wrote a post about paint colors inspired by Amsterdam. […]

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