The Best Paint Colors for Dark Rooms That Barely See the Light of Day

Got a room with little natural light? Designers say to paint it one of these colors.

Best Paint colors for dark room, moody green wall color
Photo: Clare

No matter if you live in a house, an apartment, or a condo, many of us likely have at least one room in our place that gets a little less sunlight than we'd like. Maybe you're dealing with a windowless bathroom or a dim bedroom, or even just a hallway that's never seen the light of day. Decorating these spaces can be a challenge, and picking the right paint colors for dark rooms is particularly difficult. Fortunately, pro designers have dealt with this situation hundreds of times, so they know exactly which paint colors will work in these sun-deprived spaces. Below, design experts weigh in on the best paint colors for dark rooms—and you may just notice a trend.

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Waterloo by Sherwin-Williams

Waterloo blue paint
Sara Ligorria-Tramp for EHD

"I really love Waterloo from Sherwin-Williams," says designer Emily Henderson. "It's saturated without being too dark and moody. It's the perfect pick for a dark room to give it dimension and personality."

In the media room in her Portland Project, Henderson used Waterloo. The slate blue hue is rich and sophisticated, so it works with, rather than fights against, a naturally dark room.

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Current Mood by Clare

Current Mood by Clare

"Current Mood is a bold, moody green that is one of our most loved colors on Instagram!" says designer Nicole Gibbons of Clare paint. "While the idea of a dark color may sound intimidating for a small space, bold colors can have a dramatic impact on a small space," she explains.

"Current mood is the polar opposite of the 'safe neutrals' people tend to gravitate towards. It's a rich, sophisticated color perfect for bringing drama to a room and would look stunning in a small space such as a powder room or entryway."

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Penthouse by Clare

Penthouse light gray paint by Clare

And if you're not feeling adventurous? "If you want to play it safe, paint your dark space a light, airy color which can actually help to make a dark, closed-in room feel more spacious," Gibbons says. "Bright, airy colors will reflect more light and help open up a room. I love Penthouse—it's a beautiful pale shade of greige with a sophisticated feel and is our best-selling neutral at Clare"

Prefer a white paint? "Whipped is a great choice—it's a warm, delicate white that's still clean and bright—it's our best-seller!"

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Super White by Benjamin Moore

Super White by Benjamin Moore paint
Benjamin Moore

"I have so much experience with this design dilemma!" says designer Anita Yokota, who designed the living room in the 2019 Real Simple Home. Her living room is a long, rectangular space, with only two windows. The result: a room that doesn't get nearly enough light. After testing out a golden mustard, then a greige hue, she finally found the right paint color for this dark room.

"So one day I got a paint brush and started painting all the walls white! The natural light immediately bounced off the white walls and elevated the space instantly," she says. Her favorite white paint color is Super White by Benjamin Moore, because it has very little tint or undertone, so it's the truest reflector of light.

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Hostaleaf by Behr

Hostaleaf by Behr

Jenni Radosevich of I SPY DIY has two go-to hues for dark spaces: Hostaleaf and Blue Metal by Behr. "If you are nervous about the room looking too dark, I painted both 3/4 up from the floor, so the color does not feel overwhelming in a small space," she says. Check out the effect in the bedroom renovation here.

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