So That Your Is: Darkly Romantic

What is darkly romantic? It’s a style that evokes overcast afternoons cocooned under thick blankets perfumed with incense. Colors are deep and saturated and range from black and navy to silver and gold. Walls are adorned with moody artwork that sends your mind wandering, and the air seems full of keys. Rooms are sensual — simple or luxuriant — and have a vibe that feels equally soft and subtly hazardous.

Rich textures and fabrics are layered to make a decadent, introspective atmosphere. On the point of hot sadness, accents have an edge or otherworldly quality. Applying to a lot of styles, from traditional to modern, lavish and low shapes, ambient lighting and glints of metal and mirror create a darkly romantic surroundings that invites you to forego pretense and relax into a daydream.

Paul Craig Photography

What it is not, however, is a Gothic macabre dungeon. Think sexy not frightening, and fascinating not intimidating. It’s not about a topic so far as a sense — a sultry, dark undertone to the regular rooms you occupy. Go ahead. Here is the way to get darkly romantic in your home.

Why it works: Darkly romantic spaces envelop you in a sense of mystique and elegance eliminated from the daily challenges of the world. They embody a sense of introspection and long-lost memories. It’s a misty-morning perspective of the world from a window framed in velvet curtains.

You’ll love it if … Your favourite time of the day is your dusk before nightfall, you’re entranced with shadows thrown by flickering candlelight, you read Pablo Neruda poetry and retain old love letters stashed for rainy afternoon recalling. You’ve got a somewhat subversive side that plays well with your own well-tailored exterior, and the idea of bold, bright colours or country cottage chic gives you the shivers.

Jason Dallas Layout

Style tip: Pick a palette. A darkly romantic space is based on a foundation of deeply saturated colors that set the tone for those kinds of furnishings and accessories that will work best.

Although dark colours work the most magical, lighter colours, such as the toffee colors chosen for your bedroom revealed here, can also be effective if paired with darker tones in precisely the same color family, like espresso-colored timber or chocolate-tone negative tables.

Once you’ve chosen your foundation colour — the beginning point for your room — layer in furnishings, fabrics and lighting in precisely the same colour family to achieve a calming, cocoon-like feel.

Here, the patterned carpet adds curiosity while the moody lighting keeps it hot.

Experiment: Go darkly romantic in subtle ways. A bit of noir can alter the mood of a space. Try a lampshade with an unexpected interior print which leans to the left of sweetness. Here, the conservative exterior belies the prickly purple thistle inside.


Rose J’Adore Fine Art Print by A.F. Duealberi – $25

Change your artwork. Start by altering like for like when it comes to artwork. Replace prints or acrylic paintings of roses such as haunting modern-day photos of these blossoms. Melancholy flowers are best in small bunches instead of on a pub wall and can promote a daydream-like texture in a space.

Ballard Designs

Languishing Drifters Giclee Print – $249

Go daring with large scale prints. Black canvas prints like these add a bit of darkness. Instead of gently colored botanicals on a cream background, the giant sea monsters shine against a jet black background, drawing you in with their fluid and dangerous shapes.

Studio William Hefner

Style tip: Pick mirrors with a feeling of past. Mirrors define the style of a space through their dimensions, shape and patina. At a darkly romantic space, mirrors should feel like they’ve come from a bittersweet fairy story.

Antiqued or distressed mirrors look as though they’ve seen a lifetime of reflections. Black dots, scratches and missing areas are all part of the charm. Mirrors who have dropped their silver mercury coating or paint onto the trunk have an almost inexplicable patina.

Foxed mirrors also are a beautiful selection for a darkly romantic fashion. Less intense than a mirror that is distressed, foxing is a “fogginess” that occurs in older mirrors when moisture gets involving the mercury silvering and glass, causing reflections to appear in soft focus.

Slesinski Design Group, Inc..

You might also have an antique-style mirror custom-made. Scour antique stores and flea markets for lovely old plaster and gilt frames that will give a mirror that an instant sense of history.

Many glass stores carry a selection of classic and distressed mirror glass which can be trimmed to fit a frame or application of your choice.

Experiment: Try using distressed mirrors in an unlikely location, like on this particular kitchen backsplash. It adds an unusual richness and dark love in a place you would least expect it.

Lucid Interior Design Inc..

Style tip: Dim the lighting. Lighting changes the mood of a space more than any other aspect. At a darkly romantic distance the light is usually low and ambient, making everything look more luxurious. Your selection of lighting should offer a warm glow which complements a burning fire or the flicker of candlelight. Placing your existing lights on a dimmer switch is a good place to get started. Also make sure your space has lighting choices, like table lamps, floor lamps and sconces, that permit you to control the ambiance.

Flat 46 for the House

Shadows on the walls and ceiling will inspire you to another world since the shapes shift and move. While the Forms of Nature chandelier by Thyra Hilden and Pio Diaz may be a bit too spooky for some others will be transfixed by how the tangled branches and roots throw 360-degree shadows. When hung in an area full of lush fabrics, sparkling crystal and profound, inviting furnishings, this piece is truly transformative.

Flat 46 for the House

Experiment: Open-work lighting fittings such as the one pictured here would be the best for casting shadows. To get a bulb which faces downward, you should use a mercury-dipped bulb (available at the hardware store for about $5). They not only prevent you from having to delve right into a bare bulb, but they also compel the light upward through the lamp and create stunning shadows.

Gaskin Designs

Style tip: Strike a game. I feel as if candles were created to set a romantic mood. Some of my fondest memories are long, languid nights in Amsterdam spent listening to audio from the light of a million candles. In my experience, Europeans always have a bag of tea lights at the ready for any type of get-together. Every trip to a buddy’s inevitably led to a glass of wine as well as the lighting of candles. Grouped together they’re pure magic. Lining the windowsills, ledges and book shelves, they immediately make a room feel as if any keys shared would be ones worth maintaining.

West Elm

Manzanita Candelabra, Silver – $99

Though a lot of individuals prefer LED candles because of their longevity and for security reasons, in my view nothing beats the flickering of a candle that is real. If you are concerned about the candle wax dripping onto surfaces, then try drip-less candles or place them in candle holders, either on trays or on top of location mats as a precaution.

West Elm

Ceramic Matters Candleholder, Aloe – $899

Look for candle holders which have a little advantage to them, such as the branch taper holder pictured or ceramic white aloe.

Grouping pillar candles of various sizes and heights together in a very low marble bowl or on top of a cake plate is also amazing. The bulk of flickering candles is magnificent.

Flat 46 for the House

Experiment: Personally, I really like the look of melted candle wax dripping down the sides of candles and pooling across the group. It’s a modest medieval-castle, but that is the beauty of this. Try massing candles together in a rock planter filled with an inch or so of sand to maintain them in position. Enable them to drip, mix and perform their thing. (I group pillars in an antique stone birdbath beside my fireplace hearth.) When the candles have finally burned down, replace them without taking away the wax. Over time, when the wax becomes too high or threatens to float anything they’re sitting, clean out the wax and begin anew.


Style tip: Sneak in a little serpent. The rendering of a serpent adds a dark beauty to an area that images of different animals simply cannot. A snake could strike fear or revulsion in a lot of individuals, but in style they include a somewhat subversive tone into a distance because they’re so unexpected and reaction to their image is obviously rather strong.

This bronze serpentine sink in Kohler is a unique way of incorporating a darkly romantic touch to the toilet, among the most widely used rooms in the home. The delicate amalgamated bodies are extraordinarily comprehensive and would be stunning paired with slate gray partitions and, of course, candlelight.

Experiment:If you want your serpent a bit less front and center, try serpent bookends. Nestled on a shelf, the silver kind will be more sculptural than literal.

Accents Lighting

Style tip: Take it out. A darkly romantic vibe isn’t just for the inside. Make that edgy loveliness outside, where you can take advantage of the dusky night skies, crisp air and moonlight.

All the indoor components are equally as significant outdoors. Whether your outside space is big or small, then you can create an intimate space with a small bistro place tucked in a quiet corner. Insert a few hanging lanterns, a plethora of candles and a few soft and lush throws so which you could wrap yourself in heat should the nighttime get too cold.

SchappacherWhite Architecture D.P.C.

Any space could be darkly romantic. What sets the style aside is the subtle feel of mystery and intrigue it provides. This outdoor space is a fantastic case with its dark paint color, billowy netting over the bed and placing among the greenery outdoors. It’s an area that invites naughtiness (in addition to naps) and in the day, a good dose of tea lights would turn the space into a sultry little version of heaven.

Flat 46 for the House

Experiment: Mix candles and candle holders on an outside dining table, very low ledge or even in among the plants. Drape a couple of coloured blankets over your outside chairs and place some softly scented flowers in some mismatched crystal vases onto the tabletop. The love comes in the setting — candles, textures. The darkness comes in the nighttime itself.

More: Quiz: What’s Your Decorating Style?

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