The Light with the Dark

I love pale interiors. I gravitate toward the light, faded, and predominantly neutral interiors that are so prevalent today. However, I have discovered that I like them better when there is some dark, or medium wood, mixed in with all the light.



Beautiful mix of dark woods and white slipcovers, accented with all those white plates!




Tone on Tone Dining Room

I think the dark pieces add such depth to the room. In my opinion, the dining room above would not be as beautiful if the table were light like the chairs. In fact, the mix of dark with light is especially effective in a dining room. You can do light chairs with a dark table, or vice versa. Or, you can do one large armoire or buffet piece that is dark and contrast it with a lighter table and chairs. Either way, the mix is much more interesting than if the whole room had all dark woods or all light/white painted furniture.

Love this black chinoiserie piece mixed with all the white

You can use black or very dark wood to contrast with the light, like above. Or a dark or medium wood like the two below. Either way, the pop it creates with all the light and neutrals is significant. I know that the trend right now is all neutrals and grays in the whole room (think Restoration Hardware) but I don’t think it creates the same character in the room.

Gerrie Bremmerman often mixes some darker antique pieces in her spaces


This piece is medium brown but still makes an impact with white chair and white walls and floors










It can be several pieces scattered throughout, or just one piece like the table in the room above. Either way, it still makes an impact.







One of my all-time favorite dining rooms!


Classic living room by Kerry Joyce




Another favorite dining space with pale caned back chairs and a wood china cabinet








Gerrie Bremmerman again




Here an antique armoire is used in a predominantly neutral/pale bedroom to great effect

It’s especially easy to achieve if you use antiques as many of them are in the dark to medium brown woods. You can mix that with light or painted antiques, or even new pieces, for a look that won’t go out of style in a couple of years!





Beautiful living room designed by William Hablinski.





One black piece used here as a focal point in the room – gorgeous!









Just one small dark piece here – but it makes all the difference!






Dining room by Kerry Joyce 


This is the look I have in most of my house, though some areas I actually need to add more light or painted pieces because I have too much dark (even worse than too much light!) I was inspired by some of my favorite dining rooms when I purchased our new antique chairs (below). I love light chairs with a dark table and a dark buffet or console. My table needs refinishing (thus, the table cloth I’m using at the moment) and I think a bigger buffet or breakfront would look much better, but I’m so happy with the new, lighter chairs. And I love the contrast the dark piece adds to the room.

I think the depth and character that dark pieces add can make a room so much more unique, especially if you use antiques. (Now I just have to find a new buffet and get the table refinished!)


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Melodie Meckley says:

    Thank you for this post! We are moving and I like Transitional style. My husband likes cherry wood furnishings, and we currently have that in our bedroom and living room. I wasn’t sure I could make that work together with Transitional design (most of the picture examples of this style are very neutral in color and use much lighter wood tones) After seeing your post, I agree with you that some dark in the room adds depth and interest.

  2. I love this look as well. Our dining room has been red for the past 12 years and I have been entertaining the idea of painting it navy. Then I see beautiful light colored rooms and I realize that is really the look I prefer.
    On another note, I wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying your beautiful blog and Instagram page. Not only do I admire your style but your sense of humor as well. I clicked over from your Instagram page after you left the comment about my golden retriever. Once again, I am so sorry about the loss of your Scout. He was such a beautiful boy and I know you loved him dearly. My Rosie is going to be 4 next month and every night when I give her a bed time kiss, I whisper to her "You better live a long time." Pets become such important members of our families and I try to cherish every moment. I am excited for you and the new puppy you choose! I am sure he will bring your family much happiness!
    Enjoy your weekend!

  3. Thanks so much Kim! I was so excited to find those chairs! I have literally been looking for about 5 years. I'm wanting to change my table/chairs in my breakfast room too, but that may have to wait. First I have to find a new antique buffet for the dining room…. so many things to do! LR needs work too! Have a nice weekend!


  4. Sheila, I love this look of dark and light, especially for a dining room. Some great examples here! Your dining room is very pretty and so are your new chairs. My dining room is my next project. I hate it and want a new table and chairs, but until then I am using wall paint and accessories to make it bearable! xo Kim