A Snuggly Snug - Decorating with Dark Colours

A Snuggly Snug – Decorating with Dark Colours

At the end of my blog A Bright Twist on a Victorian Living Room I mentioned being drawn in by the dark side of the colour chart.  I finally took the plunge and turned our half decorated playroom into a snuggly snug.  Without a doubt, this room is my favourite room in the house.  As a self confessed homebody, this room warms the cockles of my heart.  Some of you might be wondering ‘What’s a snug?’  Well…

Snug Definition

We had our usual starting point for redecorating this room – removing the 1970’s fire place and stripping the walls of many, many layers of wallpaper – a big shout out to one hard working member of the Watts’ family, who took off all the wallpaper for me.

I repaired and painted the walls and left it at that for a while.  Timothy used this room as his playroom.  It was great for a young and busy boy to have a room he could spill anything and scatter everything.

The Temporary Playroom

Temporary Playroom

The Temporary Playroom

This room traditionally would have been the dining room and there was a door leading to the garden.  This door really restricted how we could use the room – all the possible layouts seemed quite awkward.  As we were installing double doors to the garden elsewhere in the house, we decided to change the doorway into a window.  We used reclaimed bricks which matched our existing London stock bricks and installed a lovely wooden sash window.

Door to Window
At this stage, the door is still in place.

Window Installed

When it came to painting the walls, I really wanted to go a dramatic dark colour.  I bought quite a lot of tester pots to make sure I got the right colour, which ended up being a Valspar colour called Empirical Grey.  It is a slightly dirty grey so it has a warmth that some greys don’t have.  As more and more of the paint went on, I got more and more excited.  I went all out and painted the door, architrave and skirting too.  This is a small room, only about 3.5m x 3.5m, and the dark walls made this room seem larger and more grand.  This room doesn’t get a great deal of light so to balance the dark walls, we sanded the floor and painted it white.

A Suggly Snug

I tiled the hearth in a slate tile and bought the fire surround off ebay for a grand total of £3.  The artwork above the fire surround is a screen printed tea towel that I had framed.

Fire Place

One thing I would say about dark walls, is that they are great at showcasing artwork and decorative objects to their best.

A Small Gallery Wall

Like every other room in our house, this room is full of bargains.  There was the fire surround I mentioned earlier plus a few other items I found locally.

Ceiling Light
I bought this light from a local junk shop for £37. The glass was missing from the bottom but I was quite certain I could still get this glass.
TV Unit
A mid century sideboard was bought for £50 from local charity shop. I just needed to strip the varnish and give it a wax.

There are a range of hand made items in this room but I can’t take credit for many of these ones, as most are handmade treasures given to me by some of my creative family members.

Handmade Light Shade
The lampshade is my mum’s handiwork.
My grandmother, Edna, did this watercolour.
A tapestry creation by my mother-in-law.
Handmade Quilt
I made this quilt using my bag of scraps.

So going dark has given us our snuggly snug.  It is a dramatic room softened by lighter furniture and furnishings.  In the evenings we cover ourselves in quilts, light the candles and watch a film.  It is truly a place where you feel ‘tucked away’ from the hustle and bustle of the house…and the hustle and bustle of life too!

Our Snuggly Snug



    1. Hi Anne, I was quite nervous about painting such a small room in dark colours…seems to really suit the chilly weather here in England. Have a good day, Claire

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