Decorating trends moving toward darker wall colors

News editor

When Delores Dalke of Hillsboro began selling real estate in the 1970s, the trend in home decorating was to have colorful walls. But, by the 1990s, conventional wisdom changed to say that walls should be light and neutral in color, at least if you were going to sell the home.

The idea was that if a room’s walls were a neutral color, the owners could decorate it and accent it as they wanted. The truth, though, was that most people decorated with neutral furniture, as well.

In recent years, decorating ideas have changed again. Dark and rusty reds, gold, and dark browns have become popular colors.

“I have really seen a big difference in the interior painting of homes, and I don’t know when it happened,” Dalke said.

She realized the change was occurring when she went to a house she had sold a couple of weeks earlier and found the family painting the walls bright red.

Creams, beiges, and off-whites that were so popular in the 1990s are now seen as outdated. Dalke enjoys the change.

“I think it’s fun now to see those darker colors,” she said.

The change gives homeowners more practical variety: How different is cream from eggshell? How different is maroon from navy blue? Dalke said homeowners who use dark colors also are more likely to know how to decorate to highlight the colors. And there are other benefits to dark walls.

“Actually, dark colors can hide a lot,” she said.

However, dark-colored walls require special attention to lighting. Lamps and light fixtures are a good place to start, but windows, mirrors, and window coverings can help brighten a room, Dalke said.

Trends in home exteriors don’t change as quickly as interiors, she said, but there has been a slow shift toward darker colors for exteriors, as well.

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