Is it time dark wood made a return? I’m on a mission to make it the next big thing and save thousands of beautiful pre-loved furniture pieces from the tester pot crew! Now, before I get loads of complaints from highly competent furniture restorers and decorators, I do love painted furniture. Indeed, I’ve bought quite a lot of it recently. Certain pieces are ripe for a makeover and when they are done properly they can look amazing.
The armoire we bought from @louisagraceinteriors is the perfect example. However, there’s a terrible trend on Instagram at the moment to literally paint everything, particularly if it is dark wood. Out comes the primer and the tester pots and before you know it, what was a stunning piece of natural walnut or mahogany furniture is now covered in rainbows and scallop shells!
My Love Of Dark Wood Furniture
I’ve always been a lover of the darker side of wood (no sauciness please!). For my first attempt at room design when I was 14, I sanded and varnished my bedroom floorboards in a very dark oak colour. I complimented it with deep claret skirtings, almost Brinjal, still one of my favourite Farrow and Ball colours and, of course, means Aubergine. Btw – do you know why the Americans call it eggplant? It’s named after the white cultivars, which look surprisingly like a white egg. Who knew?
Anyhoo, I digress. Dark wood can be so beautiful and often brings a rich soulfulness to a room, a sense of belonging and history. The patina and lustre of teak, walnut, mahogany and English oak can totally transform a space and bring depth and warmth to an otherwise monotone design.
Everything Comes back In Style – Look At The Mullet! Ok, Bad Example.
For the younger folk reading this, I remember a time in the ‘90s when it was high fashion to strip every last flake of paint off all furniture. It was during the big resurgence of stripped pine flooring. If it was painted it had to go! Unbelievable now really, but everything goes in circles. So, one day we will all be stripping those murals and abstract painted shapes off of our furniture to restore its natural beauty. Mark my words!
Our Latest Home
When we bought our latest home one of the first things that struck me was the original Victorian Gothic front door. It’s a rich, deep mahogany and I love it! However, and I’m ashamed to say this, my first thought was to paint it! I don’t know why, maybe mahogany has been out of fashion for so long that it was just an instinctive reaction to it, even though I secretly loved it. I was quite concerned at the reaction it was going to get on it’s debut on Insta. But, I could not have been more wrong and was completely blown away by the love it received. Exactly the same thing happened with the mahogany staircase. It’s a very dark mahogany, not the russet tones that became so unpopular.
So, when I came to decorate the walls of our entrance hall recently, it was imperative that I choose the right colour to bring out the warmth and depth of the wood grain. I decided on Old White from Farrow and Ball in Estate Emusion. It’s my most favourite neutral colour and pretty much works with everything. It’s one of those magic colours that somehow manages to bring everything in the room to life. The result is a welcoming space that literally gives you a hug as you enter it.
So, I won’t be painting the front door or the stair bannister anytime soon. I can’t bear the thought of me going down in the history of our house as the one who ruined the staircase. The thought of some poor person spending weeks stripping back my painting efforts, cursing me as they go, fills me with horror. Instead, I’m going to love my dark wood. I’m going to celebrate it and shout it from the rooftops. I’m also going to do my utmost to get everyone else to love it too!
Why not read: How to Renovate and Stay Under the Ceiling Price.