By Alyssa Gautieri
Rich Color Palette
Moody interiors are defined by dark colors like blues, purples, and grays — as well as bold reds, deep purples, and rich greens. Depending on the hue, dark color palettes evoke distinct feelings and emotions.
According to Lance Thomas of Thomas Guy Interiors, “darker red and plum tones evoke a sense of sensual regency, perfect for a bedroom or wine room. Deeper blues tend to push more masculine and aristocratic, perfect for an office space. Deeper greens remind me of an English library and would make for a fantastic home theater or study.” Light-colored pieces pop when paired with a dark backdrop, whether it’s jet black, navy blue, or emerald green. Use light upholstery or soft wood accents to create contrast in a moody space. In an interior with dark walls and dark furnishings, crisp white ceilings create intriguing contrast and the illusion of added height.
“A moody interior is an evocative space that envelops a sense of intimacy and warmth,” says Thomas. “Since darker walls recede, a well-designed moody space makes a room feel both larger and more intimate, simultaneously.” Moody doesn’t always mean dark. “I think you can achieve moody with mid-tones of a neutral as well,” interior designer Chad Dorsey says.
Consider warm browns and creams or soothing shades of gray. Using tones, shades, and tints of the same color can create a monochromatic look that feels deep and dramatic. “I think a monochromatic color scheme works best, along with the use of wood and metals,” adds Dorsey.
“A moody interior is soothing and warm; it feels like a mental break.”
— Mary Patton
Whether in the bedroom, living room, or bathroom, lighting is an essential element to craft the personality and ambiance of a space.
If a room is full of dark hues, it’s important to consider how artificial and natural light reflects in the space — particularly when dealing with dark colored walls, ceilings, or floors. Light also reflects differently when the room is full of rich textures, like luxurious velvets, plush rugs, or natural linen.
“Lighting is incredibly important when designing a moody space,” says interior designer Mel Bean. “Any direct light exposure feels like an even more intense glare in a dark space.”
Use indirect lighting, such as directional recessed lighting, to highlight elements in the room without glare. Dimmers can help ensure the space is well lit and functional throughout the day. “Ambient soft lighting is crucial,” says Thomas. “Try to avoid the use of overhead lighting, which will eliminate the beautiful contrasts and shadows a moody room requires. Lamp and sconce lighting is the surefire way to go.”
“Perhaps the most important component is lighting,” adds interior and furniture designer Michelle Gerson. “Warm, dim lighting can be key to create a dark and moody space.”
“When I think of moody interiors, I think dark and cozy rooms with dramatic details. It feels inviting, intimate, and your choice of soothing or exciting – depending on the details.”
— Mel Bean
Luxe Textures and Accessories
From velvet to leather, luxurious textures inject personality into a room and determine the tone of space. Suedes, mohairs, leathers, flocking, and velvets work well to craft a warm, dramatic interior. “Necessary textures to enhance the moody vibe need to be tactile
and luxe,” says Thomas, who leans toward dark suede wallcoverings.
“The inspiration for my Boston Victorian home project was to create a high drama space that also feels cozy and livable,” says Michelle Gerson. “The black grasscloth walls and furniture create a sultry moodiness, while the white ceiling, patterned carpet, and metallic accents provide interest and glam.”
“Dark wood paneling is often forgotten when creating a moody space and tends to be my favorite execution of creating a moody warmth,” adds Thomas. “It’s essential to consider a range of textures in order to avoid the space feeling flat.”
Gerson is drawn to natural materials such as wood, marble, and plaster to create depth.
“I’ll mix in a metallic tone for a bit of drama,” she says. Whether with gold, brass, or chrome, metallics are a great way to add a layer of intrigue to a moody interior.
Combined with rich hues, accessories and artwork also make a more powerful statement. “A moody interior is bold, but calm at the same time; comfortable, but dramatic; and finally, moody interiors are functional, but they give stage to amazing design pieces,” says Marco Costa, CEO of Boca do Lobo.