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What color walls go best with dark furniture?

What color walls go best with dark furniture?

Choosing the right wall color to pair with dark furniture can be challenging. The wall color you select can dramatically impact the overall look and feel of a room. When decorating with dark furniture, you’ll want to be strategic in your wall color selection to create a cohesive and stylish space. In this article, we’ll explore the best wall color options to complement dark wood furniture, provide visual examples of dark walls with dark furniture, and offer expert design tips to pull off this bold look smoothly. Whether you have mission style, mid-century modern, or antique mahogany furnishings, we’ve got you covered on how to pick the ideal wall colors to make the dark pieces pop.

Neutral Wall Colors

If you want to play it safe, neutral wall colors are your best bet for balancing out dark furniture. Neutrals like white, beige, gray and taupe create an understated backdrop that allows the beautiful wood grain and rich colors of the furniture to take center stage. Lighter neutrals like soft white and light gray work especially well in small spaces to keep things airy and open. Here are some of our top neutral paint color recommendations for accentuating dark furniture:

  • Benjamin Moore White Dove – A warm, creamy white that exudes subtle sophistication.
  • Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray – A versatile, pale gray that reads as a neutral.
  • Behr Silver Drop – A light, cool-toned gray that brightens up a space.
  • Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter – A popular, greige-tone gray that adapts well to any style.
  • Behr Natural Gray – A medium-toned gray with beige undertones for a natural, relaxed vibe.

The benefit of neutral wall colors is that they act as a blank canvas, allowing you to switch out accent pieces and artwork down the road without having to repaint. If you think you may tweak the furnishings or want flexibility with design, go for a safe neutral wall color.

Bold and Dramatic Colors

While neutral walls play it safe, don’t be afraid to get adventurous! Dark furniture sets the stage for making a dramatic color statement. Rich, saturated jewel tones and deep shades of paint can complement dark finished wood beautifully when done right. Here are some captivating paint colors to consider:

  • Benjamin Moore Midnight Blue – A rich navy blue that feels bold yet sophisticated.
  • Sherwin-Williams Peppercorn – A deep, inky black that instantly amps up the drama.
  • Benjamin Moore Golden Straw – A vibrant, mustard yellow that contrasts nicely against dark woods.
  • Behr Canyon Echo – A moody, reddish-brown clay color that feels warm and welcoming.
  • Benjamin Moore Heirloom Tomato – An eye-catching bright red for a playful pop of color.

The key is to choose a rich paint color that relates to the undertones of the wood. For instance, cherry furniture pops against amber gold or garnet reds, while teak looks striking with ocean blues and emerald greens. Be selective about placement too – use bold colors only on accent walls or smaller spaces instead of entire large rooms for best results.

Matching Wall and Furniture Colors

While contrasting wall and furniture colors is the conventional choice, don’t overlook the dramatic impact of matching your walls to your dark wooden furniture. Using the same deep wood tones, blacks or chocolate browns on both the walls and furniture frames the furnishings elegantly. This ultra-moody look needs to be executed thoughtfully, as it can feel overwhelming or cave-like if applied improperly. Here are some tips:

  • Add visual interest by using two complementary dark colors on walls and furniture, like deep charcoal gray walls with espresso furniture.
  • Incorporate light carpeting or area rugs to break up the dark expanse.
  • Illuminate the space abundantly with ample lighting fixtures.
  • Anchor the room with a few bright white or metallic accessories.
  • Use dark colors only in intimate, smaller rooms or in moderation on accent walls.

Matching wall and furniture colors in rich moody tones can create a sophisticated, enveloping space when balanced out properly. Use textures, metals, lighting and accessories to keep it from feeling too somber.

Best Wall Colors for Popular Dark Furniture Types

Now that we’ve covered wall color options generally, let’s get more specific. Here are our recommended wall colors for some of the most popular types of dark wood furniture:

Mahogany Furniture

  • Benjamin Moore Spiced Apple – A rich red-based orange
  • Sherwin-Williams Online – A green/blue teal
  • Behr Turkish Coffee – A chocolate brown with red undertones

Walnut Furniture

  • Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter – A soft, warm gray
  • Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige – A light beige neutral
  • Behr Blueprint – A denim blue-gray

Espresso Furniture

  • Benjamin Moore Hale Navy – A classic navy blue
  • Sherwin-Williams Peppercorn – A deep, dark black
  • Behr Virtual Taupe – A grayish clay color

Cherry Furniture

  • Benjamin Moore Sweet Nectar – A peachy coral
  • Sherwin-Williams Amazing Gray – A light warm gray
  • Behr Cinnamon – A muted orange-brown

Maple Furniture

  • Benjamin Moore Horizon – A soft blue
  • Sherwin-Williams Mindful Gray – A calming grayish green
  • Behr Silverdrop – A pale, airy gray

Oak Furniture

  • Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal – A blackened charcoal gray
  • Sherwin-Williams Tricorn Black – A very deep matte black
  • Behr Peppercorn – A saturated blackish gray

Choose wall colors in the same color family or with similar undertones to the furniture wood for a seamless palette. Trust popular brand wall colors like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams or Behr as they are tried and true.

Paint Sheen Recommendations

Beyond just color, sheen is an important paint factor that impacts the look of dark furniture. Here are some sheen guidelines:

  • Flat/Matte Finish: Best for minimizing imperfect walls and a modern, streamlined look. Too flat of a finish can read dull and disappear into the furniture though.
  • Eggshell Finish: Provides subtle sheen while still hiding flaws well. A good middle ground sheen.
  • Satin Finish: The most popular choice as it’s sleek but not too shiny. Enhances wood tones well.
  • Semi-Gloss: Has a noticeable shine that makes it a bold pairing with dark furniture. Use sparingly on accent walls only.

Generally, satin and eggshell finishes are safest for balancing shine while keeping walls looking smooth. Semi-gloss has high reflectivity that can compete visually with furniture.

Tips for Decorating with Dark Walls and Furniture

It’s easy for a room to start feeling dark and heavy with black or espresso furniture. Here are some pro tips for keeping the space bright and uplifting:

  • Use large mirrors or reflective metallics to bounce light around.
  • Paint the ceiling and trim a light color to emphasize vertical space.
  • Add plenty of ambient lighting with table and floor lamps.
  • Choose lighter colored upholstered pieces and area rugs.
  • Display colorful art, pillows and florals for pops of brightness.
  • Keep windows unobstructed and maximize natural light.
  • Change out darker pieces seasonally for lighter rattan or painted furniture.

With strategic lighting, reflective surfaces and colorful accents, you can easily prevent a dark furniture palette from feeling too heavy or intense.


Finding wall colors that complement dark furniture requires thinking about undertones, sheen levels, lighting and room proportions. Neutral and earth-toned walls provide an easy, flexible base, while deep jewel tones and matching moody paint colors create serious drama. Remember to brighten up the space with plenty of light sources, mirrors and fresh white trim for the most appealing look. With the right wall color selection, your dark wood furniture will pop beautifully.