Dark isn’t always the absence of light.

A dark palette can be surprisingly versatile. Call it elegant, dramatic and sophisticated or calm, cool and collected, but definitely call it a rich, neutral palette.

“Gray is the new black” is a favorite new saying. But it can take a practiced hand and the subtle use of layering to pull it off to best effect, as shown in this home with rooms designed and furnished by interior designers Kennon Springer and Sarah Goesling of Interior Perfection.

“People aren’t afraid of dark colors any longer. People respond to the palette and because gray is neutral, it has tremendous possibilities for pairing it with colors like yellow, orange, warm red, plum, soft whites that can take it in exciting directions,” Springer explained.

We’re getting comfortable with all shades of gray from the softest dove to deepest graphite. Grays can lean to the blue or green side or toward taupe and brown, for example. Often more than one shade of gray is incorporated into the space.

Here Springer moved up and down the spectrum from light to dark, interjecting woods for warmth and metallics for a little pop and visual interest. The walls have a subtle metallic sheen that had to be sprayed on for best effect, and rather than draw the space inward, the deep color causes the room’s edges to fall away, and the space to visually appear larger.

Texture plays a big role, he said. “Once you’re in the room, you start to notice the layers and textures of fabrics, the rug, the finishes on the furniture and the lighting.”

Lighting is key, Goesling said. “You need to consider the space and the natural light available, and the ambiant and task lighting you’ll need. Light plays off the sheen on the walls and the textures and can make a space feel warm or cold.”

A mix of luxurious and organic accessories offers great contrast to the sleek and refined look.

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