Going Dark In the Bedroom


Above, top row: Valspar Sooty Lashes // Benjamin Moore Stonecutter // Benjamin Moore Soot // Bottom row: Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur // Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal // Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron

After ultimately nixing the first paint color for our funny little nook, we decided to go dark. Like, the paint chip (Narragansett Green by Ben Moore) looked straight up black, but in person, it’s the most beautiful shade of navy blue – or a deep forest green, depending on the light. As it turns out, going dark is addicting! We’ve been itching to paint another room just as bold, and with the recent addition of our huge, hunky windows, the bedroom felt like the most natural choice.

On the wall opposite the windows will be our closet, and we’ll be painting those doors (and all the trim in the room) bright white. This really only leaves the bed and pocket door walls to be the showstoppers, so we felt compelled to really go for it! While we knew we wanted dark, we did want a slight hit of color, preferably leaning towards blue or green. We did, however, throw in a warmer wild card – just to see.

Below, left to right: Valspar Sooty Lashes // Benjamin Moore Stonecutter // Benjamin Moore Soot // Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur // Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal // Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron


We picked up sample sizes at the store, and I painted each on a large piece of foam board and wrote the names on the back. We shifted them around the room throughout the day, holding different boards up against the pocket door, across from the window and behind our headboard. Both Scott and I had our favorites in mind before we began, so we did our best to not peek at the name of the colors as we did this; we wanted our decision to be based on what worked best in the room (not what we hoped would work best).

Not surprisingly, seeing each test board against our (awesomely 80s) headboard was the real game changer!


1) Valspar Sooty Lashes // 2) Benjamin Moore Stonecutter // 3) Benjamin Moore Soot // 4) Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur // 5) Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal // 6) Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron

Immediately, we could see some that were way too blue (#1) or way too green (#2). I had been pulling for Kendall Charcoal (#5) while our sample cans were being tinted in the store, but in our bright bedroom, it was too light and leaned much too warm for our taste. We both thought Soot (#3) would be a strong contender, and while we love that shade of black, we reminded ourselves that we did want some smidge of extra color. After ten minutes of The Headboard Test, we had it narrowed down to Raccoon Fur (#4) and Wrought Iron (#6), but in the end, Raccoon Fur had our hearts:


It’s nice and dark without being black black, and it has enough blue in it (and perhaps a hit of green?) to give it some oomph. As excited as I am about our choice, I’ve told Scott my concern for our less-than-straight ceilings. In some rooms – our bedroom included – there is a slight slope (nothing structural, just bothersome!) from one side of the room to the other, which is only noticeable along the ceiling line. (Blerg.) But! We’re going to go ahead and chalk this up to old house charm, because guys, we really, really (really) want a dark bedroom.

Raccoon Fur it is!

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  • Pedantka2.17.16 - 7:08 AM

    I did my bedroom in a very dark grey-green, and solved the ceiling problem by taping off and painting about 4″ on the ceiling itself, so I have a nice straight line. Bonus: it causes the corners to disappear, creating the illusion of a higher ceiling than there is in actuality.ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.17.16 - 8:10 AM

      Now that is an interesting solution!! Did you find that the shadows in the corners caused visual distraction, combined with the 4″ of paint on the ceiling?? I’m liking this idea…ReplyCancel

      • Kathi2.17.16 - 8:59 AM

        You could, alternatively, have the ceiling color come down onto the walls a couple of inches and make the line where the 2 paint colors meet, straight….not sure if this would make the room seem too short or if it would actually heighten the appearance of the room, but it’s worth a shot.ReplyCancel

      • Pedantka2.17.16 - 9:18 AM

        No; the shadows are pretty well absorbed by the paint colour. People don’t really notice the trick unless I point it out.ReplyCancel

        • Kim2.17.16 - 9:20 AM

          Cool, thanks! You’re giving us lots to think about.ReplyCancel

          • Kristin2.17.16 - 9:39 AM

            I was going to suggest this very thing, but Pedantka beat me to it. Our house has a picture rail about 2′ from the top of the ceiling, so we wrap the ceiling color down to that which creates a crisp horizontal line at the wall. It’s a great look in old houses with less than perfect ceilings. We don’t have the original ceilings – our plaster was completely rotten when we bought the shell, and so we installed resilient clips on the underside of the joists so that the ceilings would self-level. But I still love the look of the ceiling color on the top of the wall.

            However, in our Master Bath, we lowered the ceiling throughout the whole room so that we could run ductwork to all the surrounding rooms with no soffits. The ceiling is still very high, but about 10″ lower than the surrounding rooms, and in that room we have wainscoting about 2/3 way up the wall. Originally we painted the wainscoting white and the wall above was a dark charcoal. Ceiling is white. Even with that near perfect new ceiling, the line of the black against the white at the ceiling drives me NUTS. We’re redoing the room now and painting the wainscoting indigo and the top of the wall and ceiling the SAME color – white.

            So I’m rambling (sorry), but I’d seriously consider wrapping the color up on the ceiling, or dropping ceiling paint down on the wall, and striking a horizontal line. It’s just paint. You can always change it if you hate it, but I think you’ll like it better than accenting the slope.

          • Kim2.17.16 - 9:45 AM

            I cannot wait for Scott to read this. Such a huge help, you guys! I know myself, and I really think I’d drive myself crazy seeing that uneven line. I’m leaning more towards coming into the ceiling by 4 or 5 inches. Thank you so, so much!

          • Kara2.17.16 - 2:22 PM

            We did the same thing with a dark grey on our 1905-era plaster/crookedish walls – put a strip of painters tape down at the ceiling to give the illusion of a straight line – and it looks totally fine – from anything it opens up the room a bit, creating the illusion of more space

    • Rachel2.17.16 - 10:21 AM

      That is such a cool idea! I never would have thought of that.ReplyCancel

  • Sally2.17.16 - 7:10 AM

    Is there enough light coming into the room to consider painting the ceiling dark as well? Could be cosy!ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.17.16 - 8:12 AM

      We have considered this quite a bit! It does get a ton of light, but we really do lean a bit more traditional that way – in that, we love a white ceiling with our bright white trim! I’ve been looking at some inspirational house photos with dark ceilings, but we just don’t know if it’s for us.ReplyCancel

  • Elissa2.17.16 - 8:39 AM

    I love Raccoon Fur! Our bathroom is mostly tiled, but has a two foot gap along the top that was a horrid shade of beige. We rent, but I convinced my boyfriend to paint anyway and we picked three shades of dark blue-ish grey to test. My favorite going in was the Raccoon Fur, and I thought it looked the best, but the bf wanted something else. Since he was letting me go so dark, I let him pick the paint color – only for us to get it all painted and see that it was a terrible choice. So back to Lowe’s we went, and Raccoon Fur it was!

    I don’t think the ceiling is too much of a problem – old house charm, and all. Have you considered any sort of trim? Is that even an option with slightly sloping ceilings?ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.17.16 - 9:00 AM

      We are trying to understand how adding crown would even work with our sloped ceilings. They’re not THAT bad, but bad enough that we notice. BUT – old house charm and all. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Hannah@Eriesistibull2.17.16 - 8:40 AM

    We painted our bedroom a shade similar to your orI final favorite (Kendall Charcole). We get next to no light in our bedroom so it is perfect – moody and cozy without becoming too dark. It definitely would have been too light in that beautiful room! Can’t wait to see it painted!!ReplyCancel

  • Liz2.17.16 - 8:46 AM

    I just went through the same process, and landed on Ben Moore’s Witching Hour. Were it not for my SO, I would have painted the whole room but had to stop with just an accent wall (sigh). The big box store didn’t color match it perfectly (it’s too saturated, and I had to go back to have them add more black), but I’m in love!ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.17.16 - 9:02 AM

      That’s such a pretty color, too! It looks like it leans slightly blue? Raccoon Fur has a cooler undertone, but it doesn’t feel cold on our super big swatch. Fingers crossed!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly2.17.16 - 8:58 AM

    Please please please paint the ceiling, too! It’s so magical – when the ceiling is dark, it basically disappears and you get this amazing feeling of being outside at night. Instead of your ceilings feeling low, they DISAPPEAR! It’s truly incredible!ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.17.16 - 9:02 AM

      But we also don’t want to feel TOO enclosed. Hmm. Scott is going to kill you guys for encouraging the ideas in my head, haha!ReplyCancel

  • Steph M.2.17.16 - 8:58 AM

    Love that color!!ReplyCancel

  • Kathi2.17.16 - 9:01 AM

    You could, alternatively, have the ceiling color come down onto the walls a couple of inches and make the line where the 2 paint colors meet, straight….not sure if this would make the room seem too short or if it would actually heighten the appearance of the room, but it’s worth a shot.ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.17.16 - 9:07 AM

      We talked about that, too! Our ceilings are 9′ tall in the bedroom (maybe a touch higher than that?), but Scott was worried it would make the ceilings seem lower. I guess at this point we have 3 options:

      1) Embrace the crooked ceiling! This house is an old lady, after all.
      2) Paint a straight line INTO the ceiling by a few inches, or…
      3) Paint the whole ceiling.

      We’ll figure it out soon enough, I guess! :)ReplyCancel

  • Alexis2.17.16 - 9:17 AM

    So exciting! I have large bright windows in my room and decided to paint it a warm black. I love it so much, can’t wait to see how your room turns out!ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.17.16 - 9:20 AM

      Ooh, what color did you choose?!ReplyCancel

      • Alexis2.17.16 - 9:27 AM

        I’m trying to remember, I think it was Dunn Edwards Jet. I was reading through some of the comments, my room has a trim that is a foot down from the ceiling (I have 9′ ceilings in a 1920’s apartment) and I used this as my stopping place with white above. While I still love it, sometimes I wish I’d gone all the way to the ceiling. I say embrace the crooked!ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl2.17.16 - 9:23 AM

    Yea! I love it! This is very similar to what we have on our bedroom walls, but ours leans just a bit more navy (two 96-inch windows let in a LOT of light). I think you’re going to love it.

    I’d paint the ceiling except that I absolutely hate painting the ceiling. It’s such a pain. I’ve only done it on my porch after helping my mom and dad update their house several years back. I refuse. So much work. So many aching muscles. So much paint in the hair.ReplyCancel

  • Carol2.17.16 - 9:27 AM

    Be honest – did you choose raccoon fur after Daniel’s post about Pumpkin on Sunday? Haha!ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.17.16 - 9:31 AM

      I love Pumpkin the Raccoon! He was actually the first one to tell me about Pumpkin a few weeks ago. Maybe it was in my subconscious, ha!ReplyCancel

  • Whitney2.17.16 - 9:33 AM

    What an excruciating decision! I would never be able to decide. You definitely picked a color with an awesome paint name! :)ReplyCancel

  • Rachel2.17.16 - 10:19 AM

    Oooooh this is gonna look awesome! I was leaning Soot or Raccoon Fur looking at the picture with the painted panels, but then Raccoon Fur or Wrought Iron when looking at it against the headboard. Love your choice! I’m so excited to see the final product!ReplyCancel

  • Josh | The Kentucky Gent2.17.16 - 10:23 AM

    Really liked the charcoal too, until it was on the card – a little too light! Can’t wait to see the finished product.

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

    • Kim2.17.16 - 10:25 AM

      Lighting changes everything! I was rooting for it, too. But nope.ReplyCancel

  • misie2.17.16 - 11:21 AM

    Oooo nice method – must try this! Love those colors too – I don’t know that you could go wrong with any of them!ReplyCancel

  • Jenn2.17.16 - 11:40 AM

    We are going through a similar struggle in our room! Our bedroom wall has ten swatches on it, on all four walls. I talked Alex into a darker shade as we have a number of doors that will stay white in the room and a large window (not as beautiful as yours!) with great light.
    We’re also waffling about crown to hide some of the “charm” – the age of this building would allow it, but the vent/soffit layout is kind of tricky in a central area. I like the straight taping line below the ceiling to mask it, but with all of your space going onto the ceiling as described above could be a good option :)

  • Shay2.17.16 - 12:21 PM

    I’m another vote for the classic look of bringing the ceiling color (white) down to a picture railing. It’ll look amazing with charcoal! Even faking it without the railing looks good. Our bedroom is a bright teal and the dropped white really helps keep it from being overwhelming.

    We have high ceilings, and a very old house with wonky lines as well, the living room doesn’t have the picture railing like the bedrooms and the ceiling was painted the same color as the walls. It drives me nuts; even though it’s a light color it really shows the wonky lines.ReplyCancel

  • Meredith2.17.16 - 12:38 PM

    My bedroom has been Midnight Navy by Benjamin Moore for over two years and I still love it! It’s a small room and the dark color makes it feel so cozy; I get far and away the most compliments on that paint color over any other room in the house. It’s a deep navy/purple and I have white bedding and window treatments, so it doesn’t feel too enclosed. Excited to see how yours turns out!ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.17.16 - 12:44 PM

      Our funny little nook also gets the most compliments from friends and family, too, which is what is pushing us to take this leap! Plus, it’s right off of the open, light colored studio and cream-wallpapered laundry room.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah S2.17.16 - 1:12 PM

    We are also going dark in our Master! We will have 3 dark walls and one wall will be wood plank in a nice natural light wood. We still have yet to choose a color and so we have paint swatches all over our walls! You are much smarter with your foam boards!ReplyCancel

  • Kate S.2.17.16 - 1:54 PM

    I painted my master bedroom a very dark midnight blue. Best decision ever! We plan to move soon and I’ll be repainting my new bedroom in the same color. I love it that much. Hope you enjoy your dark walls just as much!ReplyCancel

  • Laura2.17.16 - 2:56 PM

    Can’t wait to see how it turns out! Grays are so difficult. My husband and I painted our bedroom gray and at the last second we chickened out with the darker color and chose one shade lighter… and we don’t like it. GAH! Should have gone with the darker one!ReplyCancel

  • Ryan2.17.16 - 4:14 PM

    We went dark in the bedroom using BM Chelsea Grey and copied AB Chao by painting the doors and the trim the same color. Our room has a picture rail (also painted dark) that helps create a strong line between the walls and the ceiling.

    It’s been almost two years and I still haven’t finished the last coat of paint on the doors or re hung the closet door because I have a wonky soft screw in one of the hinges (i removed and stripped all of the hardware since it was painted white) and it’s stripped. I can’t get that last hinge off the door and I’ve tried every stripped screw tool out there. I think I’ll have to just drill the entire thing out.

    I love the dark color on everything (used light curtains) and it makes our dark wood furniture look great.ReplyCancel

  • Brianna2.17.16 - 5:18 PM

    Love this post, because we just made the same leap! We were torn between BM Kendall Charcoal and Wrought Iron. We went with Wrought Iron, but it reads more “blue” than I wanted it to in our particular space. My brother and sister in law helped out and suggested not painting it right up to our wonky ceiling either. I would have loved to paint the ceiling itself but can’t it’s popcorn! Would love to live vicariously through you guys if you do though. ;) It would be positively cozy and cave-like!ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.17.16 - 8:04 PM

      Ahhh wrought iron! One of our faves, obviously. Do you have a photo of how high up the walls you went?! We’d love any inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Sage @ Plaster & Disaster2.17.16 - 7:21 PM

    Our bedroom is the first room I ever tried painting a dark color, and I love it so much. We went with “Black Pepper” by Benjamin Moore, and someday I think I want to paint it even darker (but I do love that it’s a warm blue/gray — I loved it so much I went dark in our small bathroom too (and painted the ceiling the same color in that space), and it’s all I can do now not to paint every other room in the house the same way :) Can’t wait to see how your room turns out, I think it will be stunning!ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.17.16 - 8:05 PM

      Pretty!! I think going dark when it’s in spaces that are more of a surprise – like a bedroom or bathroom – is so fun.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy2.18.16 - 6:21 PM

    My bf and I lived in an apartment not too long ago that had fake trim near the ceiling to straighten it out. What the apartment people did was they literally stopped painting the wall color a few inches away from the ceiling in a straight line and then painted the gap the ceiling color so then it would blend a little more and kind of straighten out the line of the ceiling! I thought it was pretty cool.

    Side note: I didn’t know you guys loved going to Jubilee! I work literally right there; I could walk if it wasn’t gross outside.ReplyCancel

  • I love your choices. We used Wrought Iron in our one bathroom and Hale Navy in our bedroom. You’re right that balancing them out with white and windows make them dramatic and not at all overwhelming. I like the idea of extending the ceiling colour a bit onto the walls (or vice versa) to help straighten things out.ReplyCancel

  • carrie @ brick city love2.19.16 - 12:35 PM

    I love Racoon Fur. Used it on the tub in my bathroom and I’m 90% sure that’s what I used on the lower cabinets in my kitchen.ReplyCancel

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  • Morgan7.17.17 - 10:20 PM

    Can you tell me what brand/color the white trim and closet is in the bedroom? I’m thinking of doing a Racoon Fur accent wall in my bedroom, but need a good white to coordinate painting the other walls.ReplyCancel


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