Dark and Stormy Decor

Image courtesy of Indulgy

I would describe my personal design style as being a bit dark and stormy. While I can appreciate things like country cottage and shabby chic, the sweetness of it isn’t something I naturally gravitate toward. Whether a room is traditional, contemporary or completely eclectic, I’m always looking for a bit of strangeness, something that can counter-balance the perfection. To me, dark and stormy style is all about finding that thing that makes a room edgy, interesting, and mysterious. It’s a room with a sexiness that makes you feel sexy by being in it. It doesn’t have to be a Goth-themed space. I’m not talking about darkness in the context of death and scary monsters, I’m talking about darkness that evokes a naughtiness, curiosity or steaminess.

Image courtesy of Sweet and Lovely Life
Image courtesy of Sweet and Lovely Life


Sometimes it’s one object that pushes a room in that specific direction and sometimes it’s a combination of things. More often than not it isn’t intentional. The room above would probably be considered contemporary, but the huge distressed mirror, the crystal chandelier, the loft-style room with the black fireplace surround…I imagine lit candles and glasses of wine and watching the stars through that gigantic window. It’s a super sexy space.

Image courtesy of snofox4
Image courtesy of snofox4

The right artwork can take a room into the dark and stormy category. The taillights on a darkened highway driving off into the night tells a story about anything you want it to depending on your mood. This photo would constantly draw me in and inspire me. I imagine this in a space with muted tones, soft fabrics, bright metals and bits of stone.

This photo is a great example of a room that feels dark and stormy to me. It’s a great mix but it’s the print that brings in the darkness. A large-scale battle between a squid and a whale is such an unexpected piece of art in such a contemporary space but it makes it so much less cookie-cutter than so many other muted loft-like rooms.

Bedroom by Interior Designer Betsy Burnham

The bedroom above is elegant,  contemporary, spare and interesting all at the same time. The four poster bed is over-the-top excellent, the Chinoiserie bench/chair at the end of the bed is gorgeous, and combined with that skull lamp, it becomes my idea of a dark and stormy space. I would feel powerful and in charge in that room – and that’s sexy!

Accessories are my favorite thing next to rugs for bringing a little sexy mystery to a space. In true Curiosity Shoppe style, I love naturally found animal skulls, broken bits of machinery, tiny doll hands, glass apothecary jars and so much more. When you do a search on “sexy rooms” endless images of floaty fabric, satin, black walls and/or naked women paintings seems to come up. Some of those things can indeed be dark and stormy, but for me, there has to be something a little odd for a space to make my list. For me, that strangeness can be something as simple as this pretty ceramic agave candle holder. It’s pointy, uncommon and dramatic. A few of these clustered on a table top or fireplace mantel would be amazing.

I would love to pair agave candle holders with this stormy take on a traditional Persian-style rug. Put them in a room with luxurious leather, steel, exposed brick and warm, sandalwood scented candles and you have the ingredients for a room that inspires languid afternoons and memorable evenings.

indexScent is hugely influential when it comes to setting a mood. Musks, wood, moss, tobacco, vanilla and amber are all dark and stormy scents that when mixed together, are intoxicating in a very good way. Whether you are snuggled under the covers on a rainy day or reading a book on the sofa, when a candle is burning nearly everything becomes sexier and you want to linger just a little bit longer.

Dark and stormy will inevitably mean different things to everyone, but hopefully  you can take inspiration from what makes my heart beat a little faster.

Happy Decorating!

Back to Main Site

You may also like


  1. I comment each time I like a article on a blog or I have something to contribute to the discussion. Usually it
    is triggered by the passion communicated in the article I read.

    And after this article Dark and Stormy Decor
    Style from Apartment 46 |. I was actually excited enough to post a comment 🙂 I actually do
    have 2 questions for you if you don’t mind.
    Could it be only me or do some of the responses appear as if
    they are written by brain dead people? 😛 And, if
    you are writing at additional online sites, I would like to keep up with you.
    Could you list every one of all your social pages like your linkedin profile,
    Facebook page or twitter feed?

  2. Hi Helen thank you so much for your comment. I write for Houzz also. Everyone has their own distinct opinions about design and style and thankfully there are enough designers for everyone. 🙂 I appreciate your kinds words and hope you have an awesome week! – Melisa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *