On April 14, Heather Vercellino, owner of Verce Design, presents the program “How to Create a Dark and Moody Interior” at the Michigan Design Center in Troy.

On April 14, Heather Vercellino, owner of Verce Design, presents the program “How to Create a Dark and Moody Interior” at the Michigan Design Center in Troy.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Presentation offers tips to create a dark, moody room

By: Maria Allard | Metro | Published May 2, 2023


METRO DETROIT — When a friend recently visited Heather Vercellino’s historic home in Detroit, she told her she felt like the living room was giving her a hug.

“What better comfort than to have that in your home?” Vercellino said.

On April 14, Vercellino, owner of Verce Design, which has a showroom at the Michigan Design Center in Troy, presented the program “How to Create a Dark and Moody Interior.”

For about an hour, Vercellino provided a number of tips regarding how to accent a dark-hued color palette to create drama and moodiness while still looking chic and cozy. About 30 people attended the event.

“The way I would describe a dark and moody interior is bringing in dark elements, bringing in bold accents. Don’t be afraid to go big,” Vercellino said. “It becomes a feature. One of my favorite inspirations I pull from is the old, European architecture. It’s just the craftsmanship is so beautiful.”

There are so many different ways to decorate a dark room, but sometimes people don’t explore all their options.

“Oftentimes when we are thinking about a space, we tend to put all of our focus on the floor, you know, the functional elements, our sofa, coffee table, our rugs, our accent table,” Vercellino said. “We’ll put everything that has weight on the floor and what you’ll find is the middle almost feels forgotten about. We tend to put some art on the walls and call it a day. That’s not what we want. We want to make sure we don’t forget about the middle of the room.”

Vercellino showed a PowerPoint presentation that featured some of her favorite designers, including Heidi Caillier Design.

Every room needs balance, according to Vercellino.

“Balance is an artwork. I don’t care whether you’re painting, doing design, architecture or sculpture, balance is crucial when designing a space,” she said. “Balance is the distribution of weight, objects, color, texture and space.

And don’t forget about the ceiling.

“In a design room, we call the ceiling the fifth wall,” Vercellino said. “Sometimes we forget about the fifth wall.”

If you want to paint it a dark color, go for it.

“Take a risk,” Vercellino encouraged. “If you’re going to make your ceiling dark, make sure you have (lighting).”

The designer continued talking about lighting options.

“A lot of people, especially in older homes, are trending toward using really small, profile flex mount light fixtures as opposed to can lights, just to kind of cherish the historic elements of the home,” Vercellino said. “We’ve got some unique flex mount (ceiling lights) that just draw your eye in a little more.”

Adding floor or table lamps or a sconce to a dark room is another way to accent a space.

“If you’ve got a picture on the wall, put a sconce behind it,”  Vercellino said. “You can do some that are hard-wired, and they also have Bluetooth lightbulbs. Floor mirrors are another source of light in the room.”

Depending on the architectural style of the room, crown molding and wood beams might be a good contrast against a room with dark-colored walls.

“Bring in natural elements, bring in the natural tones, different stones,” Vercellino said. “If you’ve got a black wall, put up a nice 4 foot by 5 foot piece of artwork. That black wall is going to let the artwork speak for itself.

“We tend to feel this need to push all the furniture to the sides,” Vercellino said. “Bring it together to create intimate areas. Maybe there are multiple areas throughout the room for conversation and community.”

Macomb Township resident Kathleen Yarema was among the attendees who learned several valuable tips during the presentation.

“I was curious about dark, moody rooms because of a bathroom I am working on,” Yarema said. “I like how she said, ‘It’s your house — do what you want.’ That’s how I’ve always felt. If I see something I like, I buy it. It works for me.”

Yarema has stayed up all hours of the night to finish a home project.

“I’ve always got a project because my mind doesn’t stop,” she said.

Other presentations are in the works at the MDC.

On May 19, the center will hold the event Launch! Tour: “Wallcoverings — An Easy Transformation.” The event will begin at 10 a.m. and will feature  designer Armina Kasprowicz from Armina Interiors.

Guests will learn how to transform a room in one bold move: the wallcovering. Kasprowicz will guide attendees through several MDC showrooms and discuss what to consider when picking out wallcoverings.   

If interested in attending the tour, contact Emily McDonald by May 17 at emc donald@michigandesign.com or call (248) 649-4772 to reserve your place. The tours are complimentary, but space is limited. Attendees are asked to arrive by 9:55 a.m. in MDC’s main lobby.

The MDC is located at 1700 Stutz Drive in Troy. For more information, visit www.michigandesign.com.