Color drenching goes well beyond the simple accent wall. Like a monochromatic fantasy, the trend is all about a full-on, single-hue explosion across all surfaces in a room. In addition to the walls and ceilings, many objects and installations, such as window treatments and light fixtures, get the same color treatment. However, a single tone doesn’t necessarily mean monotony. When color drenching a room, many designers opt to play around with the paint’s finish, mixing in both gloss and matte across a variety of textures—such as wood or plaster—to create greater visual interest.
If you are ready to try some color drenching in your home, consider the following guide your north star. Below, AD shares tips on how to execute this new trend while sharing inspiring examples from around the world—so you’ll know what to expect before you reach for that roller.
Where did color drenching come from?
If you’re from the UK, where designers have long been open to saturating spaces in intense colors, color drenching might not be all that new to you. “We’re constantly being hit with new trends, but color drenching only deserves that trend label to a limited extent—it’s actually more of a technique,” explains Patrick O’Donnell, brand ambassador for the British paint and wallpaper manufacturer Farrow & Ball. What’s attractive about this approach, he says, is the seamless look that’s created when a single color is applied on every surface. “It’s a fantastic trick for allowing unspectacular details like radiators or overly prominent built-in cabinets to ‘disappear.’”
What is the benefit of color drenching?
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of color drenching is that it can make rooms look bigger. “Even if you only paint the walls and the moldings, the room will immediately appear calmer and tidier,” Patrick says. This effect is enhanced even more if you paint the ceilings—which is recommended if they’re high—the baseboards, doors, and door frames. “Especially in small rooms, this creates the illusion of height,” Patrick explains.
Can you color drench with a dark paint?
When choosing a color, your personal preferences will be your main guide, of course. However, there are other factors to consider too. If using color drenching to make a room appear larger, it’s best to steer clear of dark hues, such as navy blue, a deep Bordeaux, or a rich forest green. On the other hand, these hues do create a feeling of elegance and intimacy.
In the foyer of a Hillsborough, California, house, for example, interior designer Jon de la Cruz opted for black with a blue tinge. “The entrance area of the house is spacious. That’s why we completely immersed it in a dark blue-black—which also harmonizes with the adjoining rooms,” he explains. “We had the wood paneling painted with a semi-gloss finish, while the ceiling was full matte—so the contrasts of light and shadow look even more dramatic.”