• Trends & Inspo  • Dark Neutral Interior Design Ideas from an Award-Winning Home
black and brown modern industrial kitchen design with grey floor tiles

Dark Neutral Interior Design Ideas from an Award-Winning Home

Eager to avoid the beige vibe at your palace and embrace some dark neutral interior design instead? I have so much inspiration for you in today’s post. So prepare to keep things subdued (but not stark) as I show you how to rock a look that’s anything but cold and clinical.

So often I get readers and clients coming to me asking how they can turn down the colour in their homes while avoiding that predictable white-on-white interior. It’s such a common approach to keep everything white when you’re doing a colourless room. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with that per se (and I have tips for creating light neutral spaces here if you need). But what if there was a way to go darker instead and still reap all the benefits of a toned-down interior?

It turns out there is, and it’s coming to us today via the genius design team at Metricon. Their Riviera show home, which is part of their signature brand of homes, is an award-winning game-changer. And it’s going to have you come across to the dark side once and for all. Let the swooning commence!

Once you’ve looked over this one, tour another of Metricon’s dark and moody display homes with me here.

open plan kitchen and dining room with dark grey floor tiles and cluster of black mesh pendants over table modern kitchen with black cabinets marble splashback and timber shelving

A Darker Palette that Still Feels Open

It’s such a misconception to think that dark neutral interior design in a home means gloomy, or small, or heavy. The photos from this stunning show home – situation in Sorrento, Queensland – prove that embracing a moodier palette results in a scheme that’s anything but dingy.

The expansive ground floor of this show home is absolute dark neutral goals. It’s designed for entertainment and a laidback lifestyle, with an expansive open plan kitchen, including butler’s pantry and wet bar. It overlooks the large dining room and alfresco area, making the entire zone the undisputed hub of the home. What’s so good about these rooms is how open they feel despite how many darker elements there are throughout them.

This didn’t happen by accident, of course, but rather through a clever balancing of colours and materials. Black, charcoal, white and brown tones all play together wonderfully here, but you’ll notice white doesn’t completely dominate. The lush greenery you can see beyond the windows provides a subtle hint of colour as well; keeping the vibe earthy and organic.

dark moody dining room with tan leather dining chairs and black rug brown timber dining table modern home with bi fold doors leading out to alfresco area metricon riviera show home chic modern bar with white vein marble splashback metricon riviera show home

A Clever Use of White in the Space

Don’t assume that a darker design plan means a black or grey canvas. By keeping the shell of the ground floor white, the team could then get more adventurous with darker flooring, window frames and cabinetry colours.

One look at the kitchen in this home is enough to make you realise that it’s well and truly time to move beyond white shaker door profiles. The black cabinetry not only allows the appliances to fade into the background, but it creates such a striking contrast between it and the walnut shelving and veined stone splashback.

The result of this considered colour palette is a ground floor entertainers paradise that feels warm and welcoming, while seamlessly blending the indoor and outdoor spaces. The grey tiles also go a long way in making the internal and external zones read as one, and the stunning bi-fold doors don’t hurt either.

Notice there’s not a lot of shimmer and shine here: many of the materials are matte finish, which keeps it sophisticated without the blingy feel.

modern dining room with black table and tan leather dining chairs

dark neutral bedroom ideas patterned wallpaper in master bedroom with dark headboard

modern dark neutral living room with marble feature wall with timber accents and luxe furniture

Warm Decorative Elements

Sometimes when people choose to embrace a dark neutral interior design scheme, the spaces lack warmth. Often the rookie error people make is having a lot of black and then accenting it with white and metallics like chrome. This can make the room read as quite cold, especially in zones with tiles or stone.

What the team at Metricon have done in this home though is introduce a lot of warm colours and materials to balance out those colder tiles and marble. You’ll notice this in the choice of dining table and chairs, as well as the wallpaper, window treatments and accessories in the living room.

Just that little pop of mustard in the velvet cushion on the sofa above is enough to add some warmth to the space.

Even in the upstairs bedroom you’ll notice how warm and inviting it feels, even though there are so many dark colours at play. I really admire the choice of wallpaper in this zone as well. It’s one of the elements that takes your property from house to home. It’s also nice to see sheer curtains that veer away from white, don’t you think?

marble vein feature wall in dark moody bathroom with grey floor tiles bathroom with matte grey wall tiles white floating stone vanity and shaving cabinet modern laundry with white subway tiles and brown cabinets grey grout

Wet Zones are Equally Impressive

The dark neutral interior design ideas just keep coming, and span well beyond the living space in the Riviera show home. The bathrooms in this property adopt that same sense of balance, with gorgeous cool white marble contrasting beautifully with warm timbers and moody charcoal floor tiles. Gold accents in the decorative accessories introduce a warmth and luxury in small moments too.

If you love a hotel-inspired bathroom vibe, tour this bathroom and get tips to rock the luxe look.

Even the laundry keeps this darker vibe as well, which is such a welcome change from all the light and bright laundries we’ve seen in homes the last few decades. I hope this is a trend that catches on because it’s a really successful approach.

And again, not all of the elements are dark. The white subway tiles provide a nice sense of interest and the white walls allow for some visual rest to take place. One of the many things the design team at Metricon do so well is produce homes with a wonderful sense of cohesion; a design that is seamless with rooms connecting stylistically.

modern black and white kitchen metricon riviera show home

metricon riviera show home dark neutral interior design grey modern home facade

You Can See this Show Home in Person

Time is running out to tour Metricon’s iconic Riviera show home, with the stunning property set to close in November 2020. The impressive home won ‘Queensland Display Home of the Year’ in the 2019 HIA-CSR Queensland Housing Awards and it’s easy to see why.

Metricon Design Director, Adrian Popple, is especially proud of the home, which has custom home builders in Queensland considering Metricon to be a serious rival.

He said, “For me to sit down, get creative and design something completely different was really exciting. Then to see it hit the ground and know that people are loving it, that’s what makes it all worthwhile”.

Visit the Riviera at 92 Campbell Street, Sorrento, Saturday-Wednesday from 10.00-17.00, or to view Metricon’s current innovative designs, visit www.metricon.com.au

I hope you for some dark neutral interior design ideas for your place from this post. Drop me a comment below and share what you’re enjoying about this vibe. I’d love to hear from you!

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He's also spent time on TV, on Channel 10's Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7's Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

  • Karen Stevens


    Hey Chris ! I’m so happy you’ve blogged this home! I initially found the photo of the kitchen last year on Pinterest and have been frothing and swooning over everything about it for about 12 months! Would have loved to replicate everything about it but have instead based a lot of our prestart selections on the colour and layouts from these photos.
    Love everything about it. We are doing polished concrete floors throughout so have gone with warm white tops rather than the grey with a mirror splash back. Love the pattern in this splash back but worried it would be too busy with a concrete (terrazzo look) floor.
    Thanks again for vibing this home. It’s saved in all my layouts !

    7 September, 2020
  • Kate Palmer


    Oh this is beautiful!

    8 September, 2020
  • Sharon


    This house is huge. It is obviously a paid commercial.
    What about showing examples of small houses as well.
    No wonder Australia is in so much debt.

    9 September, 2020
  • Jane


    This home is beautiful. Based my kitchen off this beauty. Can’t wait to see it come to life. How amazing is the Rivera though

    11 September, 2020
  • Lizzy


    Hi Chris, I love this style. Thanks for sharing it. I have dark Jarrah timber floors and struggle pairing things with it – I feel like any other timber clashes with the jarrah colour. I tend to gravitate toward black. But this blog gives me hope! Any tips styling rooms with jarrah floors? Thank you.

    12 September, 2020

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