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Deciding Between the Extremes: Light & Airy Versus Dark & Moody Interior Design Schemes

Settling your home renovation project but can’t decide on a style just yet? Don’t worry, let’s take it step-by-step and start with a simpler, and more fundamental choice – the type of interior design scheme you prefer.

Here comes the big question: Are you more into the light & airy interior styles that are all the rage on Pinterest and Instagram? Or the exact opposite, where you prefer darker colour palettes that give rise to an overall moody and perhaps even more mature aesthetic?

Regardless of what answer you chose above, here are some inspirations from both camps to get you even more excited for whichever extreme you chose to go with!

Light & Airy Interior Design Scheme

In love with the light and airy aesthetic that you see all the time on social media and interior magazines? Us too! Wondering how you can achieve this look and feel for your own home? Make sure you incorporate these key elements to get it right:

White Walls & Ceilings

The most distinct feature of any light and airy interior has to be its white walls and ceilings. The reason? White is the most reflective colour, so it is chosen specially to help brighten up the space!


Let in Natural Light

Let there be light! With natural light, not only does the space automatically look and feel bigger, but you also get all the benefits of natural lighting – from being a great mood enhancer to energy savings. 

Don’t have large floor-to-ceiling windows? Minimize the use the heavy drapery or blinds that keep out that natural light.


Adhere to A Neutral Colour Palette

Want to incorporate some colour into the space? Don’t go too crazy, and make sure you stick with neutrals like earthy tones or light greys for your furniture and soft furnishings to keep that light and airy feel. 


Keep The Space Decluttered

Keeping the space neat is part and parcel of ensuring the space feels light. So, make sure to incorporate a smart storage design to help with keeping clutter away from sight.

Light & Airy Home Inspirations

Can’t seem to visualize how these elements come together to create the light and airy home that you love? Here are two homes that perfectly embody this aesthetic, all while injecting their personalities and style:

Interior Design Firm: Aestherior

The living and dining space of this Punggol Walk apartment is the epitome of light and airy interior design. From white walls, sheer drapes, earthy tones on their furnishings and fixtures, they have done everything right!

And that’s not all, they pushed the envelope even further with the smart incorporation of a modern glass partition to let in even more light across the rooms.

Interior Design Firm: Aestherior

And that’s not all! In the kitchen and bathroom, there are splashes of colour that are incorporated into the design, without once taking away from the overall bright and spacious feel.

Interior Design Firm: XK Ecostudio

Don’t like the idea of all-white walls? Pale wood ceiling to floor shelving units is a good alternative that helps break up the monotony of an all-white space, without dampening the brightness of the space. Works perfectly as seen in this spacious looking living and dining space of a Canberra HDB unit.

Interior Design Firm: XK Ecostudio

The smart use of glass partitions, in commonly cramped spaces like the bathrooms, kitchen, and study room, helps to let in natural light into the spaces, creating the optical illusion of a larger space.

Dark & Moody Interior Design Scheme

Prefer something a little more intimate, dramatic, or even with luxurious and industrial undertones? That’s the dark & moody interior for you! 

Want to achieve this tricky interior design without making your home feel claustrophobic? Here are some key elements to take note of:

Balance A Dark Colour Palette with Lighter Highlights

While a dark colour palette is critical to a dark and moody interior, you can easily prevent the space from feeling too heavy with dark colours like black, browns, and greys with a simple trick. By incorporating lighter highlights (like whites, or metallic tones) to break up the overwhelming dominance of the darker colour.


Incorporate Shiny and Glossy Surfaces

Reflective surfaces like mirrors, metals, and glass are used in dark and moody interior to help increase the sense of space. This counteracts the stifling feeling of the dark walls closing in on you.


Utilize Atmospheric Lighting to Set the Mood

In the absence of natural light, atmospheric lighting is key! From cove lights, industrial lighting fixtures, to spotlights, there are plenty of options to choose from to set the right mood in the room.


Don’t Be Afraid of Incorporating Colour

A dark palette doesn’t necessarily mean an absence of colour entirely. Don’t be afraid to pepper pops of colours throughout your rooms as a surprising contrasting visual element – but do it sparingly.

Dark & Moody Home Inspirations

Need some help in visualizing how a dark and moody interior design can work in the context of a Singaporean home? Here’s not one but two Singaporean apartments that have successfully made the dark and moody aesthetic work for them: 

Interior Design Firm: Aestherior
Interior Design Firm: Aestherior

The combination of black, dark greys and browns come together perfectly in this Yishun HDB flat, giving it a modern contemporary dark, and moody feel.

Note that it doesn’t feel at all claustrophobic, but in fact looks incredulously spacious? That’s thanks to the incorporation of sleek surfaces like the glossy tiles on the floor, the glossy laminates on the storage units, and even black glossy glass doors between rooms.

Interior Design Firm: 9 Creation

In another example, this Holland Ave flat makes use of light accents amidst dark colours to ensure that the space never looks too cramped and confined.


The abundance of atmospheric lighting in the spaces also ensures that one can create an appropriate setting – be it an intimate setting for relaxation, or a conducive setting for learning or working.

The Dark Side or The Bright Side: Which Side Are You On?

Want to find an interior designer that specializes in your choice of interior design scheme? 

Head over to IDMate, do a simple style quiz, and get matched with one of our talented Singapore IDs to help you with your dream home!

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