Conventional decor wisdom says that dark walls make a place look "smaller." We've never been one for rules in the first place, but we admit that occasionally, a dark paint job can make a room feel a bit claustrophobic. Usually, though, that's more of a problem with the room's floor plan and natural lighting rather than a color choice. When done right, a dark paint color doesn't have to make a room look like a stylish prison. Instead, it enhances any bright accessories and furnishings brought into the space.

Need proof? Look no further than these gorgeous rooms in our favorite color (as of this minute), navy blue.

Dark walls can enhance the look of white furnishings.
The Concourse Residences by Sunland (Living Room)
Flickr photo by Sunland Group

A near-black hue draws the eye to architectural details that might go unnoticed -- like crown molding.

Dark blue can go with nearly any color.

Inky blue brings out the luster in metallics.

It makes an unexpected choice for ceilings.

Dark colors bring out the texture of fabrics.

Navy walls makes a dramatic backdrop even for traditional furnishings.

A super-dark shade, like Benjamin Moore's "Hale Navy," sets off artwork amazingly.

Deep hues can harmonize rooms that have a few colors going on.

Midnight walls help "warm up" a room with lots of windows.

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  • Soft Blues

    Traditional <a href="" target="_blank">Feng Shui wisdom</a> says that blues can slow down heart rate and lower blood pressure. The most stress-reducing tones are soft, watery blues. "It reminds you of a beautiful blue sky or beautiful blue water, or the essence of a breeze," says Jordan. "They’re very soothing, calming colors for any space in your home.” <em>Color: SW 6771 Bathe Blue</em>

  • Gray Blues

    A light to medium shade of gray-blue can have a similar effect, says Jordan. <em>Color: SW 6242 Bracing Blue</em>

  • Aqua Blues

    Aqua shades, which are on the bluer side of the green spectrum, can be very calming, Jordan says. <em>Color: SW 6464 Aloe</em>

  • Pale Greens

    Beige greens and pale yellow-greens are the most stress-reducing shades in the green family, which can can to mind soothing nature scenes. In order to be calming, Jordan says, "They have to be pretty soft and less saturated.” <em>Color: SW 6736 Jocular Green</em>

  • Dusty Pinks

    Choose pinks that are on the paler or dustier side for a relaxing feel. “A hot pink room isn’t going to be very calming, but if you do something on the lighter end of the spectrum and somewhat on the gray side, those can be very soothing as well,” says Jordan. <em>Color: SW 6316 Rosy Outlook</em>

  • Lavenders

    Although purple can be an intense color, “Purples that are on the chalky, dusty side, or more muted shades of violets and lavenders and purples on the greyer side can be calmer." <em>Color: SW 6828 Rhapsody Lilac</em>

  • Beiges

    “On the warmer end of the spectrum, beiges and anything in that neutral category tend to be calming, and also warm grays," says Jordan. "When you start getting into true warm colors like oranges or yellows, those typically have more energy to them." <em>Color: SW 6106 Kilim Beige</em>

  • Pale Grays

    A light gray, especially when paired with blue or white elements, can create a relaxing atmosphere. "Gray is a perfect choice and can be layered with any of these colors to add to a serene space," says Jordan. <em>Color: SW 7058 Magnetic Gray</em>