This living room makeover will convince you to try dark paint colors

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Making a room feel larger usually involves lightening up the paint color — but in the case of the lobby of Hotel Pippa, the opposite is true.

The boutique hotel used to be a residential home and sits on the small island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, where it was built in the 1840s. The house underwent renovations beginning in January 2018, but the re-design remained true to the original feel of the space. TODAY spoke with designer Giovanna Lucy about her mission to transform it.

Before and after light to dark
Before, the room looked very basic and bland.Courtesy Hotel Pippa

“I walked into the lobby and I had sort of a vision of the room and I wanted it to be completely opposite of what it was,” said Lucy. “More light filled and airy with a modern, mid-century feel to the room.”

Since the room was originally white — the expected palette for a hotel in a beach town — Lucy wanted to flip the script on its head. So, she painted the room from floor to ceiling in a rich, dark hue.

Before and after light to dark
Now it's absolutely transformed by the dark paint!Courtesy Hotel Pippa

“I feel like when I walked into this project I just wanted to do something different,” said Lucy. “It’s dark and moody but cozy. It still feels homey and classic Nantucket, but with a modern flair.”

This sense of adventure was inspired by the hotel’s name, Pippa.

Before and after light to dark
A little basic and boring before the redesign.Courtesy Hotel Pippa

“We started looking at imagery and trying to figure out who the hotel was, and the owners (Chris and Asta, who prefer not to share their last names) liked the name Pippa,” said Lucy. “From there, we wanted to create a personality around who Pippa was or is.”


Other local inspirations included photographer Nathan Coe‘s gallery right across the street. Seeing Coe’s photographs helped the team identify the spirit of the hotel, starting with the photo they chose for lobby.

Before and after light to dark
The space looks completely elevated.Courtesy Hotel Pippa

“Seeing that photograph through Nathan’s images: Pippa’s spontaneous, she’s sexy, she’s a little risky, but conservative — and willing to try new things,” said Lucy. “I just played off of that.”

In addition to the paint color, Lucy chose to keep the original fireplace in order to remain true to the building’s integrity. She also opted for a super lush, comfortable couch to make the space feel cozy.

Before and after light to dark
It not only looks lighter, but cozier, too.Courtesy Hotel Pippa

For those looking to mix up the look in their own space, Lucy has some hard-won advice:

“Take a risk and try something new,” said Lucy. “I went dark and bold and I typically would maybe be a little bit more reserved in that way, but for that space and knowing the island I just took a different approach to it.”

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