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How to Create Dramatic Rooms

Use Flea Market Finds to Create a Dramatic Space


How to Create Dramatic Rooms

Dramatic interiors aren't reserved for those with big budgets for the latest designer furnishings. Creating drama is about creating atmosphere and setting the mood. Though you may imagine flea market furnishings as best suited for cottage, shabby chic, or country decor, you can actually find the pieces you need for almost any decorating style -- including the dramatic look

Color Schemes

Color is one of the keys to creating mood and atmosphere. Complementary and triadic color schemes based on the color wheel are tasteful, but they're using not dramatic. You can instead opt for a monochromatic color scheme that uses a range of shades and tints based on the same color. Analogous colors, which sit next to each other on the color wheel, are also ideal for creating a dramatic look. High contrast combinations of bold, saturated colors are another option if you enjoy an intense look. Classic black and white also works for dramatic rooms, especially if you pop the stark look with a few bright accents.

In addition to using the right colors for your furnishings, be sure to use bold color on your walls. Your choices include deep colors, brights, and even black. When you choose woodwork and trim paint, consider using glossy black or a high-sheen version of your wall color instead of the traditional white or ivory.

Quantity and Collections

A collection of three to five objects looks tasteful and classic. To create a dramatic interior, take it further and use more. For example, if you're lining a mantle of the center of your dining table with a cluster of candlesticks, fill the space with candlesticks of varying heights, using as many as you can fit in the space. The way you hang your artwork is another example. Instead of hanging a single painting, hang an art grouping from floor to ceiling to create a dramatic accent wall.

Exaggerated Line and Shape

Choose furniture with exaggerated or overly stylized lines. A dramatic room isn't the place for turned farmhouse legs or straight, Shaker-inspired lines. Instead, opt for the low-slung sleek shapes of contemporary pieces, the organic subjects matters and whiplash curves of Art Nouveau, the exaggerated curves and angles of Art Deco, or even the overly ornate carving of the Victorian era. You can stick to a certain style and period, or mix them all in the same space. The key is making sure each piece is a statement piece. Don't worry if the pieces you find have cosmetic damage. As long as they're sturdy and intact, you can paint or refinish.


Lighting is key in creating a dramatic room. You can use sleek modern fixtures, ornate chandeliers and sconces, or a mix, but you need to include ambient, task, and accent lighting. You might hang a showstopping chandelier overhead, or opt for a ceiling filled with positionable spots. Choose eye-catching table lamps, such as one made from a big, sparkling geode. Use accent lighting to highlight different elements in the room and to create atmosphere. Good options include uplights in the corners of the room and picture lights to show off your artwork.


Though decorating a dramatic space calls for throwing out many of the conventional decorating rules, restraint is also part of the process. The eye won't notice the dramatic lighting, furniture and color if it's distracted by piles of magazines, ongoing craft projects or a room strewn with your children's toys. Those items just read as clutter, even though they may be necessary for the function and enjoyment of the room. You don't have to toss everything. Just integrate attractive storage into the space so you can hide them out of sight when they're not in use.

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