Dear Mary Rose,
Hello Mary Rose, can you help me? I have just moved into a new house with my parents and, since we're renting, we can't paint the walls. Unfortunately the walls of my room are pale yellow! So un-goth! Do you have any advice for how to make my room look gothier despite the wall color?
Hello Ellie! Yes, I do think I can help. Like you, my bedroom color is pretty not Goth. I've got robin's egg blue colored walls and, while they're pretty, they don't match much of anything. While I had plans on and off to paint the walls gray for several years, it stopped being a high priority when I went off to college and started only spending four months of the year at home.
My room, 2012
So, here's my advice for making the best of what you have:
If you have a really interesting focal point to your room you can draw attention from the wall color and make it impact less. Your distraction can be anything that you think makes your room special. Beds are the most obvious option because they tend to take up the most physical space in a room, so deck yours with a canopy, a beautiful headboard, or an interesting bedspread.
In my room, the distraction I tried to make for myself is the bookshelf area, which features an amazing piece of art by tumblr user jaynejezebelle and is framed by black curtains. It's the space I mostly look at while I'm on my bed, so it makes sense for me.
This kitchen is painted a pale yellow cream color, but that's not what you were looking at, were you? I thought not. ;)
If you can't change the wall color, try to cover it up with things that are the color you want. Posters, tapestries, cork boards, photographs, or even pieces of clothing can serve as interesting wall decor while hiding as much of the wall color as possible. There are also brands of removable wallpaper, but they do tend to be rather expensive so it probably wouldn't be the best idea for short term accommodations.
A note about safety: If you are using fabric wall hangings, tapestries, or clothing, please please please please please mind any candles you might be using. Do not leave them next to (or under!) the fabric on your walls and extinguish them before leaving the room.
Posing a big baroque mirror like this one across from something dark will both cover the yellow wall and reflect darkness into the room. Or, if you pose it across from the window it will provide light to keep all of the black things you've added to cover the yellow from drowning you.
Add Spook Elsewhere
If you have an unusual wallcolor, you probably won't be able to get away with "un-goth" details and still end up with a Goth look. I'm not asking that you throw away everything that isn't Goth, but if you want the room to stay spooky looking then definitely expect to add more Goth details to balance out. Luckily for you, it's Halloween season! so it's the perfect time to shop for Goth decor at your local crafts or department store.
Another note: Unless your mess is really spooky, like you've got coffins and bats scattered about everywhere, mess tends to make a room look less Goth. Keeping things tidy will help your aesthetic a lot.
While pale yellow isn't a very easy color to integrate with black without looking like a bumble bee, you can do your best to incorporate little bits of it into your decor so it looks like less of a mis-match. Gold and yellow details in your hardware or other pieces of decor will complement it nicely. By the same token, try not to use a color that clashes. Purple might be a lovely and Goth-y color, but it will make the yellow stand out more. If you must have it, keep it away from the walls so the distinction is less obvious.
If you're into medieval and tuscan decor, I find that a lot of rooms with that inspiration have yellow or cream walls. Just add wrought-iron, natural wood, and rustic details and you have a beautiful tuscan-like room.
I hope that helps! Readers, what advice would you give Ellie to help work her way around an unfortunate wall color?
And, as always, feel free to send me a mail and suggest topics or ask a question.