Shea McGee's pantry remodel proves that dark colors are the stylish way forward for small, light-lacking spaces

A shift away from decorating with light neutrals, Shea McGee's dark green pantry feels moody, cozy and perfectly on trend

Shea McGee in Studio McGee kitchen
(Image credit: Studio McGee)

Decorating a pantry can be the perfect opportunity to let creativity flow. Although a purely functional space, small rooms like these can handle a more experimental approach to decor, since they're often out of sight from a home's main living area. 

Shea McGee's very own, newly decorated pantry proves exactly that. Making a statement by channeling a dark green paint across all of the cabinets, the pantry forms part of the interior designer's wider family home remodel – and it's arguably one of the most dramatic changes yet. 

Although Shea McGee's signature style is widely known for its pared-back look and neutral color schemes, the designer opted for a brave new look in the pantry, making a change from its previously all-white color scheme. Safe to say we're obsessed with the transformation, and it's giving us all the more reason to delve deeper into the design world's current trend around decorating with dark, moody hues. 

So far this year, we've seen endless appreciation for decorating with dark hues, creating spaces that feel cozy yet sophisticated. Trending forest green has been embraced widely, from Joanna Gaines' Rose Shed to dark green kitchen cabinets topping the kitchen trends.  

It's no surprise then to see Shea McGee channeling this color trend in her own home, proving that this look is here to stay. By doing so in the pantry, the interior designer maintains a light and airy look throughout the rest of her home, but demonstrates how you can afford to go a bit bolder in these slightly hidden, smaller spaces.

'Going dark in the pantry is something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time,' explains Shea. 'It is a window-less, small space, and it’s going to feel like a window-less, small space, regardless of the color of the cabinets. And going dark and dramatic just felt like a really fun surprise in this small room.'

Since the existing pantry was painted white, the new color scheme shows just how much of a transformation changing your paint ideas can make. Shea explains that the cabinet color is the only thing to have changed during its remodel: 'Everything, except for the paint color and styling, has stayed the same. So, the countertops, the backsplash, the faucet, the hardware... it is really the paint that has completely transformed the feeling in here.'

Shea McGee
Shea McGee

Interior designer, Shea McGee founded her iconic design firm, Studio McGee, with her husband Syd in 2014. They later launched their e-commerce brand, McGee & Co, and starred in their very own Netflix show, Dream Home Makeover.

red pantry with open shelving

(Image credit: Alice Grace Interiors)

Often, people think that small rooms that don't have much natural light should be balanced by decorating with bright whites to counteract their lack of light. While there's some truth in this, the opposite approach can be far more effective. Instead of trying to make a naturally dark room appear light, lean into its darkness for a moody scheme. By using a prominent dark paint color, as Shea does, you'll end up with a space that feels embracing and cozy, while these hues also tend to feel sophisticated. 

Green room ideas appear to be one of the most popular dark color trends at the moment, but other colors will create a similar look. Farrow & Ball's Railings is a blue-black that is perfect for creating a classic, timeless space. Or, tap into the unexpected red trend with Backdrop's Self-Portrait, a rich wine color that will create a look just like the pantry space pictured above, designed by Alice Grace Interiors. If you want to keep in line with Shea's aesthetic, then opt for the very paint color used in her pantry space: Inspiration by Portola Paints

If you're feeling inspired to experiment with dark color trends, the pantry is a great space to do so, especially if you normally prefer decorating with neutrals. Of course, you can also follow the same approach in other small spaces throughout you home, such as in a laundry room or utility room or cozy nook.

Paint & Color Editor

Emily is H&G's Paint & Color Editor, covering all things color across interior design and home decor. She joined the team in the summer of 2023, having studied Fashion Communication at university before working in various creative roles ahead of making the leap into interiors. She lives in Glasgow where she loves admiring the city's architecture, frequenting her favorite coffee spots, and sourcing vintage furniture for her tenement apartment. Emily's interior style is inspired by the simplicity of midcentury design, mixed with more playful modern pieces that inject small (but bold) doses of color.