Black can add a sense of luxury, drama, and wow factor wherever it’s used. There’s a misconception that too much of it can make a space dark and depressing, but when handled carefully, it is timeless and stylish. If you’re on the fence about trying this controversial shade in your home, read on to discover how to decorate with black in any room.
Black as the foundation
If black is to be the primary shade in an area, approach it like an ensemble of clothing. The same way you’d style an all-black outfit is how you should decorate your black bathroom or kitchen—with accessories and accent colours (such as off-white and soft taupe) that will lift and elevate the look.
In this bathroom (and the one below), matte-black walls are complemented by wood, white, or wood-effect tiles. Gold pendant lamps and indoor plants also balance the dark and prevent it from looking flat. With large windows and warm lighting, these predominantly ebony rooms are anything but gloomy!
The same can be said for the following minimalistic black kitchen with black cabinets. The trick is to select the right shade of black for the space, depending on how much natural light it gets. If it’s dim, opt for charcoal or dark grey, and avoid high gloss materials wherever possible. Satin finishes are ultra-luxe.
Lara Osseiran is a designer, stylist, and founder of Liv and Bloom, a home decor studio and blog in Montreal. She says it’s crucial to take your time selecting the right shade.
“Much like white, black has several undertones, so it’s best to apply a few samples to the surface in question and watch how the colour looks during different times of the day.”
– Lara Osseiran
While this bold design is not for the conservative, if you’re brave enough to push the envelope, you’ll be rewarded with a timeless look that smacks of Hollywood glam.
A grounding effect
As the darkest of them all, black gets a bad rap for being solemn, sombre, and intense. However, this hue has a grounding effect on interiors, giving your eye somewhere to rest when plenty of white or bright colours have been used.
In the living room above, inky shades appear in artworks, furniture, and accessories. However, the effect is calming, classy, and interesting. Whether it’s a side table, curtains, a bath, cushions, a few framed prints on a gallery wall, or a striking headboard, black can work in any environment.
In this living area, there are black and white patterns in various sizes along with solid black, white and grey, creating depth and visual interest. Natural elements (like greenery, wood, and woven baskets) and touches of gold keep the look warm and inviting.
You can be sure that if a space feels incomplete, a subtle addition of an asphalt-coloured side table, throw, or floor lamp could be just what’s needed to bring the design together.
As an accent
In many successful interior designs, black is simply the “cherry on top” or finishing touch, enhancing the shape, colour, and size of things around it. The bathroom below features dark mirrors, pendants, and basins, etc. which convey a sense of drama, create dimension, and make the pink and white walls pop. The result is a space that feels light, modern, expansive, and fun at the same time.
This is a great option if you’re unable to paint your walls or if the area in question lacks natural light. Instead, rely on hardware, ottomans, accent tables, lamps, candle holders and other accessories as these smaller touches will give you plenty of decorative bang.
In the kitchen above, black handles, lights, and bar stools prevent the stark white area from appearing too clinical or falling flat. These ebony embellishments complement the neutral fixtures perfectly, without being overbearing. Similarly, dark hardware is a quick and stylish way to add contrast to off-white or wooden cabinetry, as you will also see in the bathroom example below.
As a statement
Black can be serious, fun, harsh, or romantic—it all depends on how you handle it. If you’d like to make a statement, look no further than your windows. Crisp inky lines with soft drapes provide an instant contemporary edge and will frame the view outside.
Black-framed windows and doors are also chic and elegant dividers for hallways, kitchens, or bathrooms, as you’ll discover in the example below.
If you incorporate this shade in your home, a good rule of thumb is either to use it sparingly or make it the main event. “As much as black is a great colour, too much of it can create a sense of heaviness. If you use it in one space, add accents of it in other areas to create cohesiveness—but don’t overdo it," says Lara Osseiran. Steer clear of adding it in conjunction with other dark colours (such as navy, burgundy, or deep plum), but if you must, keep the black elements to a bare minimum and don’t bunch them.