I’m going the total opposite direction of yesterday’s Exuberant Color post and embracing the lack of color. I’ve recently discovered something new about myself. I find myself drawn over and over to those dramatic black and white rooms so….. I might be ready to really embrace black and try something really different.
As a designer, I’ve long held the belief that every room needs a little black. Black is a great foil for every other color under the sun – it makes other colors more vivid, more noticeable. Just like I advise all of you when you’re thinking of making a change, I started collecting pictures of rooms with a strong black focus.
Bold, Black, Beautiful
Oh my goodness – a whole black wall! Am I ready for that? But, I have to say, I absolutely love it against that crisp white and with the one bright pink accent. And the art becomes so visible and important on that black wall. I’m thinking that a black wall would really show any imperfections, more so than probably any other color, so I’ll definitely have to take that into consideration.
Another take on the same idea but this time the headboard is designed to contrast instead of blend in. I do think I’d need a splash of some really bright color.
Everthing looks so graphic against a black wall. In what appears to be a starkly white room, this accent wall takes center stage and the wood sculptures and leaf are the softening touches.
Unfortunately scanned photos capture color even less effectively than print, but this is actually a black fireplace wall. I love the darkness of the wall color contrasted by the big bright windows on each side. Small black lacquer tables serve as coffee tables in front of a neutral sofa. (Great mantel accessorizing, by the way.)
This black wall becomes the backdrop for the graphic element of mirrors. The other thing I learn from this photo is that the starkness of black and white can be softened and balanced with a large dose of a warmer neutral like this tan.
Now here’s a great idea! Black walls are used to create a separate intimate space at one end of a room. See how just the little niche is painted and then lightened with the natural rug and chairs? Maybe I can put that into play in my home…..
Here’s another way to use lots of black but without going “the whole wall” route. How about painting all the moldings and trim black? That wouldn’t work for me since I have a more modern house with only the narrow little baseboards. But I really like the bold architectural statement the painted door and surrounding molding makes as you look through this doorway.
Black and White
A simple white room is made dramatic and interesting by using lots of black. Once again, I need a jolt of color – maybe in art over the bed or bright lime rugs on each side of the bed.
I like this take on black, white and a little gray better. The patterned bedding is more interesting to me than a plain duvet cover and the tall black lamps flanking the bed are a great symmetrical touch.
Classy and organized and a good sprinkling of pattern makes this a classic example of a black and white room.
Even though toile definitely isn’t my style, I love using it in clients’ homes. It’s easy to blend other patterns with for a truly elegant look – I love the scale of these narrow stripes paired with the large scale toile. Crisp and pretty and elegant.\
Now, this is a room I totally love and is defnitely my style. Clean, straight lines, simple decor, stylish sinks and a cool, unusual mirror – I think I could even forego my “jolt of color” in this room.
Even kitchens in black and white can be alluring. As you all know from a previous Thumbs Up/Down about painted kitchen cabinets (click here to read our opinions), I’m not a fan. However, sometimes we have to open our minds to the possibilities……
This is a great room on many levels. The very traditional fireplace wall cabinetry is happily contrasted with more modern furnishings in the sofa and chaise (instead of the traditional 2 sofas) and then those fabulous houndstooth chairs. The whole room is anchored and warmed by the natural area rug.
Now here’s a room to test my resolve. Love the giant mirrors framed out in black and even the black vs white side chairs, but that rug kinda takes it over the top for me. Where the heck is your eye supposed to rest? Thank goodness the designer used clear coffee tables to reduce the busyness of the room.
Black and White and Color
Another great thing about black and white is that they create a dramatic foil for another color. The high contrast combo works well with any color and makes it even more vibrant or noticeable than it would be on its own.
My first impression of this room is NOT harsh and stark like with most high contrast black and white rooms. Why is that? Because the big wood bed sitting on a wood floor and topped with neutral bedding is so warm it counteracts the wall. And, here’s my jolt of color!
Black and You
So what’s your take on using black? Has anyone out there totally embraced using black as more than just a little accent here and there? If so, let me hear how you’re liking it before I go off and really get carried away.