Color Guide: How to Use Black

Color Guide: How to Use Black

Black is the color of the night skies, ebony, caviar as well as coal. It was among the initial colors used in human art. It is timeless, deep, easy and elegant. It’s also associated with death, fear, mourning and wicked.

But all of your institutions — from witches to style — shameful is a serious color. As Henri Matisse said, “Black is a force.” And using it in decoration is a statement unto itself. It is positive and self-assured. It is chic and cryptic. But most of all, black is amazing.

Like all colors, black has variants. There is true black, which absorbs all light and is the opposite of white. However there are blacks with green undertones or purple undertones or blue undertones. There are rather dark charcoals that read as shameful, and ashy blacks which read as blossom. There are horizontal black and glistening black, and everything in between.

Many men and women suppose that using black decoration will make things look small and dark. But that is not always true. Black walls can seem as endless as the nighttime skies. They could seem to expand. And, of course, everything else stands out from this color: art, furniture, trim.

The trick, as always with color, is understanding which black to use and where to use it. Here are examples of black done right in all from a country kitchen into a mod living area.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti

Black to the Walls

Velvety black walls are so stunning, but they require good lighting. The art and the rest of the colorful decoration keep the room from feeling overly close or heavy. Black works so well in a vibrant, eclectic space like this one.

A white ceiling ashy black walls gives this dining area gravitas. Black, like white, permits you to use a complete crayon box of other colors in a room.


This whole area is painted in high gloss, so it reflects light even though the walls are all black. This works particularly well on timber paneling and trim.

Design Line Construction, Inc..

These timber panels in a lace black are so elegant, they’re almost imperial. The contrasting ceiling highlights the architectural details and allows a light to be reflected back into the room.

Elad Gonen

A deep black wall works even in a room filled with white and light. It is dramatic and stunning, and it will help create a separate dining area.

Dayka Robinson Designs

Why not the bedroom remind one of night? A black accent wall adds interest to a plain box of a room.

Maurizio Pellizzoni Ltd

This is shameful being playful. Contrasting glossy circles on a flat black background add texture and playfulness, but the appearance stays somber and refined.

Philip Nimmo Design

An all-black area with white trim is classic and crisp.

Jeri Koegel Photography

A glistening back wall within an eclectic bedroom is like a piece of art. It is reflective and textured, and it permits everything else to pop up.

Diego Alejandro Interior Design

Black is a fantastic color for transition spaces, like small halls and nooks. And art always looks gallery-worthy when it is hung on walls that are black.

Nicole Lanteri Design

More art hung on walls that are black. I really like this combination using the white trim and glistening wood floors. There is nothing more peculiar about it.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti

Blacks walls. Black ceiling. Black trim. If you have some natural lighting and lots of other colors, it may work. Notice how the black makes the mishmash of things on the wall look intentional and collage-like.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

A glistening black accent in a room filled with white. So elegant.

JONATHAN CALVERT | Interiors Photographer

Black and white will always be a great pair. This thorough panelling is crisp and architectural and requires good bones to pull away.

Dawna Jones Design

Therefore many eclectic modern rooms are large, white spaces. The accession of black gives this room some elegance and weight and helps emphasize the design.

Chalkboard paint does not have to be only for kids’ rooms and kitchens. It may incorporate a chic sense of pleasure to lots of different spaces.

Pinto Designs and Associates

Black at the Kitchen

A black and white kitchen. Black countertops are stunning, but they do reveal every piece of dust and crumb that lands on them.

Arnal Photography

The black walls within this kitchen pull out the veins and texture in the marble.

Dijeau Poage Construction

Black cabinetry is timeless and works in all from a New England farmhouse into an ubermodern attic.

Touches of Black

How amazing is that this black door? This kind of small and easy touch with this much effect.

Rachel Reider Interiors

Black doors and black bannisters. Classic.

When To Paint Your Front Door Black


Decorating With Black

A few black touches pop in this area but keep the palette neutral and subtle.

The Yellow Cape Cod

A black fireplace surround and mantel. Classic, simple, elegant.

Edwin Pepper Interiors

This is high drama all the way, in part because of the stark contrast between black and white.

Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

I adore this elegant, understated chic black chair. It makes every other bit of black in the area stand out.

Jerry Jacobs Design, Inc..

A black headboard works like a framework for the bed. And like white, it goes with everything.

Benjamin Moore Studio Finishes Chalkboard Paint, Black 307 – $16.95

Chalkboard paint. Elegant and playful.

Benjamin Moore Ben Paint, Black 2132-10 – $35.95

A real black. As with all paints, test before using. Colors will read differently depending on the texture of the walls along with the lighting in the room.


Tricorn Black (SW 6258)

Another authentic shameful, displayed at a flat finish.

Benjamin Moore

After Midnight CSP-630 Paint

Black with a blue undertone.

Benjamin Moore

Black Knight 2136-10 Paint

Black with a green undertone.


Bohemian Black SW6988 Paint

Black with a purple undertone.

Benjamin Moore Ben Paint, Soot 2129-20 – $35.95

An extremely dark charcoal which could read black in the right setting.


Black Swan SW6279 Paint

An extremely dark charcoal or ashy black.

F. Schumacher & Co..

Imperial Trellis, Onyx Gloss

A subtly textured black background that plays complete as much as routine.

Ferm Living Shop

Birds on Branches Wallpaper – $110

Black bird background.

Black Wallpaper: Do Not Be Afraid Of the Dark

Get a Knack for Black

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