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Decorating with Black
Black is the go-to neutral of the fashion world, but it can also work wonders in a design setting. A painted black wall looks spectacular in the right room, and even smaller hits of the hue - a table lamp, for example, or window trim - deliver big impact. As a general rule, black décor looks best in spaces with plenty of light, white and reflective surfaces. Here are some ideas for dark side experimentation:
Want a larger dose of black in your home? Look to your walls, doors, moulding and trim.
- Black walls make a space feel smaller, but they can be a good choice for rooms with lighter floors and big windows because the amount of natural light will prevent the space from feeling too dark or cramped. Matte black chalkboard walls are a fun option for kitchens, mud rooms or kids' rooms.
- Not sure about black paint? Consider black floral or textured black wallpaper for a statement wall treatment.
- If you're nervous about covering a large area with black paint, try a narrower strip of wall that divides two rooms (or areas in a room) or a wall with a large doorway or windows. You can also turn traditional country style on its head by painting beaded-board wainscotting black and the top portion of your walls white.
- Another alternative to using black paint on a full wall is to use it on baseboards, moulding or window and door trim to add definition against light neutral walls.
Solid or patterned black flooring suits both contemporary and traditional settings. A word of warning: Dark floors show more dust, pet hair and scratches, so be prepared for extra upkeep.
- Give older scuffed hardwood a whole new look with a coat of black paint or stain. Prep floors with a light sanding before starting the job and ask a paint associate for help in choosing the right formula. Glossy black paint adds polished sheen - especially when set against white walls or cabinetry - but often highlights flaws in floorboards (which isn't always a bad thing). A matte finish is more forgiving, but doesn't reflect light as well.
- For an even bolder look, consider painting black and white designs on your floor. You can try stripes using your floorboards as a guide (this can also be a creative solution to updating old kitchen tiles) or a trendy-but-classic chevron pattern.
- Black and white patterned floors can also be achieved using tile - for example, a classic checkerboard pattern, which looks striking in a kitchen, bathroom or front hall.
Black accessories draw the eye to certain areas of a room and have a timeless appeal, making them adaptable if your décor tastes change. Here are some ideas:
- Black area rugs provide contrast and coziness against lighter wood or white floors. Try a solid black shag rug or one with a pattern like stripes or paisley.
- Upholstered black headboards provide a strong anchor for your bed, particularly when used against white, cream or gray walls.
- A black ottoman is a great accessory for a couch in a pale neutral. It can also double as a coffee table in a small space.
- Lighting that has a black shade or black hardware helps ground a room. Try a large-scale drum for glamour or blackened metal table lamps for a more subdued statement.
- Have an antique sideboard, desk, dresser or table that needs refinishing? A coat of matte or high-gloss black paint could be just what it needs to fit into a more contemporary space.
- A gallery wall of black-framed photos adds the perfect punch of dark along a staircase or in a hallway. A series of black-framed mirrors in different shapes and sizes also does the trick.
- Black drapery is an elegant window treatment choice, especially in a more traditional space. However, be sure to choose material and texture carefully to avoid an overly heavy look.
Black can be an intimidating colour to decorate with, but there are several ways to make it work in your home. Start small if you're unsure and evaluate what rooms in your home are best suited to dark accents. The good news? Whether it's a new lampshade or freshly painted floors, your efforts won't go unnoticed - black isn't a colour that fades into the background.