Decorating With Black

The Importance of Using Black in Home Decor

black accents image
The black accents in this room tie everything together and create a grounding effect. flickr.com/Christopher Barson

When it comes to interior decorating black has gotten a bad rap. People tend to think decorating with black is dark and depressing. But this isn't the case. The reality is that at least a little bit of black is essential in every room. It's dramatic, stylish, and provides a grounding effect that is necessary in every interior. Just like a coating of mascara on the eyelashes, black enhances the colors and shapes around it.



The Versatility of Black

Black can be used in any room, in any style. Whether it's a sleek and modern couch or geometric patterned rug, or an elegant and feminine headboard or scrollwork table, black can be masculine, feminine, serious, fun, severe, or romantic. It's all about how you use it.

Black as an Accent

It's important that every room have just a little bit of black. It has a grounding effect that gives the eye a place to rest. When you have too many light and airy colors with nothing to ground them they can almost appear to be floating. It can be confusing to the eye.

You don't need to have a lot of black, just enough to tie things together. A few black picture frames on a wall, a black coffee table, black trim on the walls, or even something as simple as a little ribbon detail on a lampshade or pillow is enough. Even better? Do all of these things. Repetition is always a good idea in decorating so use these little touches throughout a room to create a unified look.



What's really great about using black as an accent is that it can tie a whole lot of pieces together that otherwise don't mesh. For example, you can put a series of photos or pieces of art together that are different styles and colors, and make them work by putting them all in black frames. Even though they're different they instantly become a unit.



Black as a Dominant Color
Although black is dark, a room that has black as its dominant color doesn't have to be.

Rules for Decorating with Black

  • If you're decorating with black and white be sure to use a mixture of large, small, and medium scale patterns along with solid black and solid white to create visual interest and depth.
  • If black is your dominant color (the wall color for example) add some architectural details like crown molding, a picture rail or wainscoting to keep it from looking flat.
  • Use an accent color in a black room to punch it up and keep it from being too stark. Anything goes. Add a bold pink or orange for excitement, baby blue or green for softness, or try gold or silver for glamorous sophistication (mirrored furniture and crystal accents are also great for that "Hollywood glam" look).
  • Think of a black room as you would a little black dress. It's a great foundation but you need accessories to give it life. Plan your room as you would an outfit.