Black Is the New Black

Back in Black

See how one of design’s most classic colors is taking center stage in 2018

The world isn’t always black and white, there are always shades of grey, right? 

Well, of course. But sometimes…sometimes, you just want to want to take a page out of Mick Jagger’s book and “paint it black.” 

Tailored and masculine. Sleek and sexy. Traditional and elegant. Quintessential and classic. Whether you dress it up as a focal point or dial it down as an accent color, there is a reason black is a perennial favorite (not-so-)neutral

Says home improvement expert and TV host Matt Muenster, “You always hear ‘___ is the new black.’ That’s because its appeal says, ‘I’m timeless, but I’m also bold.’ And, it’s very stylistically and architecturally versatile. You can use it to accent a traditional-style detail, or create a clean, modern statement.”

Black is the absence of all color, and readily absorbs light. Using black as a wall color can give a feeling of mystery, drama, or elegance. It can also be paired with metallics in a sleek and edgy design. Using black as an accent color is a great way to highlight other colors and make them pop or to add depth to a room. There are even shades of black (take that, grey), including ones featuring rich charcoal and indigo undertones.

Looking for some inspiration? Check out a few ways to incorporate black into your home today!

Simply stylish

A black accent wall paired with white linens and surrounding walls, neutral fixtures, and textured, coordinating accents in natural colors and materials make this bedroom a dreamy, Scandinavian-inspired haven.

Make mine metallic

From brass to copper, gold to silver, black pairs exceptionally well with metallics. Try a black and hammered brass combination like in the pendant light shown here for an updated, contemporary feel that gives a nod to traditional design. Blend old-world elegance with modern flair by mixing gold and black, like in the place settings below. Or, use black as the perfect backdrop for mixed metals like this kitchen that uses gold, copper, and silver all in one space. Who says you shouldn’t mix metals?

Back to basics 

Basic doesn’t have to mean bad. Black pairs beautifully with simple, yet bold, colors like navy and cobalt blues and deep greens. Go big with an entire accent wall, like in the bedroom below, or keep the black limited to accent pieces throughout the space, as these homeowners did in their “emerald isle” retreat, pictured second.

Window to the soul

If eyes are the window to the soul, then surely windows are the soul of the home. So why leave them out when we are considering interior design? Often overlooked in favor of lighter neutral colors when considering window trim, black blends beautifully into any home’s décor and brings a modern aesthetic to a space. Whether framing a view with a dramatic contrast or adding a note of refinement to a bright space, black allows nearby colors – including those outside – to flourish. 

Want to change up your home's look? Renewal by Andersen recently announced its new black interior option, as well as black hardware finish, meaning you can get the look you want without sacrificing performance and durability.

Go green

Whether black is your accent to green, green is there to complement the black, or the two are paired against another neutral, the coupling of the verdant and the noir always makes for a striking combination. 

Got a green thumb? Showcase an indoor garden or other natural materials against a black wall.

Set off a jewel-green wall with black furnishings and textiles—and those multi-faceted metallics, again!
Let your accents do the talking, as greens in a variety of shades and simple black lines and textures bring drama to an otherwise neutral room.

Soft and cozy

Black doesn’t have to be foreboding. When balanced by lighter furniture and deep-pile, light-color rugs, and soft pops of pink, this bedroom with smoky black walls feels cozy and inviting.

Instead of being gloomy, this den with furnishings, accents, and textiles all in shades of black and grey is an inviting and warm place to curl up in with a cup of tea.

Accentuate the positive

Black makes a great accent color if you want to take advantage of it in a less all-encompassing way. While home improvement bloggers Kim and Scott Vargo of Yellow Brick Home love playing with color, they also have an eye for the classics and a “a goal to stick with the hues we love the most (black, white and navy) for the permanent fixtures.”

Whether they incorporate it into small pieces, like this $2-garage-sale-chair makeover or as an accent-wall-that-isn’t-a-wall with their gorgeous staircase renovation below, black is the perfect way to accentuate the spaces they love. And for those tempted to take the plunge, but worried about picking  up the paint? Don’t be, they say. “Those first few strokes of black paint on white can feel intimidating, but my goodness, we are so glad to forged ahead. It’s a gorgeous color!”

Check out some of their other projects on their site—we especially love the laundry room (hint: black and white and metallic…and ostriches!). 

All in good taste

Kitchens are a great place to try black on for size. If you want a sweeping change, all black cabinetry is a dramatic touch. Or, keep the cabinets white, but paint the island black for a more subtle version of the look.

Want something permanent…but not quite as major of an overhaul a new cabinetry? Try a backsplash—this twist on the classic subway tiles pops in a white kitchen. 

Farmhouse fabulous

Talk about a classic—farmhouse style, with its nod to yesteryear—is a classic blend of old and new. Today’s farmhouse uses matte black as an accent, and pairs it with white, warm wood details, gold tones, vintage lighting, trough sinks, homespun/woolen fabrics, cement elements, subway tile, and clean-lined cabinetry (often Shaker-style). 

Patterns that pop

Black may be a timeless neutral, but there’s no reason it can’t be incorporated into rising trends. From the bold geometrics in this bright bedroom to the baroque swirls on a kitchen backsplash to the pairing of both in the living room below, black makes patterns pop—in a variety of design styles.

This fun and funky Mondrian-esque project from the duo at Plaster & Disaster incorporates black as an accent color in a hallway runner. Black provides a nice balance to the primary colors and keeps it fun and energetic, without being cartoonish. 

Says Naomi, one half of Plaster & Disaster, “It is definitely a ‘more is more’ kind of rug, and I love it … I really wanted to make this hallway a bright color … so this scratches a major itch for me to make this transitional space bold and in-your-face. The pattern … goes well with the rest of our house, but it isn’t totally matchy-matchy. It brings in a different element, with some black and a more modern pattern.” 

Fab Face Forward

You never get a chance to make a first impression…the same is true for your house. Your front door is the first thing that greets visitors, so why not make a statement?

Pair a black front door with a metallic, clean lines, and bright, trend-forward colors, and you have a sleek and edgy design. Or, use a black door as an accent color making other colors like natural wood tones, pop.

Because black goes with everything, it is a great choice for a home with a more patterned exterior, such as brick, stone, or a combination. While a white or vibrantly hued front door might contrast too much or appear too busy, a glossy black front door ties everything together.

What’s “popular” comes and goes; the most important factor to consider is how a color makes YOU feel when you are in your space. Which is why black is such an intriguing option—there are so many ways to use it.

Whether you want to create a relaxing retreat, spark creativity, enhance conversation, or get motivated for the day…your options are myriad. Use the suggestions listed above as a starting point and capitalize on this classic, yet trend-forward, color’s timeless appeal.

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