Back in Black: How to Do Dark Décor

Many homeowners shy away from the color black in their home decor — it’s dark and overwhelming, and that makes it feel scary and risky for interior design. This is a real shame, because black actually has a lot to offer when you use it right. Black is a timeless color that makes a statement, and works well in guiding the focus of a room.

We’re here to take the “scary” of out black, and get you started with tips for bringing the classy, sophisticated power of black into your home décor.

Start with Art

Decorating with black can take some getting used to, so start out small. Wall art, table lamps, shelf decor, and other decorative accents are easy to change out and experiment with. You might start by decorating with grayscale artwork, such as black and white photos or paintings. Or, you may replace all of the decorative items on your desk or coffee table with only pieces in the grayscale palette. As you adjust to the palette, you can layer in bigger and bolder pieces in black or dark gray, or switch out the old pieces where you please.

Be Bold in Small Spaces

Black is rarely a first-choice color for walls, because it can make large rooms seem dark and small. While it’s overwhelming to be surrounded by black on all sides, if you choose to paint the right area in black, it can work to accent your décor instead of distract from it.

Choose a small space between common areas, like the kitchen and living room. An entryway or bathroom is a good choice. Paint the walls a deep black for maximum impact, and then layer your décor over this dark background. In some ways, a black accent wall can make a small “in-between” space like this seem bigger because it gives the illusion that the room lines have disappeared.

Use Black to Establish Focus

If using black as the base color for your décor isn’t your style, you can strategically leverage black to draw the eyes to certain focal points. For example, black curtains help dress up a window. Black frames on photos, mirrors, and even beds create contrast against lighter backgrounds. A black chair can serve as a highlight to a room, to accent the rest of your lighter, or colored, décor. Determine where you want the eyes to focus when people walk into your space; then use black to contrast against other items and highlight an artistic, sleek, or otherwise beautiful focal point.

Accent with Gray Tones

Most of us aren’t ready to take the full plunge into dark black décor — after all, you don’t want to end up feeling like you live in a dark cave. Ease into the boldness of a black palette by starting with softer tones along the gray spectrum. A charcoal couch still makes a dramatic impact, without overwhelming the room or being too visually demanding. With gray as a neutral backdrop, you can easily choose any color to layer and accent the room with; whether it’s a lighter shade of gray, a black accent, or brighter options that give the room a pop of color.

Create Drama with Black Floors

Whether you stain your floors, re-tile them, or simply add a new rug; choosing to redo them in black is a great way to add drama to your space. Staining your floors black, or an otherwise dark color, often makes small blemishes or dents much harder to see. Throwing a black rug down can bring a level of sophistication to a room. Part of the appeal of the color black is that it leaves room for a lighter wall color, or colored accent items to take center stage. Try pairing black floors with white walls, for a classy look that really stands out when you walk into the room.

Mix and Match Black Patterns

If you’re going for a black color scheme, but nervous it will dim down your room, opt for black patterns instead of full solid black. In a black and white scheme, patterned furniture and accents can bring the black you love into the space while preserving that bright, reflective quality that gives a room a happy ambiance. In the bathroom, black and white patterned wallpaper makes a statement when contrasted against white cabinetry. In a living room, black and white (or black and gray) patterned throw pillows and wall art can add a pleasing aesthetic without enveloping the whole room in black.

With these tips in mind, it’s easy to create a beautiful, elegant, and timeless design that utilizes the drama of black without becoming overwhelming.