Article Photo

Paint it black

28 Nov 2019

With Black Friday growing in popularity each year, why not use this as inspiration and bring black into your home?

When it comes to interior decorating, black sometimes gets a bad rap. Some people tend to think decorating with black is dark or 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 versatile, dramatic, stylish and provides a necessary grounding effect. Black enhances the colours and shapes around it, can be used in any room, and blends in with any décor style. It can be masculine, feminine, serious, fun, severe, or romantic. It's all comes down to how you use it.

Black as an accent

It's an important design strategy for every room have a bit of black in it, even if it’s just a little. A true neutral, black gives the eye a place to rest. When you have too many light and airy colours with nothing to ground them, they can almost appear to be floating – which can be confusing to the eye.

You don't need to have a lot of black – unless you want to, of course. A few black picture frames on a wall, a black coffee table, black skirting boards or even something as simple as a detail on a lampshade or pillow will do the trick. Repetition is major principle of interior design, so it’s a good idea to use these little touches throughout a room to create a unified look.

Wall in Resene Dreamtime (left), Resene Mozart (right), Resene Black (arch outline) and Resene Alabaster (inside of arch), floor in Resene Half Stack with circular painted rug in Resene Alabaster, lampshade in Resene Black, table in Resene Blackjack, shelf in Resene Dreamtime and face statue in Resene Mozart.

Black might even be the element you need to tie pieces together that otherwise might not mesh. For example, you can put a series of photos or pieces of art together that are different styles and colours, and make them work by putting them all in black frames. Even though they're different, they instantly become cohesive.

Black as a wall colour

Wall, skirting boards, shelf and brackets in Resene Nocturnal, floor in Resene Viktor, side table in Resene Organic, pots, vases and tealight: Resene Paddock, Resene Seaweed, Resene Passport and Resene Ciderhouse.

Going for total drama with an all-black room is a popular idea, but it can be difficult look to obtain. And, depending on the direction your windows face, our harsh natural light can often work against the effect, making it look washed out.

But in the right space, such as a bedroom or bathroom, going black from tip to toe can make for a stunning space. Softer blacks like Resene Foundry, Resene Nocturnal, Resene Noir and Resene Zeus are excellent choices.

Top tip: See the Resene Whites & Neutrals collection, available in palettes or as a fandeck, for a range of neutrals from black and near-blacks through to off-whites.

Think of a black room as you would a little black dress – it's a great foundation, but you’ll need accessories to give it life. If black is your dominant wall colour, add architectural details like crown moulding, a picture rail or battens to keep it from looking flat.

Wall in Resene Quarter Bokara Grey, floor in Resene Eighth Bokara Grey, sideboard in Resene Eighth Bokara Grey, tall vase in Resene Despacito and basket in Resene Rose Gold metallic paint.

Be sure to use an accent colour to punch things up and keep the space from looking too stark. Hue wise, anything goes. Add a bold pink like Resene Pink Ribbon or an orange like Resene Jailbreak for excitement, a fresh baby blue like Resene Bluetooth or a green like Resene Nourish for softness, or try gold, silver or rose gold such as Resene Gold Dust, Resene Silver Lining or Resene Rose Gold metallic paint for glamorous sophistication.

If you're decorating with an entirely black and white scheme, incorporate a mixture of large, medium and small scale patterns along with solid black and solid white to add visual interest and depth. In a bedroom, try adding a few accents in Resene Wallpaper Collection FD23833 and Resene Wallpaper Collection FD23848 such as on the front of a dresser and the drawer of a night stand. Then, add in some black and white patterned bed linens and throw cushions.

Resene Wallpaper Collection FD23833 (left) and Resene Wallpaper Collection FD23848 (right).

Thinking about black wallpaper, there are a whole range of black designs in the Resene Wallpaper Collection that can make for a spectacular space when hung on all four walls. Resene Wallpaper Collection E384515 has a slight sparkle to its on trend palm tree pattern and can be used to create a glamorous space, especially when teamed with velvet and brass accents and art deco style furnishings. For even more interest, try it on the top portion of a wall above the dado line and use Resene Wallpaper Collection E384525 on the bottom portion of the wall.

Upper wall in Resene Wallpaper Collection E384515 and lower wall in Resene Wallpaper Collection E384525.

Try using a mix of different gloss levels for added visual texture. Matte finishes will absorb light and make the colour look darker, whereas semi-gloss or gloss finishes reflect the light and make the colour appear brighter and lighter. Black looks great in a flat or matte finish on walls, which will give it a velvety texture – try Resene SpaceCote Flat to get the look. High gloss black can be layered in through accents for added visual interest. Look to Resene Enamacryl waterborne enamel to get a gloss finish on furniture or trims.

styling Kate Alexander, Vanessa Nouwens​
images Bryce Carleton, Wendy Fenwick, Melanie Jenkins