you paint the walls of your home black? A bedroom?
Living room? Powder room? We’re not talking blackish
brown, as in bistre or chocolate. Or dark gray, a la
charcoal or arsenic. Or deep red — rosewood or wine.
We mean pure black: achromatic color of prehistoric cave
paintings, ancient Greek pottery and fictional 1980s
album art. (Remember the all-black LP cover from
"This Is Spinal Tap"? To quote lead guitarist
Nigel Tufnel, "It’s like, how much more black
could this be? And the answer is none. None more
a bold move in interiors but one that, if executed with
care, sets an unexpected tone of moody elegance. Here,
interior designers share some tips to know before going
extra care figuring out how you’ll light the space.
"Black literally absorbs light, so you won’t get
reflections from the walls bouncing the light
around," says interior designer Summer Thornton of
Chicago’s Summer Thornton Design. "It can be a
beautiful look, but you want to be able to see
too!" To ensure proper illumination, she suggests
adding some lamps and a decorative overhead light or
sconces with plenty of wattage. "By putting
everything on dimmers, you can create a really amazing
mood — either dark and sultry for evenings or bright
and light for daytime."
all the details. A black room can feel
super-sophisticated, but the polished effect is lost if
the hue (or lack thereof) isn’t carried through
completely. To avoid this, the pros behind Chicago-based
interior design firm Studio Gild recommend replacing all
visible light switches and outlets, including cover
plates, with a dark-finish switch and plate.
"Otherwise they can become an eyesore and distract
from the overall design intent," says
co-founder/principal Kristen Ekeland.
matters. A matte finish is not always the best choice
for dark paint. "Fingerprints and scuff marks can
end up leaving a chalky residue," Ekeland says.
Instead, go for a paint finish that is eggshell (halfway
between satin or semi-gloss) or a higher sheen. "It’s
more durable and successful at retaining the rich, deep
paint color over time."