Beyond Classic: Create a Glamorous Look with Black

Trying to keep up with the latest trends and must-use colors in home décor is sometimes enough to make your head spin. Fortunately, one classic color has major staying power and never goes out of style: black. Super chic and versatile, black is like the ultimate neutral and works with any color palette in every room of the home.

Summer Wick, marketing project manager for Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co., owner of Cascade Vintage & Co., and a design blogger, uses black in numerous ways in her Pacific Northwest home. She loves the color’s versatility and timelessness. “When designing, consider black as a go-to neutral that will stick around for generations,” she says.

Use Black Like a Pro

Black is the backbone of Wick’s color scheme, and she uses the color throughout her home in ways that look modern and elegant, never dreary or goth. For a big impact inside, she painted the fireplace and the accompanying wall black. Outside, the home’s entire exterior got a facelift with — that’s right — black paint. Wick uses lots of black accents throughout the rest of the house as well — glossy picture frames, black-and-white linens and throw pillows, a black-and-white striped accent wall in the kitchen, and black dining chairs and barstools.

In most cases, she uses black as a bold backdrop for other colors and patterns, balancing it with design elements that add warmth and light to keep it from feeling funereal: white walls, wood flooring and paneling, a mix of colors and patterns, bright natural light from large windows, and lots of green, leafy plants.

Pay attention to light and harmony among design pieces to keep black from feeling gloomy or suffocating. “Black can, surprisingly, make a room feel larger,” Wick says. “I think when you use black, you need less ‘stuff,’ as it immediately enhances the look and feel of a room.”

Kitchen and Bath

Many homeowners love the airy look and feel of an all-white kitchen or bathroom, but a few touches of black can make these rooms feel more current.

Black cabinetry, either matte or shiny, adds an instant touch of sophistication. Vogue magazine cited black or dark gray countertops as a recent design trend. Basalt — especially balsatina from Italy — is a dark, durable stone that looks and feels warm and earthy. As a bonus, it’s more unique than standard quartz or marble counters. (A volcanic rock, basalt is porous, so it does require sealing and regular care.)

Swapping dated hardware is a quick, simple, budget-savvy way to update a kitchen or bathroom. Skip the brushed nickel or chrome lighting, drawer pulls, and sink fixtures, and go for matte black ones instead. They look cool and modern while blending seamlessly into the rest of the room’s design. Additionally, a black kitchen or dining table, chairs, or high stools around a bar or island work with any style, from modern industrial to glamorous Art Deco.

Go a step beyond and put black under your feet. Black flooring, including vinyl or marble tile, solid bamboo, and laminate, looks luxurious and works well in any home. If the idea of a solid black floor feels too dark, then consider a rich charcoal gray or choose a patterned tile that breaks up the black.

Bedroom and Living Room

Black marries well with any style and any palette, from blushes and blues to everything in between. Living rooms and bedrooms, with their assortment of furniture and linens, present plenty of opportunities to try out the shade.

Add some sleekness with glossy black furniture, such as a dresser or vanity in the bedroom or a credenza or bookshelf in the living room. Black leather upholstered accent furniture, such as a pair of armchairs, a headboard, or a bench, looks very modern. Black end or bedside tables look sharp when they bookend a sofa or bedding in contrasting colors. Use black paint or black patterned wallpaper to make an accent wall with a pop of drama.

If you’re not ready to commit to the heavy use of black in your home, start with small touches, such as throw pillows, blankets, rugs, or curtains that incorporate black into their patterns. When it comes to furniture, furniture rental might solve your dilemma by allowing you to try out a look without committing to a permanent purchase. CORT Furniture Rental offers a full range of furniture and home décor solutions to get you started.