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10 Bright Ideas for Decorating With Bold Black

By: Amanda Lecky
September 27, 2017

You don’t have to live in a Gothic novel to bring this rich and versatile shade to your home. Here are 10 inspiring ways to use black to add modern drama, inside and out.

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Photo: Design by GSA Architects; Photo by Nate Grant

Take it Outside

Black isn’t only for interiors: It’s a bold, modern choice for exteriors of every style, too. “The black exterior allows this house to blend into its dark, forested surroundings while providing a bold contrast to the colorful foliage and bright interior,” say the architects at GSA Architects. “Painting the vertical tongue and groove siding a dark color helps hide the joints between boards, giving the siding a more homogenous and minimal look. Make sure to use a satin exterior paint to avoid accumulating too much dirt on the siding.”

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Photo: Design by Bryant Alsop, Photo by Rhiannon Slatter

Create a Bold Backdrop

Museums and galleries may display art against stark, white walls, but black can showcase favorite pieces even better. Case in point, this contemporary space designed by architect Bryant Alsop. “Walls and cabinetry in Dulux paints’ Domino color creates visual depth and provides a moody backdrop for the client’s artwork and furniture,” he says. “Extending almost the entire length of the house, the color provides a unifying element connecting each of the individual spaces.”

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Photo: Caitlin Murray. From: Caitlin Murray.

Let In the Light

Black walls look dramatic in any room, but unless the space has plenty of natural light—like this sun-drenched home office, for example—the color can make a space seem smaller. Balance the light-absorbing qualities of black paint by balancing with plenty of white, as designer Caitlyn Murray has here. And don’t forget some rich texture: In this home office, velvet, lacquer, and rattan add interest.

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Photo: Allison Corona Photography, Let It Shine Photography, Doug Petersen Photography. From: Judith Balis.

Pick One Wall

If an all-black bedroom seems like too much of a commitment to the dark side, consider painting just the wall behind the headboard as designer Judith Balis did in this airy bedroom. The effect is at once modern and glamorous, especially if you incorporate plenty of contrast with splashes of white or another pale color.

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