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Paint It Black: Using Black Accents To Elevate Your Decor

When you think about using the color black in your interior design, what comes to mind might be something right out of the the Addams’ Family. But there’s a big difference between incorporating a color into your decor, and decorating your home head-to-toe in it. While the idea of the latter might be a little off-putting, a few black accents or surfaces can lend a stylish edge to a home that even June Cleaver would approve of. It’s all about striking the right balance, and knowing why a little touch of black can make all the difference.

Create a Bold Background Element

Even a little black can seem bold and daring if put in a room full of neutrals like white, beige, or gray (by Esther Hershcovich)

One thing we have to think about a lot in interior design is what excites the eye. If absolutely everything in a room is the same color, there won’t be much to spark your interest or attract your attention. Rooms that have more contrast are inherently more appealing, because that contrast makes you perk up and pay attention. Now, there’s nothing better for creating contrast than the color black. A bold, true black will stand out sharply against any background. This is doubly true in our typically white, beige, or gray-based rooms, where even very small pops of black feel intense – and something like a black accent wall can feel totally fresh and daring.

Use Black Accents That Blend In

Valentina Brass Round Dining Table, TOV-D44010 by Tov Furniture

That said, a true black isn’t the only way to go, or even necessarily your best option. Bold, glossy blacks have a chic, modern feel that works in ultra-contemporary settings, but can be a little too edgy for a typical transitional home. Instead, look for softer matte blacks or even dark charcoal grays that provide the same element of contrast without being quite so in-your-face. Adding texture here can help too; rather than a smooth gloss, look for distressed wood, distinctive velvet, or rough-hewn stone. This will both add depth and visual interest to your black accents, and help soften the intensity of the color.

Little Black Dress(er)

Providence Three-drawer Dresser Or Stand In Cappuccino, MOD-6059-CAP by Modway Furniture

In the same way a little black dress is a flattering go-to for just about everyone, a black accent piece can do wonders for any room. Whether it’s a table with a black metal frame, a side chair, or something as simple as a solid black dresser, a black accent will act as an instant point of visual interest in your room. Placing them judiciously can create stylish focal points (as with this simple but effective entry table), or create visual stepping stones that help move the eye throughout a room, drawing attention to the parts of your space and decor that you particularly want to be seen.

Black Lighting Without Black Lights

Chic Wide Pendant TOV-G18152, by Tov Furniture

Even your lighting situation can err on the dark side. And I don’t mean skimp on fixtures! When it comes to transitional or traditional design, lighting fixtures typically come in neutral colors: think brushed gold chandeliers or off-white lampshades. Swapping those out for something similar, but in black, is an incredibly effective way to update your decor and put a bold twist on your lighting setup. And don’t worry: as long as the actual bulbs can shine, black light fixtures won’t make your house feel too dark.

Modern Appliances for Modern Homes

While there’s no way to make a black appliance blend in, standing out can bring a modern contrast to the kitchen (by EuroChef USA)

When it comes to choosing a finish for your kitchen appliances, I’d be a liar if I said there was one definitive, ideal choice. The debate on this is very much ongoing, and if I’m being honest, opinion pretty steadily changing. But I think black appliances are worth mentioning here. They’re more modern than outmoded white appliances, and feel more fresh than the perennially popular (but arguably overused) stainless steel. Having appliances that match and blend into your cabinetry is a popular option right now, but black is a good way to go if you want to keep your budget a little more reasonable, while adding a little contrast and a sharp, neat finish.

The Secret to Keeping Clean

Manchester 24″ Black Traditional Bathroom Vanity, FCB2304BL-I by Fresca

An incredible feature of all dark colors is that they hide dust and grime much longer than their lighter counterparts. This is true whether you’re talking dark floors or bathroom cabinets; scuffs and smudges that would show up instantly on a white, steel, or glass finish can hide against a black one. The effect is multiplied especially if the black finish is textured, distressed, matte, or slightly off-black. That makes this a particularly good option in rooms that require a lot of regular cleaning, like the bathroom, or that could use a little extra grace between cleanings, like a high-traffic mudroom.

Black accents and surfaces will not only give your space a sharp, clean finish even in a busy, messy household. So if you’re looking for a way to take your decor up a notch, a little contrast from a few black accents can go a long way towards giving you that crisp, designer feel.