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Black walls are the New Gray

Black paint has become a popular neutral in our quiver of colors, but there are some strategies to keep it balanced. If used properly, black paint acts as a picture frame for the colors in your room.  If used incorrectly, it can look heavy and claustrophobic. An entire home with a black interior would be grim, but a single room makes a great statement!

Den with Onyx 2133-10 walls, canvas prints of Paris and brown sofa.
Photo by M. Camilli
Onyx 2133-10, Chantilly Lace OC-65, Stonington Gray HC-170
Photo by M. Camilli

My den was recently updated with black paint and was surprised by how rich and inviting it made the room.  Our home is often used as a lab to experiment with new colors and trends, and this time it was a huge success. The walls are flat Benjamin Moore Onyx 2133-10.  Trim and french doors are painted with semi-gloss Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace OC-65.  The ceilings feature flat Chantilly Lace.  Wall color for the entry is Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray HC-170.

Den Color palette with BM Onyx and BM Chantilly Lace

Den facing to entry updated with paint colors Onyx 2133-10, Chantilly Lace OC-65, Stonington Gray HC-170

In January when I visited the Maison and Objet conference in Paris, black paint with natural tan finishes was a big trend.

Asiatides exhibit at Maison & Object shows dark wall colors with organic finishes.
Asiatides, Maison & Object, Paris, Jan 2018; Photo by M. Marceny
MUUBS exhiti from Maison & Object shows black walls with organic finishes.
MUUBS, Maison & Object, Jan 2018, Paris; Photo by Michelle Marceny
WR Inspired exhibit at Maison & Object showed black walls with organic finishes.
WR Inspired, Maison & Object, Jan 2018, Paris, Photo by Michelle Marceny

Transform your walls with a splash of color.

Guidelines for Black Paint

Surfaces recede with black, which is why so many people wear it.  Black clothes are slimming, and when you paint a room with flat or matte paint, it makes the walls recede and the room looks bigger. It also makes a sharp statement in a house with a light color palette. When you paint a medium or large room, consider the following guidelines:

  • Choose a room with lots of natural light from large windows.
  • Consider the view from the windows. Black walls will act as a frame and highlight your view and intensify it (think of your iPhone or computer screen). If your view is unattractive, it will be more vivid.
Den with black walls painted with Onyx 2133-10, Chantilly Lace, Floor 50% Jacobean, 50% Classic Gray
Photo by M. Marceny

Photo by The Color Concierge

  • Paint your ceilings a fresh white such as Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace or Sherwin Williams Extra White 7006 for added light with a flat sheen.
  • Paint the doors and trim with the same white as the ceilings, with a semi-gloss, satin or eggshell sheen.
  • Pick a consistent color theme for your interiors. Organic neutrals, jewel tones or brass accents look beautiful.  Make sure that you tie in some of the black wall color with your art, throw pillows or furniture.
Den painted black Onyx 2133-10, Chantilly Lace OC-65, 50% Classic Gray, 50% Jacobean
Photo by M. Marceny

Photo by The Color Concierge

  • Don’t forget to test your colors before you paint. Blacks are a neutral, and they can have cool or warm undertones.
  • Use light colored blinds and curtains so that the room still looks bright when the shades are drawn.
Van Roon Living Dining Room exhibit shows Black Chairs, Light Curtains and black walls
Van Roon Living, Maison & Object, Jan 2018, Paris; Photo by The Color Concierge

For a small room, limit black walls to two walls, and offset with a white wall.

Laundry room with black walls, white cabinets and gray washer and dryer. Chantilly Lace OC-65, Laundry Room, Onyx 2133-10, White Cabinets
Photo by M. Camilli

After, Laundry Room – Photo by Maddie Camilli for The Color Concierge

For our laundry room, we used Benjamin Moore Onyx 2133-10 on the door and cabinet walls, painted the cabinets with Benjamin Moore Advance Semi-Gloss Chantilly Lace OC-65, and the ceiling and remaining walls flat Chantilly Lace OC-65.  Without the crisp white paint color on trims, ceiling and walls, the room would have looked like a cave. This was the laundry room before:

Laundry Room before with wood cabinets and gray walls.
Before laundry room. Photo by M. Marceny

Before Laundry Room; Photo by The Color Concierge

The Verdict.

Black walls are a new trend for neutrals and can look beautiful and inviting.  They work best with lots of light and white surfaces to keep it from looking heavy.  For small rooms with black or dark walls, paint two of the adjoining walls white for a lighter effect. What do you think about black walls? Goth or Great?

Online Color Consulting

If you still need help with paint colors, check out our Online Color Consulting packages or an In-Person Color Consultation in the Denver Metro area.

Did you like this Post? Don’t forget to Pin!A den with walls painted black using BM Onyx paint color and prints of Paris with a black and white dog and brown couch.

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Meet Michelle

Driven to help clients fall back in love with their homes with intentional paint color schemes. She started the company based on her passion for color and its ability to make a house a home.

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8 Easy Ways to Pick Paint Colors