Decorating with black: all you need to know!

Let’s face it: black ceilings are not for everyone. People love them or hate them, no middle ground.

I am a black-lover at heart and tend to add black elements in my bedroom every time I have the occasion.
Black interiors may not be for everyone but they are dramatic and stylish like no other!

That said, if it’s not used properly, black can turn your interior in an oppressive space. It wouldn’t be the end of the world, you could always re-paint, but it would be much more satisfying if you got it right in the first place.
That’s why I decided to help all the risk-takers like you by creating the list of everything you need to know for decorating with black!

01. If balanced by the right amount of white, a black ceiling doesn’t weigh down the room. Instead, it adds depth and gives a peaceful sense of harmony.

Remember, balance is the keyword! Make sure that – as in the Yin & Yang symbol – there are some white elements into the black area and black bits in the white area. For example, the image below shows two white pendants and two white paintings in the “black area”; likewise, black chairs and candlesticks decorate the white space below. A earthy rug, together with some plants, give a splash of colour and add warmth.

02. Black ceilings and flooring work very well together, as long as there is a lot of white between them.

The bathroom below works so well because the two black surfaces are separated by the shiny white tiles. Also the solid timber door warms up the space.

Try not to add too many colours. The beauty of a black and white interior is in the balance between the two.
Other colours must be added as accents (= only in the accessories). Red works very well to give a super-stylish twist! Mix it with real timber for a welcoming feeling.


Image © Kristofer Johnson. Stylist: Pella Hedeby


Image © Kristofer Johnson. Stylist: Pella Hedeby

03. One black wall.

Another option is to paint one black wall while the rest of the space is kept simple; touches of black here and there are obviously important as well as natural wood, a lot of white and stylish lighting!

If you fancy some lighting inspiration, have a look at this post!


Image © Bo Helsinki


Image © Bo Helsinki

04. Black paint to emphasise architectural elements.

In the picture below, vertical elements are black painted while horizontal surfaces are kept white. As a result the pitched roof seems higher.

And the messy architecture has become more interesting.

05. Layers of darkness: go for a dark grey in the walls and use black in the accessories!

That’s a bold choice but works really well. Again, it’s not for everyone. But I urge you to try it if you are instinctively attracted by these images. Less is always more 😉


Image © Kristofer Johnson. Stylist: Pella Hedeby


Image © Kristofer Johnson. Stylist: Pella Hedeby

As shown in the image below, this solutions is great if you want to tie together accessories in different colours that wouldn’t go very well together otherwise.

And again, an earthy red rug and some natural wood make all the difference!

06. Black accents.

Sometimes we just don’t want a room to be black, and that’s fine. It doesn’t mean we should avoid black completely.
On the contrary, we can use this stylish colour to bring together the rest of the room.

For example, the amazing apartment below is predominantly white. But the presence of black – equally distributed within the space – gives it the stylish touch that we are looking for. The armchair, the wall lighting by Flos, the dark timber floor and the books and DVDs on the shelves are the visual connection between all the other elements.


Image © Gidon Levin. Design: Studio Matka


Image © Gidon Levin. Design: Studio Matka

Even the black dog has got its part to play! 🙂


Image © Gidon Levin. Design: Studio Matka

07. Black in a nursery

Seriously, how adorable is it?


Image © Urban Avenue



I am Martina, an Italian designer based in London. I spend most of my time designing interiors or writing about it. I also love travelling. You may find me walking around the East End of London, drinking coffee and stopping at every single bookshop I bump into.

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