A quick, chic fix for your home could be as simple as a fresh coat of paint. Black walls and décor have been around for thousands of years, so although it’s not technically a ‘trend,’ it’s definitely on an upswing in the design world. From the pages of Vogue Living to contemporary NYC design stores to homes of the affluent, black accent walls are proving to be a versatile “quick fix” for modernizing your space.
Natalie Shirinian, founder of the creative agency NES Creative, chose an eggshell black paint for her L.A. home, which she then used for window frame accents and to cover ceiling pipes. One of her clients, wallpaper designer and artist Yolande Batteau of Callidus Guild, even custom designed a black accent wall for Shirinian’s NYC home and work space. “She etched sacred geometry in [the black patina] while brushing in gold dust, creating our very own constellation,” Shirinian told Culture Trip.
“The color black is truly a non-color. It’s best to always use neutrals in and around the space where there isn’t any black. Mixing in grey, taupes, and white, of course, is the way I like to use it – whether for borders, accent or piping, or a wall of masterful art. Using the paint color black doesn’t have to be boring or depressing – think of it as a way to elevate your space to make it more chic,” she adds.
Elad Yifrach, owner and designer of L’Objet, a new celebrity-frequented home and design store in the West Village, considers black to be an integral part of his design language. “We use it often to accentuate a detail and draw the eye to a specific area. It’s an absolute color with no light absorption that notes a strong ending point. [It] could also symbolize a beginning or a palate cleanser,” he told Culture Trip.
“The Apothecary wall in our Bleecker store is made of blackened steel and is the contrast to the gray walls around the space. It’s a focal point that also centers you in the space and dictates the flow,” he continues. We bet you never heard of black as both a palate cleanser and focal point before, right? Not only do these walls serve as a focal point themselves, they’re also perfect “frames” for oversized artwork. When designing for Lisa Perry’s Manhattan home, famed decorator Tony Ingrao decided to paint each of the dining room walls black, which were then adorned with colorful artwork that offsets the ultra-modern furniture. In the Upper East Side home of Aby and Samantha Rosen, a dramatic smoking room includes a stark black wall that serves as a separate frame for a 1967 Tom Wesselmann painting.
Black has never, and most likely will never, go out of style. After all, black is the new black. Even Donna Karan’s NYC home features a black Venetian-plaster accent wall designed by architects Dominic Kozerski and Enrico Bonetti – an ideal backdrop for a hypnotic, bold orange painting by Francis Bacon, which marks the entrance to her gallery. Socialite Amanda Harleach also features a sharp black accent wall in the middle of her English farmhouse drawing-room. The rustic, minimalist decor and unfinished walls is balanced by the hard cut of the black and creates a balanced look within the room.
The strategic use of black begs for a room to be noticed, adding drama and a sense of expansion in one simple, sweeping effort. “Dark colors make smaller rooms feel larger. In feng shui, the use of the color black adds depth, strength and definition to any space. Because black color brings the feng shui energy of grounding and stability, its best use indoors should be not much higher than the eye level,” says Jessica Vertullo, an interior design specialist and real estate salesperson at Compass.
Black has the ability to elevate a space, transforming it into a chic, modern haven with grounding, powerful vibes. So go ahead and give it a try – one sweep of black won’t hurt. That is, until the landlord wants his white walls back.