How to Design with Black

written by:
October 31, 2013
If your answer to “How much more black could this room be?” is “None more black,” then we have some recommendations for you. From jet-black facades to walls to furniture, adding a touch of midnight adds a little mystery to anyone’s decor.
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  The matte-black finishes used in the kitchen of a converted loft in Copenhagen make the space feel sleek and ultramodern.  Photo by: Anders Hviid

    The matte-black finishes used in the kitchen of a converted loft in Copenhagen make the space feel sleek and ultramodern.

    Photo by: Anders Hviid

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  The custom black steel storage unit in the living room of a lakeside prefab in New Jersey proves that beachy retreats don't always have to feature bright colors and warm wood finishes.  Photo by: Mark MahaneyCourtesy of: photograph by Mark Mahaney,all rights reserved

    The custom black steel storage unit in the living room of a lakeside prefab in New Jersey proves that beachy retreats don't always have to feature bright colors and warm wood finishes.

    Photo by: Mark Mahaney

    Courtesy of: photograph by Mark Mahaney,all rights reserved

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  In the kitchen of an English country home, a jet black Esse stove looks slick as an oil spill, but running on wood in the winter and solar energy in the summer, it's much more environmentally friendly.  Photo by: Will Pryce

    In the kitchen of an English country home, a jet black Esse stove looks slick as an oil spill, but running on wood in the winter and solar energy in the summer, it's much more environmentally friendly.

    Photo by: Will Pryce

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  Jay Atherton's bedroom in the house in Phoenix, Arizona, he shares with roommate Cy Keener contains a miniature black piano; outside is a red bud tree, an appealing spot for mellow contemplation. Photo by Ye Rin Mok.  Photo by: Ye Rin Mok

    Jay Atherton's bedroom in the house in Phoenix, Arizona, he shares with roommate Cy Keener contains a miniature black piano; outside is a red bud tree, an appealing spot for mellow contemplation. Photo by Ye Rin Mok.

    Photo by: Ye Rin Mok

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  For the bathroom of the Atherton-Keener house, Atherton made the bathtub and sinks by hand out of marine-grade plywood held together with aluminum spline joints and dyed with Behlen Solar Lux in jet black. To make them waterproof, he coated every surface in a thick layer of West System marine epoxy, popular with builders of wooden boats. Photo by Ye Rin Mok.   Photo by: Ye Rin Mok

    For the bathroom of the Atherton-Keener house, Atherton made the bathtub and sinks by hand out of marine-grade plywood held together with aluminum spline joints and dyed with Behlen Solar Lux in jet black. To make them waterproof, he coated every surface in a thick layer of West System marine epoxy, popular with builders of wooden boats. Photo by Ye Rin Mok.

     

    Photo by: Ye Rin Mok

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  This family of cost-conscious Hamburgers converted a kitschy turn-of-the-century villa into a high-design home. The question of the facade was a big one: How to unite the house, with its quaint old villa, and the squat, square, ugly minimart add-on built flush against it? Instead of trying to minimize the discrepancy, the architects emphasized it. They kept the old-fashioned facade intact and painted it graphite gray using RAL color 7024, made by Brillux, which reads as a deep black. Photo by Mark Seelen.   Photo by: Mark Seelen

    This family of cost-conscious Hamburgers converted a kitschy turn-of-the-century villa into a high-design home. The question of the facade was a big one: How to unite the house, with its quaint old villa, and the squat, square, ugly minimart add-on built flush against it? Instead of trying to minimize the discrepancy, the architects emphasized it. They kept the old-fashioned facade intact and painted it graphite gray using RAL color 7024, made by Brillux, which reads as a deep black. Photo by Mark Seelen.

     

    Photo by: Mark Seelen

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  Six stories high, crowned with a pool, and with a direct lineage back to the Bauhaus, a new town house in Tel Aviv manages to both embrace and provide refuge from the teeming Israeli city. The residents use either the black steel staircase or a glassed-in elevator by Wittur to get around the house. Photo by Amit Geron.   Photo by: Amit Geron

    Six stories high, crowned with a pool, and with a direct lineage back to the Bauhaus, a new town house in Tel Aviv manages to both embrace and provide refuge from the teeming Israeli city. The residents use either the black steel staircase or a glassed-in elevator by Wittur to get around the house. Photo by Amit Geron.

     

    Photo by: Amit Geron

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  Local carpenter Crisow von Schulz constructed the cabinets of a houseboat in Amsterdam from a single elm tree. The residents topped the cabinets off with simple black countertops. Photo by Rene Mesman.  Photo by: Rene Mesman

    Local carpenter Crisow von Schulz constructed the cabinets of a houseboat in Amsterdam from a single elm tree. The residents topped the cabinets off with simple black countertops. Photo by Rene Mesman.

    Photo by: Rene Mesman

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  In a 495-square-foot attic in the Söder neighborhood of Stockholm, interior designer Jimmy Schonning—a local celebrity for his role in the Swedish TV shows "Finally at Home" and "Styling Emergency"—has carved out a sweet and stylish home. A black wall and black leather sofa complement the stairs to the loft. Photo courtesy of photographer Per Magnus Persson.

    In a 495-square-foot attic in the Söder neighborhood of Stockholm, interior designer Jimmy Schonning—a local celebrity for his role in the Swedish TV shows "Finally at Home" and "Styling Emergency"—has carved out a sweet and stylish home. A black wall and black leather sofa complement the stairs to the loft. Photo courtesy of photographer Per Magnus Persson.

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  The rear facade of this Brooklyn brownstone, like the top-floor addition, is faced in rectangular panels of black rainscreen Richlite over exterior mineral wool insulation. Photo by Hai Zhang.  Photo by: Hai Zhang

    The rear facade of this Brooklyn brownstone, like the top-floor addition, is faced in rectangular panels of black rainscreen Richlite over exterior mineral wool insulation. Photo by Hai Zhang.

    Photo by: Hai Zhang

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  Thanks to a contemporary interior that she’s been updating for a decade, architect Abigail Turin has learned to love her traditional 1925 San Francisco home. The dining room’s black-accented high drama is thanks to a Cellula chandelier by Nunzia Carbone and Tiziano Vudafieri, a sleek Colors table by B. Fattorini for MDF Italia, and a massive yellow painting by Polish artist Pitor Uklański. Photo by Justin Fantl.  Photo by: Justin Fantl

    Thanks to a contemporary interior that she’s been updating for a decade, architect Abigail Turin has learned to love her traditional 1925 San Francisco home. The dining room’s black-accented high drama is thanks to a Cellula chandelier by Nunzia Carbone and Tiziano Vudafieri, a sleek Colors table by B. Fattorini for MDF Italia, and a massive yellow painting by Polish artist Pitor Uklański. Photo by Justin Fantl.

    Photo by: Justin Fantl

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  In the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, what started off as a decorating job turned into a full-blown renovation for designer Nicole Hollis. Painted black, the media room is all about relaxing, whether in the nine-foot-long, extra-deep sofa from Minotti or the lounge chair from B&B Italia. Photo by Ben Mayorga Photography.

    In the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, what started off as a decorating job turned into a full-blown renovation for designer Nicole Hollis. Painted black, the media room is all about relaxing, whether in the nine-foot-long, extra-deep sofa from Minotti or the lounge chair from B&B Italia. Photo by Ben Mayorga Photography.

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  The old wood floors throughout designer Peter Fehrentz's 646-square-foot Berlin apartment are painted a dark eggplant, which help pick up the black of the kitchen wall, the vase, and the painting. The vintage PP19 armchair is by Hans J. Wegner for PP Møbler. The painting above it is by Ruben Toledo, a friend of Peter Fehrentz, the resident. A trio of Tom Dixon lights hangs over the Pirkka dining table, with bench seating by Ilmari Tapiovaara for Artek. The Berber rug is from Morocco, purchased from the Paris shop Caravane. Photo by Peter Fehrentz.  Photo by: Peter Fehrentz

    The old wood floors throughout designer Peter Fehrentz's 646-square-foot Berlin apartment are painted a dark eggplant, which help pick up the black of the kitchen wall, the vase, and the painting. The vintage PP19 armchair is by Hans J. Wegner for PP Møbler. The painting above it is by Ruben Toledo, a friend of Peter Fehrentz, the resident. A trio of Tom Dixon lights hangs over the Pirkka dining table, with bench seating by Ilmari Tapiovaara for Artek. The Berber rug is from Morocco, purchased from the Paris shop Caravane. Photo by Peter Fehrentz.

    Photo by: Peter Fehrentz

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