beautiful black

I woke up later than usual this morning, tore down the stairs, and frantically helped get the little ones ready for school.  Shortly after their launch, I poured my cup of coffee and planted myself at my desk (still in p.j.’s) scrambling to find images for a “wednesday white” post.  Then it dawned on me, Wednesday was yesterday.  So I started thinking…what could I blog about that’s interesting?  Then I thought about the opposite of white.

Today we gaze at beautiful, illustrious black spaces.  Black is sleek, sophisticated and powerful.  It takes guts to commit to this scheme.  But first you have to know if it’s the right color for you.


Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I drawn to dark, cozier spaces?
  2. Does my mood remain pleasant and comfortable when I’m in a room with a dark palette for more than a few hours?
  3. Will my mate/spouse/children be able to cope with black?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then most likely black could be a great scheme for your room.

Who could forget Aerin Lauder’s home as seen in Elle Decor and House & Garden 2007.

If shiney AND black is your thing, check out Miles Redd.  He always kills it with the whole black lacquer vibe.

Do you desire a dash of equestrian chic in your dark palette?  Black can go there.

Zig zags and black.  Yum.

A generous dose of black with pops of cream or white?  Yep.  Windsor Smith did that beautifully in her own kitchen.

Black chalkboard walls, black pendants.  Offset with white and cream.  Love it.


  1. Consider the amount of light your room receives throughout the day.  Is it already dark?  Do you have tons of light most of the day?  Do you face the East and only get morning light?  All of these factors will help you decide how dark you want to or should go.
  2. Decide exactly how black you’re willing to go.  Do you want a moody, dark space?  If so, plan for proper points of light evenly spaced around your room in the evening hours.  Do you just want dark walls but light colors on your main furniture pieces?  Then plan to slip-cover a sofa or chairs in flax tones or creams for breathing lighter shades into your room.  Layering a patterned rug with both black and white will also help unify the extreme combination of black and white; but be sure and bring in other colors and textures in small accents to break it all up.
  3. Test your colors on LARGE samples that are at least 36″ in height.  Watch your sample during different times of the day so you can see how you like it with sunlight and evening light with your lamps.


If your room is already dark, or if you don’t want to go totally black, you may consider a more graphite inspired tone, such as Iron Mountain by Benjamin Moore.  See my previous interview with friend and Interior Designer, Janie Hirsch to view a room she did in Iron Mountain – it’s fabulous.  That particular room had generous light pouring in – I clearly remember that when I walked around the room with her.


If you’re ready to take the plunge, here are a few beautiful blacks that you may want to check out.

Ben Moore French Beret 1610 [gorgeous, velvety black]

Ben Moore Midnight Oil 1631 [slight greyish blue undertone]

Ben Moore Black Satin 2131-10 [pure black, perfect for lacquering walls]

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  1. I loooove how black walls look, but I wasn’t courageous enough to make the leap, so I painted an accent wall in my bedroom a super dark navy. It’s the same effect, without the landlord screaming “black walls?!?!”

  2. Wow- beautiful interiors! I have also seen a couple of these amazing pics in House Beautiful! I love that magazine. Thanks so much for including different types of black! I may be daring enough to try it! Please check out my latest blog entry about rooms with superb lighting!

  3. Cat from CIC says:

    I’m more of a white girl. you too, huh ;)

  4. Marianne says:

    I love the look of black walls, but it wouldn’t feel right in my own home. I’d probably feel like I’m living in a bat cave. The lack of sunlight here in Seattle is the reason why I feel this way. I need to see some sunshine soon, but that’s another topic all together! I am drawn to each of the rooms above and Windsor’s kitchen is one of my all time favorites! Really, really gorgeous!

  5. Great rooms! I just did a post recently titled “The Dark Side” where I shared my super dark (not black, but almost) powder room. It was already a dark room so I just embraced it! I used a semi-gloss Benjamin Moore color called “Mysterious.” It’s sort of a dark bluish-gray. I love it!

  6. Gorgeous rooms! You know I love, love black. But I”m not sure I would have the guts to paint an entire room unless it was a powder room or something. I do love a black kitchen though I have to say! Love that one with the green velvet sofa with the black and white checker peeking out in the back!


  7. pam says:

    i agree with marianne. it’s probably not best to do full-on black here in seattle, even though i ADORE windsor’s kitchen. we did do slate from rh in our family room, kitchen, and dining room (nervous at first, again because of our grey skies) but i absolutely love it! it’s sooo warm! pam

    ps loved the pier 1 post.

  8. I’m planning on painting Michael’s office in the new house a dark color… but not black. That may be a tad too dark for me.

  9. kate says:

    I think glossy black paired with the brightest white and nickel accents can make the smallest powder room the largest room in the house. Great post!

  10. I laughed reading the first paragraph because that was my morning too :) Except I have to walk my 4 yr old into preschool. UGGH…I HAVE to look at least a LITTLE bit cute to do that! Hoo boy :)

  11. I laughed reading the first paragraph because that was my morning too :) Except I have to walk my 4 yr old into preschool. UGGH…I HAVE to look at least a LITTLE bit cute to do that! Hoo boy :)

    And nope, Couldn’t do black, too much S.A.D. I live up in the Pacific NW, we need all the light and bright we can get!

  12. I agree with you black is definitely a classic color, but is not for everyone, or every space. You have to use it with contrasting colors, patterns to make it work….I would love to have the guts to paint a room in my house black (or even a dark color) but I am scared…although these images look so beautiful…..lots to think about ;) thanks for the useful pointers!

  13. Heather says:

    Great images! I really like a dark and moody den or library. Thanks for the inspirational photos!

  14. Vikki says:

    I am about to paint my powder bath and master bath, including all of the cabinets, either BM Caviar (a dark dark eggplant black) or BM Black Bean Soup which looks exactly like it sounds. Scary!!!

  15. love this post! although my walls are all white in our home, we have black furniture and i love the contrast and depth it gives. i will always love black and white!

  16. Andrea says:

    My hairdresser just asked me today, “black or white kitchen cabinets?” I said I’m a white fan, but I have seen some kitchens with black cabinets and they looked amazing. Is it going to be “Black Thursdays” from now on?

  17. I have a black powder room that I love, but for some strange reason my puppy barks at the walls. It is the only time she barks so I am thinking maybe she loves it too. Love this post, a gorgeous array of black rooms.

  18. hana says:

    ah, I would love to try Iron Mountain as soon as I’m out of a rental!

    p.s. Those big, fancy letters you begin your posts with are turning me into a typography nut too. Love them!

  19. pve says:

    Wait, you mean it is not wednesday? I must be in the dark….love those chic walls…

  20. designchic says:

    I adore the look…never thought I was courageous enough to try it myself because I’m such a fan of a neutral palette, but these images just may be changing my mind!!

  21. Amy says:

    Oh friend, I love all of these. We recently remodeled our bedroom ( ), we painted our new french doors white…i knew it was the wrong choice. Annoying as it was, I couldn’t get these black french doors out of my brain from this hotel we stayed in in Paris. We repainted them black, they are so lovely :). This was a fun post…thanks :).

  22. Lori H says:

    Seleta, one more question to ask yourself when deciding whether black is for you…do you have a Westie that will shed white hair that finds dark surfaces and sticks on like glue? I guess black isn’t for me! :)

  23. barb says:

    I love the white gone black today. I am a bit of a black freak. Actually a bit obsessed. I am not a “goth” …but black is my color. You know, the combination of all colors. Thank you for making my day. And I am off to find the perfect black for my den walls.

  24. I’m a huge fan of black in interiors! Love your tips to see if black is right for you. We recently painted a wall black in our small office and it completely changed the room (in a good way). Thanks again for the endless inspiration!

  25. Seleta says:

    This was interesting to see all of your reaction to the BLACK. I guess it must have been shocking to see after our lovely white wednesdays. Don’t worry, WHITE is not leaving this blog! Personally, I can only live with a light color palette. But I thought it would be fun to mix it up this time.

    My husband saw this post and groaned, “yuck, I hate these black rooms” while reading it. Obviously my household answered question #3 in the “HOW TO KNOW IF BLACK IS FOR YOU” section.

    Andrea – to answer your question, no I’m afraid we won’t be having black thursdays ; )
    But this was a fun change. Thanks for all of your feedback!


  26. Simply Seleta Fan says:

    The pictures are very pretty, but I could not live with black. I love how light colors make me feel when I walk into a space.

  27. Laura C says:

    How gorgeous. My eyes were jumping all over the place to take in everything. Those tapestry cushions and red zigzag bedding are delightful with the antique wood. Heart totally missed a beat.

  28. Aunt Kathi says:

    This is getting scary!!

    I’ve got five ‘black’ paint chips on my kitchen island. I’m just observing them right now trying to decide which color to paint the island.

    My next step is to pick-up the chips you mentioned… to check-out, too. :)

    PS This was a very nice piece, Seleta.

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    SeletaI‘m Seleta, a city girl living the beach life with my family. A former TV personality turned designer, I love to share the sparkly side of life. Read more here.
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