Bold and Beautiful: 3 Transformative Tips for Designing With Black in Your Home

Updated on August 28th, 2023

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In the world of interior design, where colors orchestrate emotions and ambiance, one hue stands out as a timeless symbol of sophistication and allure: black. For some, diving into the trenches of bold colors such as black can be daunting. But we’re here to tell you that designing in black doesn’t have to be intimidating. In this Redfin article, we asked design experts to share tips to help you create the ultimate aesthetic using black paint. So whether you’re designing a luxury home in Beverly Hills, CA, or a colonial-style house in Savannah, GA, join us as we unlock the secrets to harnessing the elegance and versatility of designing with black.

Exterior shot of balcony overlooking nature
Photography courtesy of Hunted Fox

1. Contrast with lighter tones

One of the most impactful techniques in designing with black is to juxtapose it against lighter tones. This can also be done in varying design styles (not just ultra-modern). The interplay between deep black and airy, light shades creates a visual contrast that draws attention to both elements. Whether it’s a sleek ebony sofa in a white-walled living room or matte black hardware against a pale kitchen palette, this approach elevates the overall aesthetic while ensuring that the darkness of black doesn’t overpower the space.

In a recent remodel by Dotan Trabulsi, owner of Optimal Remodeling, his team incorporated lower black cabinetry. They supported the dark elements with natural wood upper cabinets, open shelving, and a lighter quartz countertop.

Interior kitchen with wood and black cabinetry
Photo courtesy of Optimal Remodeling

Founder and Principal Designer for Jubilee Interiors, Judi Lee-Carr, shares that, “achieving harmony through contrast is key when balancing black with other colors in minimalist interior design. Black, being a bold and dominant color, can enhance the overall aesthetic while maintaining the simplicity and elegance that defines minimalism.” She continues, “To strike the right balance, try a neutral color palette such as white and beige.”

Emma Falcon, with The Homestyles Group, shares how layering “materials like rope, rugs, burlap fabrics, linen window treatments,” can also balance black features. She mentions that the team at The Homestyles Group enjoys mixing in bold colors like green, blue, or orange.

Exterior of a home with black doors and a plant
Photo courtesy of Jubilee Interiors

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2. Consider room size and lighting

When designing with black, it’s crucial to take into account the size of the room and the available lighting. In smaller spaces, a heavy use of black can create a cozy, intimate atmosphere, but excessive use might make the room feel cramped. Conversely, in larger rooms, black elements can anchor the space and provide a sense of definition. 

Interior designer Sabrina Antony with Kitchen Design NYC shares, “If you’ve got a spacious and light-filled kitchen, go all out.” Sabrina advises embracing black cabinets with copper metal accents or warm wood blends such as walnut or oak. If unsure, she recommends introducing black in smaller doses-“think chic black shelves, handles, or a snazzy black faucet.”

Angled view of a black and wood home kitchen
Photo courtesy of Kitchen Design NYC

Emma, with The Homestyles Group, adds, “due to black being a natural absorbent of light, avoid using too much where there is insufficient lighting in a space.” Think small narrow bedrooms, dimly-lit offices, or powder bathrooms.

This isn’t to say these rooms won’t work with black. Black can add to the space when paired with ambient lighting if you’re seeking to achieve an ultra-modern, moody aesthetic.

Bedroom with a high ceilings and a bed
Photo courtesy of Jubilee Interiors

3. You don’t have to use paint

Designing with black isn’t limited to painting cabinets, accent walls, or wallpaper. Designing with black can also be introduced by integrating furniture pieces within a space. 

Offer Steuer, President of OTM Designs and Remodeling Inc., shares that “in rooms that are desired to be light and airy, it would be better to limit the use of black or opt for a softer, muted shade instead. Consider using black furniture pieces to add black features to the home, such as a sleek black leather sofa or black accent chairs. You can also bring in black through statement accessories like black wheels, lamps, and decorations to create a bold focal point in the room.”

Denise Wenacur, with DW Design and Decor, shares how in one of her bathroom renovations, rather than using paint, they introduced black through floor tile, trim, and accessories.

Bathroom with black floors and walk-in shower
Photo courtesy of DW Design & Décor

Moana Dixon, designer for Hunted Fox, skillfully weaves black and white tones throughout her projects, utilizing them to artfully capture the nuances of culture. She pairs the black and white tones with hand-selected decor and accents, hand-pours cement sinks, and bespoke leather headboards, pillows, and drapery.

Final thoughts on designing with black

No matter your home’s design style, integrating black elements has the power to elevate your space into a sophisticated and timeless sanctuary. Whether you’re seeking a minimalist living room or an ultra-modern bathroom, armed with these insights, you can boldly infuse black into your space, crafting a home that authentically embodies your style.

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

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