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Black walls are not what one would call a common interior design choice, especially when speaking of bedrooms, living rooms, or even powder rooms.

When discussing black paint for walls, we’re not referring to brownish black such as chocolate or bistre, or maybe grayish nuances such as arsenic and charcoal.

Our black wall paint ideas were not related even to wine and rosewood red.

Anita-by-Launch-Systems Black Walls Ideas For Your Modern Interiors (47 Pictures)
Image source: Launch Systems

Just few years ago, people would immediately refuse dark and moody nuances and painting solutions for their walls, but that’s no longer the case.

Black accent walls are becoming a popular trend in interior design, and some people even choose to use them all around their apartments.

Dine-and-Dazzle-by-Kathleen-Ramsey-Allied-ASID-2 Black Walls Ideas For Your Modern Interiors (47 Pictures)
Image source: Kathleen Ramsey, Allied ASID

The bolder the wall color is, the more you’re risking to mess up your design project, but choosing the best black wall paint and applying it with care may lead to some unexpected elegance.

In order to help you, we gathered the best tips for painting a room black, as well as noir practices by popular designers you should consider in 2017:

Rocky-Ledge-Library-by-LDa-Architecture-Interiors Black Walls Ideas For Your Modern Interiors (47 Pictures)
Image source: LDa Architecture & Interiors

Before you’ve started, consider lighting.

Black walls in bedrooms, for instance, require extra access to natural light, as they absorb it rather than reflecting it as their white counterparts would. This is the main recommendation of Chicago designer Summer Thornton, because, as she explains, the elegance of black settings is worth nothing if you can’t see it.

She continues by suggesting decorative overhead lamps and sconces with high wattage, accompanied by compulsory dimmers that will ensure a suitable mood at any moment of the day.

Turquoise-LA-Interior-Design-Venice-by-Jeri-Koegel-Photography Black Walls Ideas For Your Modern Interiors (47 Pictures)
Image source: Jeri Koegel Photography

When it comes to painting black walls in living rooms, we suggest implementing dark details, as these can make the black room feel and look ultra sophisticated, effective, and neatly finished.

What you can do is replacing light and visible outlets and switches with dark-finished ones, because in all other cases they will look distractive and decreases the elegance of the black setting.

Another useful tip to adopt is that finish is important. If you were brave enough to opt for darker nuances, do the same with the finish and skip matte types. This tip also has a practical aspect: matte finishes are more damage-prone, and will resemble scuff marks and fingerprints as chalky and unpleasant residue.

A-House-at-Caesarea-by-Moshi-Gitelis-2 Black Walls Ideas For Your Modern Interiors (47 Pictures)
Image source: Moshi Gitelis

A much better alternative is eggshell sheen (a semi-gloss finish alike satin), as it retains the richness of the color, and it is more sustainable at the same time.

Using black paint to give your interior the ‘wow’ factor

These are the main considerations you should keep in mind when painting your walls black:

  • Choose the sheen with care – Black is, as artists like to put it, a rigidly unforgiving color. Even those who own black phones and cars are aware of this problem, and try desperately to protect their widgets from smudge, pine, and ding. Why would walls be any different? If you want a safer, friendlier, and highly covering finish, choose high-gloss paint, and a smooth coating to cover it.

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Image source: Darren Palmer Interiors

  • Preserve the variety – The last thing you want is to turn your home into a completely black box. In order to avoid this, you should paint at least one wall with a lighter, accent color, or apply it on the trim to give the black theme a relief. The ceiling should be lighter too, especially if you apply it with gradual transition that makes the room look taller and more beautiful.
  • Decorate – Black settings deserve reflective and bright decorations, as those look just magnificent applied on dark walls. Art deco fans, for instance, can implement crispy white pieces or beautiful oil artwork to break down the monotony, and create a place both you and your friends will love.

Black-Walls-by-McCroskey-Interiors Black Walls Ideas For Your Modern Interiors (47 Pictures)
Image source: McCroskey Interiors

  • Pay special attention to lighting – With black walls in place, you must retain full control over your lighting. We recommend track lighting, as it will adjust easily to darker parts of the room, and shed some beautiful shine on your black walls.

Black paint tips for professionals

How about shadow stripes? This modern technique helps create an adorable and glossy paint, meaning that the color will remain the same on the entire wall, but you’ll still get to see various shades of it, and enjoy an aesthetically textured theme.

Keep it simple. As every prudent and experienced designer would agree, all changes should be applied in small doses for clients to understand their final and far-reaching effect. What this means is that you should probably hit off with the black paint game in the bathroom, and use this dynamic environment as a sample for your next projects.

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Image source: Philip Nimmo Design

According to Devers, good place to start with black experiments are built-in shelves, fireplaces, door casings and windows. If it works well there, it will work well everywhere.

Consider textures and patterns. A more joyful scenario is to pain the wall black, and then cover it with repeating-pattern sheens. This way, your room will look both relaxed and elegant. Your wall is a piece of art, and that’s how you should treat it.

You can paint the wall black, and afterwards frame it with glossy profile molding to add some extra elegance. What you will get is the illusion of an enormous painting hanging on the wall, and does so without any effort.

Stylish-Apartment-Living-by-Dayka-Robinson-Designs Black Walls Ideas For Your Modern Interiors (47 Pictures)
Image source: Dayka Robinson Designs

You can also use pre-stretched canvases and black fence boards applied on full-black walls, because they do a better job capturing the light, and give the wall the texture it needs.

Make gradation experiments. Those of you, who are lucky enough to have large, high-ceiling and well-lit rooms, should experiment with several nuances rather than a single one. For instance, you can paint the wall black up to the eye level, and then continue with gray, lighting it up to the ceiling which is completely white.

Everyone who will look at your walls will have the feeling that the room is about to open to the sky, and the effect will be simply jaw-dropping. This type of gradation will be even more uplifting in rooms with one/two adjacent walls.

Living-Room-by-Elad-Gonen Black Walls Ideas For Your Modern Interiors (47 Pictures)
Image source: Elad Gonen

Choose the right lighting accessories. When you have black walls, you primary concern should be lighting, as black will absorb most of the natural light reaching the room. Devers’s suggestion is to use track lighting, as in such way you will be able to direct light towards the darkest spots in the room.

The best solutions are bold and oversized fixtures, such as her favorite vintage and opulent chandeliers and mini-bulb pendants.

To enhance this effect and give the room an elegant sparkle, use eggshell finishes and glossy paints, and place accessories in bold colors.

In most scenarios, black looks the best applied on a single, accent wall. According to design experts, this should be either the wall framing the centerpiece of the room (the largest window, the couch, the fireplace), or the largest one. In settings like these, you can use a different, refreshing shade for the trim to provide the necessary contrast.

Penthouse-Condominium-by-Mitchell-Wall-Architecture-Design Black Walls Ideas For Your Modern Interiors (47 Pictures)
Image source: Mitchell Wall Architecture & Design

Despite of what you’ve been told, black is a very prompt and suitable alternative for living rooms and bedrooms. Generously lit and polished with a glossy finish, the black wall will appear more stylish than any of its neutral counterparts. You can use it even more sparingly and apply it on few of the walls in your bathroom or kitchen.

By refreshing a black wall with creamy, beige, and white furniture, you will further enhance the elegance of your room. You can achieve the same effect by making walls flat black, and then finishing them with sheen graphic patterns.

The most engaging way to apply black in the kitchen is to use chalkboard paint, as this is both a stylish and a playful alternative. Chalkboard walls also have a practical aspect and keep households organized, as your children will have a place to check their daily chores and, and you will get a personalized cooking menu and to-do shopping list.

You’re absolutely right to think that black is a risky choice, and that’s exactly why you should apply it with care, and with some testing in advance. A smart thing to do is to take a large poster, paint it black, and then attach it to the wall to see how that looks.

San-Carlos-Mid-Century-Modern-Remodel-by-Klopf-Architecture Black Walls Ideas For Your Modern Interiors (47 Pictures)
Image source: Klopf Architecture

Return to the scene in a different time of the day to see how the color reflects both natural and artificial light. According to experienced designers, incandescent lights make the walls look slightly yellowish, while halogen ones create a more accurate effect.

Another way to dismiss the doubt is to paint small areas at a time, and try to picture how the room would look when absolutely black.

For instance, you can use black moderately in the bathroom, in order to give your chrome fixtures and framed mirrors the perfect and dynamic backdrops. You can also perform this experiment around your fireplace, or the inbuilt book shelves.

Get inspired

The ideal sources of inspiration are the things you love, be those wallpapers, favorite fabrics, or decorations with sentimental value.

Keep bright accents balanced

The magic of dark walls is that they diminish the visual mismatch between pieces originating from different eras, and keep the place cohesive and elegant.

Ritz-Residence-Boston-by-The-Morson-Collection Black Walls Ideas For Your Modern Interiors (47 Pictures)
Image source: The Morson Collection

The reason why we’re opting for dark and impactful colors is to transform its looks, enhance its spirit, and reflect our own personality. This is why we usually reroute from neutral palettes, and give the place an energizing vibe alike ours. These are the colors and tips that can help achieve that:

1. Deep red is the perfect wall color from many different aspects: it soothes down the brightness of your surroundings, and makes you feel cozy and completely encompassed by the room. Deep red will also help set off neutral furniture.

2. If interested to use bright, sunshiny yellow, you should select the right accessories and upholstery that will match it. A good guide could be the combinations used on patterned chintz and floral paintings.

3. Strong colors are not necessarily stimulating. The adequate mean to achieve stimulation is to use contrasts such as those found in the nature. A good choice would be to furnish a forest-green room with mahogany furniture.

The-Castaway-III-by-Marc-Rutenberg-Homes Black Walls Ideas For Your Modern Interiors (47 Pictures)
Image source: Marc Rutenberg Homes

4. Gradation causes visual changes in the room. Painting the room dark-to-medium will make it look larger than it is, instead of bringing the walls closer to each other as many people believe.

5. Black walls are not the only dramatic and bold choice you have available. In order to personalize your space, you can also paint with other colors, and create theatrical and interesting backdrops for your furniture (bookshelves, for instance).

6. If you find it difficult to decide on the right color, small color chips will not be enough. Instead, you should paint large cardboard sheets and prop those up in your room. This way, you will get the full picture of how your room is going to look like.

These are the main tips to remember when working with black paint:

1. Matte is a good alternative. Glossier variants showcase imperfections, not only with black but with any other color. In the case of black, nevertheless, the damage is even more noticeable, which is why you should always opt for a matte finish or a modern texture.

2. Ceilings should not be black. The only effect a black ceiling could have is making the room moodier and smaller, or even claustrophobic.

Central-Austin-Residence-Interior-by-hatch-ulland-owen-architects Black Walls Ideas For Your Modern Interiors (47 Pictures)
Image source: hatch + ulland owen architects

3. Accentuate with lighter colors. You should combine darker accent walls with lighter ones, or at least implement fresher patterns and architectural details to avoid a moody effect. We also recommend chair rails as wall dividers between a black top and a lighter bottom.

4. Use shiny, pale, and clean accessories. In order to provide your black theme with the necessary contrast, use light and metallic accessories.

5. Pay attention to lighting. Both natural and artificial lighting have a central role in black scenarios, and you should plan them in advance.

More black walls ideas to check out

If you consider having a black wall in your house you are a very courageous person and I admire you a lot.

Designing your rooms with black isn’t something that many would want, even though it is a modern approach and many interior designers would suggest it with certain limitations.

For example, using black paint on your room’s walls is recommended when you have contrasting furniture or various decorating elements so you would balance the room vibe. Black is a powerful and bold color but if you exaggerate with it you are going to make your room look like a tomb stone.

Without further ado, I’m presenting you a few ideas in these following pictures that could help you in designing your bedroom or office with black paint.

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Ending thoughts

Black walls have never been more popular than today, and we’re not referring to rebellious teenagers. All the way from Brooklyn to mid-America, dark and deep plunges are becoming the favorite solutions of adventurous designers.

It won’t be easy to work around a black theme, but it will be worth it. With adequate access to light and careful planning, the results will be nothing but fascinating.