black is the new…ummm, black.


via marie-ll.

it’s a new year, and time for new beginnings! i’ve been thinking i need a change from all my white on white, so which direction do i head? to black — exactly the opposite! i love these rich, black and charcoal gray walls, and am just trying to get up the guts to go for it! i’ve been taking a peek at what colors benjamin moore’s got (like Baby Seal Black), and i think painting some dark charcoal gray-almost black walls might look dramatic and quite stylish in my living room with the copper fireplace, and the contrast of all my white furnishings. here’s some yummy examples! shall i go for it?


via 6.5st.


via james merrell photography.


via heidill.


via emma’s design blog.


via domino deco files, sfgirlbybay, james merrell photography, and again, the sorely missed domino deco files.


via Lolalina.


via door sixteen.

mosaic3via amber filkins, door sixteen, ddomino deco files, and what about a beautiful black floor, via souvenirs du passé récent.


via domino deco files.


chalkboard paint might be a good idea, too!

via lauren sh, [ j a m i e ], simply grove, and again lauren sh.

60 Responses to “black is the new…ummm, black.”
  1. abby says:

    Such a good post!
    You are making me want to go buy some paint.
    And I am laughing so hard about your previous post-I am also guilty of that one :)

  2. jana says:

    What a fun post!! I do love warm, black is a bit harsh for my eye, but chalkboard paint is amazing!! The thing I worry about is the practicality of the walls once painted—the “everything shows” possibility.

    I do love to mix it up and use warm trim, especially in masculine spaces.

    lovely illustrations Victoria!!

  3. rae dunn says:


  4. Julia says:

    YES! it will be gorgeous!

  5. victoria says:

    i really, really want to do it! you all are encouraging me!! :)

  6. Shanti says:

    The walls in my apartment were painted dark dark charcoal when I moved in and I love it! Black is a great foundation for colorful artwork and furniture. It gave me the excuse to buy the red Eames day bed I had been wanting forever. (although the white as pictured also looks amazing).

  7. Rachel says:

    should you go black? what kind of lighting do you have in your room? if you do glossy black, it will reflect light back into the room, but beware: if your walls are anything but perfect, every bump and crack will show up. a rich charcoal gray might be lovely. be sure to prime with a tinted primer first, or you’ll be painting a bazillion coats of color. best of luck!

  8. Laura says:

    never thought I would like a black wall, but the photos you shared make a pretty convincing argument! I especially like the full on chalk board wall. Do it!

  9. xojy says:

    We love our new dark grey walls.

  10. nina says:

    I love the black but that would be a drastic change for you. I say go with something ‘almost black’.

  11. victoria says:

    thanks everyone for all the great input and suggestions. i’m thinking a matte charcoal gray. the room is so bright and light, so nothing too reflective. just a nice smooth gray!

  12. Pamela says:

    The classic. Now and forever.

  13. I say go for it, it’s only paint. Think about how great photography looks framed in black and white–it will be the same in your home, too. My daughter wants me to repaint her room in a dark charcol (love that Door Sixteen photo) and I can’t wait to get started. Great post!

  14. I will definitely keep this post close by. Have been thinking of painting my bathroom black!
    Thank you for the share!

  15. tammy says:

    I love that baby’s room (with the beckett letters for his name)… I’ve seen it so many times and it’s so tempting to do that to our spare room, it is such a cute room and so out of the ordinary for a kids room.

  16. Brandi says:

    I love the way black is used in these rooms. It’s so fantastically dramatic and chic.

  17. ever since reading an article on luytens who said he always had to have a black wall somewhere in his house, i’ve always had a black wall somewhere in my house…..and its so timely now… seems black is the new black

  18. Karina says:

    I really like it but I am not brave enough.

  19. I am a big fan of white but I do think one of the best and most stylish design ideas of the last little while is black front doors. I just love them.
    They look so stylish against a lightly painted house.

  20. Hege says:

    Yea! Black is elegant! Have always loved it, but I don’t think I could handle four black walls in one room. My house has lots of black details and I am very satisfied! Great post and lovely blog

  21. decor8 says:

    Go for it. I can’t wait to see the results. Or try black wallpaper, easier to reverse if you hate it – rip it down. Painting over black is a bitch, man!

    Oh by can I play mommy for a moment? Make sure you ask your landlord first if you’re going with black. My friend’s son painted a wall in his bedroom black and the landlord freaked out. I mean FREAKED out despite that their agreement said they could paint. Black isn’t something landlords expect or like — most are a bit old school and associate it with goth or satanist high schoolers, but then again you live in San Francisco so perhaps your landlord is absolutely the cool cat ever.


  22. decor8 says:

    sorry for all the typos, btw. I’m typing on my lap which is not the norm for me. I feel like I could make faster more accurate progress using my toes at this point.

  23. victoria says:

    i vow to brave and do this!

    thanks holly! actually my landlords are pretty cool about this (i.e. they are absentee landlords who could use some paint – especially the outside of the building!). and everyone has crazy colored walls, so i think i will go for it! :)

  24. victoria says:

    ha! did not notice typos! ;)

  25. I just painted a wall in my bedroom charcoal grey and I LOVE it SOOOOOO much. I highly suggest you go for it!!

  26. There is something both cozy and clean when the walls are bathed in black. It allows everything else to choose to either hide or jump out and shine.

  27. Ann says:

    HI Victoria— Happy New Year! I say go for it! We just painted our living room a dark, rich matte charcoal gray and I love it! Your place would look awesome!

  28. Mandi says:

    Ah, you should so do it!! It’s just paint, right? :) And, if you’re going to do it, I could do it during the wintertime. It’s so cozy. Although, your winters don’t need the cozy factor quite as much as our northern ohio winters. ha

  29. victoria says:

    Happy New Year Ann! xo

    I’d love to know what color y’all chose – please share them here!

    I think you’re right Mandi – very cozy!

  30. so inspiring. my hall is painted a rather dark grey – but i would have never thought black could look so good. thanks for a great post!

  31. Ann says:

    We used Ralph Lauren Winchester. xo

  32. victoria says:

    Cool! Thanks Ann! :) xoxo

    thanks kristina!

  33. I love a touch of black. Takes guts!

  34. Lisa says:

    I would die for a big black chalk board wall. Maybe in another year.

  35. Go for it! I painted a large wall in my son’s room with black chalkboard paint, and it looks great. I actually like it more when it’s clean with no drawings!

  36. shellbell says:

    deep velvety grey walls excite me like nothing else.

  37. Sarah says:

    Yes, go for it!! great idea to mix it up and who can resist the stunning black and white combo?? If you do paint, please share the pix (I know you will)!!

  38. there seems to be a huge black wall thing happening right now, which is just fine with me because i’ve been obsessed for quite some time. these are such fantastic images, thanks for sharing!

    xo katherine aka. urban flea :)

  39. Kim says:

    Y.E.S. Go for it! The tricky part will be deciding on the perfect shade of black! Just like white, there is a myriad of shades of black from which to choose. Black accent walls in particular seem to be everywhere. I really like midnight blue which does appear to be black in dim light.

    Are you going to keep all of your old accessories (e.g. lots of pink) or use different accent colors?

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  40. victoria says:

    thanks for the encouragement everyone! and yes, i think there is a big presence of black around these days – i like the idustrial chic, look!

    so kim, with that said, i’ll probably be storing away some of my accessories – the bright colorful ones, but may like to leave a dash of pink here and there!

  41. Becka says:

    Oooh, yes! Do it! I really love the charcoal/black with an off white and wood, it makes it not too scary early nineties and just super stylish and warm. Love it!

  42. very daring, but of anyone it’s you to pull it off…and these days, they definitely make paint that will cover the black whenever you feel like changing again. My brother painted his bedroom ceiling black back in 1979 (my mom was not the least bit thrilled) and around 1986 when my mom attempted to repaint… it took 4 million coats ;-)

  43. Anna says:

    oh i love the chalkboard paint. on smaller unsuspecting places. but i’m also a sucker for charcoal-grey.

  44. Deborah says:

    Hi Victoria-
    Definitely go for it. We have an old wooden a-frame in sausalito and we just had it painted Caviar Black from Sherwin Williams. It’s just purr-fect. Also in our design studio – we have two doors from Home Depot that we painted in chalk-board black and we put our lists, etc. on them. They are a happy pair and always catch peoples attention. Plus we get the drama- and can move them whenever we feel the need.

  45. simplygrove says:

    Oh, please do!!!! It will look amazing:)

  46. Lovely and very inspiring post!

  47. jenny says:

    but how do you see spiders like the big mamma I saw on my pale wall tonight?

  48. yes! i’m such a fan of this look. it’s very modern and elegant at the same time. go for it! it’s just paint ;)

  49. Lecia says:

    Color can greatly affect mood. If you’re in a foggy part of SF you may end up feeling oppressed with dark walls – just saying. I do love the look – especially with chalkboard paint.

  50. victoria says:

    thanks everyone! i’m set to do this!

    lecia – thanks! it’s really super bright in my living room as i have tons of natural light – even if it’s foggy, so i think it will actually warm up the room. :)

  51. Elie's Papel says:

    I’ve always wanted to do the blackboard wall but my apartment is not big enough to have one… though i really like it in public spaces because they create a great focal point

  52. B says:

    I’ve always loved white on white, but now I want black walls too! Please do it and show us! :)

  53. Jesse Lu says:

    I really love the whole ‘black interiors’ thing… but I just could never live with it myself I don’t think… Too much of a color fanatic I guess. Thankfully a good friend is planning on going black in her new home so I’ll be able to live vicariously through her. ;)

  54. Brenda England says:

    This is reminding me of the Trading Spaces episode where they did an all white bedroom and all black bedroom. The black and white combination though is more appealing especially if you use an accent colour that pops. I wanted to do a bathroom in my basement black with the white fixtures but got out voted, so instead it is a milk chocolate brown (yummy).
    Go for it, Victoria. You can always cover it up with wallpaper.
    Brenda in Canada

  55. Carole says:

    Absolutely go for it. Tres chic. Think matt looks better than gloss I have to say but will look fab with white. x

  56. Yes yes! I am taking the plunge in my tiny office with one solid black wall and plan on hanging a photo collage on it. I even created a mock-up in Photoshop and posted it on my blog and got a great response. I say – why not??

    Cheers and Happy New Year,

  57. I love these photos! Black seems like one of those paint colors that can go horribly wrong or amazingly right, depending on how you decorate around it. Too much black in a room seems like it would make things seem very small, but one or two walls or big black accent areas like the doors above look great! When I was a teenager, my room was painted a dark navy blue, and while I covered it with posters as teens do, looking back on it, that color had so many possibilities.

  58. victoria says:

    thanks everyone! i’m inspired.

    BUT – i just noticed, and i am cracking up – i wrote ‘cooper’ fireplace, not copper. and it’s mostly funny because when i adopted my dog, his name was ‘copper’, and i thought it too redundant (he was that lovely, bronzey color), so my friend joni suggested i change one consonant to a vowel. voilá. cooper. :)

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