“I’ve been 40 years discovering that the queen of all colours was black,” said artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
While painting your entire house in the French impressionist’s preferred shade might be a little overwhelming, black can act as an eye-catching highlight or serve as a bold contrast when used with discretion. Here are our tips for introducing the tone into your home.
Black has long been a popular design trend with the aristocracy, from the ebony beams of the Tudor's residences to the dark furniture of the Victorian era. Bring this upscale colour into your home with period pieces like an 18th-century Chinoiserie cabinet inlaid with mother of pearl or a 1930s shell sofa in black velvet. With ebony underpinning strong yellows, blues and greens during aestheticism's heyday, adorn your walls with art prints from the late 19th century to add a hint of the hue to your home.
The ombre effect
Black paint won’t make a room feel smaller if you fade out to grey at eyeline on a feature wall. Finish with white ceilings and clever use of track lighting to add depth and illuminate the space. Mirrors also reflect light, creating the sense of a larger room, and contrast well with darker shades. A dash of ebony can create a stunning focal point on anything from wallpapers to drapes.
It’s always black and white
Black blends brilliantly with other shades but is most exceptional against its striking counterpoint: white. From a glossy black bathroom wall contrasting with shiny white accessories to a darkly stained floor offsetting white furniture, there are several ways to go monochrome with success.
Due to its sultry nature, black works best with luxurious textures; a charcoal leather Eames chair with a fur throw will make a sumptuous statement in your living room, for example. It also pairs well with wood, so it’s the ideal colour for a fireplace. Black with gold gilding is instantly glamorous, and in small doses it can offset bright colours without looking too chaotic.
Minor details, maximum impact
Whether it’s a black picture frame or a dark stripe on a cushion or curtain, splashes of ebony will add focus and character to a room. These types of finishing touches are subtle yet serve as definition points to draw the eye and create a streamlined decor.
Have a little fun
Black tends to be considered a serious and grown-up choice, but it can be used in a light-hearted manner. A chalkboard wall in a kitchen, hallway or child’s bedroom adds a personal touch to the home and is useful for leaving messages, sketching drawings or making shopping lists.
Whether you're searching for a home with the latest colour schemes or a property to renovate, Engel & Völkers' website is an invaluable resource for inspiration and ideas. With real-estate offices in 37 countries over four continents, our teams of highly experienced and knowledgeable staff can also advise on all aspects of luxury living.