Why do Interior Designers use Black for Interiors?

What meanings does black have?

Color is an interior designer’s secret weapon, especially black. If you know the meanings and associations with all the individual colors, then you can use them to evoke emotions, make things appear to retreat or disappear, create the illusion of height or bring make something look wider. The same with making a space feel cool or warm. If you really get to know your color meanings you cannot just create looks, but you can also create a space that evokes feelings and makes the user feel at home. Just like white and gray – black is not actually a color, it is a neutral, but for keeping it simple we’ll call it a color.

Black Color Meanings - Intimidating, Dignity, Fatigue, Worldly, Stunning, Powerful, Aloof, Cold, Slimming, Finality, Bereavement, Death, Morbid, Dramatic, Sophisticated, Mystery, Uncertainty, Fright, Intimidated, Elegant, Enclosing, Dark, Expensive, Neutral.

Black is associated with - structural building items, disguising bad features, solid form, commercial spaces.

Watch the video, tap along to the music and get an understanding of how black is used for interior design.

Black at it's best

Look at the contrast between the yellow jacket and the black building – see how the black makes the yellow look more intense.

Black backdrop for bold color

We often think of it as dark, heavy and morbid, but when it is used with warm colors it can be sophisticated, mysterious and provide a sense of intimidation, very useful in offices, or commercial spaces like this.

Black relief - hard to see.

It doesn’t show off the form of objects very well as light is absorbed rather that reflected from it. Therefore if you have a sculpture or architectural features and detail where seeing the form is important, having a gloss finish rather than a matt will provide a bit more definition as there will be a small amount of light reflection. As you can see in this room, there is not a lot of light and you do struggle to get the best from the intricate detail.

stylish black leather furniture

Black is a popular color for leather furniture, it looks sleek and smart and powerful in corporate offices especially when teamed with chrome and glass, or brass and timber like this image.

black walls

Black is a masculine color, and men do tend to gravitate to darker colors, especially if it is a sports car! Black in this room provides an intimate feeling, it is enclosing and provides a sense of mystery. But black is now becoming more popular with women, especially when teamed with hot pink, teenagers love this for their bedrooms, it provides a sense of drama to their room. A black chalkboard is ideal for them to safely write their thoughts on the wall.

Mosaic tiled bathroom

Black in this bathroom creates a sense of steady elegance, it is a solid form and makes a powerful statement, it is however slightly intimidatingly. It is not a popular choice for wall colors as it is very enclosing and can be intimidating like this room, but it is used often as a contrasting accent color in bathrooms.

Black and white check and stripe

Black is a dramatic color providing the greatest contrast when teamed with white. Check out the checkered floor with stripes that go up the wall – I love it! This color combination is used everywhere you look, and you will start looking now. Probably not as dramatic as this but certainly used regularly because it has a timeless and classic look and feel.

Stunning entrance and front door
Learn how to create a statement

As mentioned above, black and white teamed together make a grand statement. This entrance to a home looks stunning, there is no doubt where the stairs are! The check out how the front door is solid black. Black front doors create a solid look and feel with a sense of security, heavy weight, sophistication and powerful presence.

dark floor

Black is often useful to hide or camouflage things that you don’t want to highlight as it does not reflect light from it. If you want something to disappear, use a matt black and it often goes unnoticed. You can see that the designer has used a black floor here to camouflage it, they want you to focus on the food cabinet and buy! It is a good color to use on the floor as it is dark and grounds the color scheme.

Some other Great Features

Black when combined with metallic gold, silver, copper and brass creates an opulent look and feel. It is often used for joinery hardware to create an elegant accent. Being a neutral it can team up with any color and can have a high contrast effect, just think of a zebra black and white stripes or a bumble bee – yellow and black stripes. Black when teamed with red and white is always a stunning, eye catching color combination. Interior decorators love black rich glossy lacquer paint finishes which are very popular in Japanese design, combined with red and gold, provides a very striking look. Architects love matt black, they love the solidness and the sense of drama and uncertainty it evokes. A black granite bench top creates a look of sophistication and elegance in the kitchen. It is used often for light fittings, accessories and door hardware to provide a neutral color from which to work your color scheme around. It can be used for almost anything, even ceilings, especially in commercial and insustrial situations when the want to lower the ceiling and disguise what’s above you. As a designer don’t rule out black as a meaningless color, it’s there to be mysterious and is just so versatile – give it a go.

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