RISMEDIA, November 28, 2009—(MCT)—Black walls are popping up in upscale shelter magazines, hipster design blogs and just about everywhere in between. Witness the black dining room at the Benjamin Moore paints website, where “Black Satin” is one of the featured “Colors for Your Home, 2009.”
“It’s funny how these things get in the air, isn’t it?” says Stephen Drucker, editor-in-chief of House Beautiful, which recently showcased black rooms from the home of designer Windsor Smith. “It took us very much by surprise, but we did suddenly start to see a lot of it.”
Explanations range from the economic (dark colors reflect the recession) to the aesthetic, with Apartmenttherapy.com founder Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan saying that people are tired of Scandinavian minimalism and are seeking bolder, darker, more traditional interiors.
And then there’s that brown wall thing. Dark brown walls have enjoyed a niche appeal for about four years, but with that color now going mainstream, designers are on the prowl for a new dark and daring option. Or, as Gillingham-Ryan puts it, “Black is the new brown.”
Drucker recently answered our pressing questions about black walls, chief among them: Should we ever, ever attempt this at home?
Q: Black walls? Are you sure this is a good idea for grown-ups?
A: Excuse me, what about the little black dress? What color is more associated with being chic and sophisticated and modern than black?
Q: Who should consider black walls?
A: Someone who sees them and falls in love with them. Black is not for the faint of heart. But it’s more versatile than you might think it is. It could be really great in any kind of library or game room or man-cave kind of situation. Let’s say you had a bathroom with a lot of white tile, or maybe a little black-and-white tile, and only a little wall space. It could be really beautiful there.
Q: Can you use black in small spaces?
A: Sure, dark colors are the best colors to use in small spaces. Dark colors make the corners disappear. Use dark colors in a small room and you’ll never think of it as small again. While this is totally counterintuitive, when you paint a small room a dark color, the corners disappear. You lose all sense of how big it is.
Q: What’s the safest way to try black?
A: If you’re not a professional designer, the safest thing is in a room with a lot of white trim. If you use pale blue upholstery or, depending on your taste, pink or stripes, it could be really chic.
-If your walls aren’t smooth, be prepared to patch and sand, or just avoid glossy black, says Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan of apartmenttherapy.com. A matte or satin finish will hide imperfections.
-Keep it crisp with clean, white trim. And make sure those whites are spotless.
-To get the richness that you want from black walls, use a really good dark-tone primer or be prepared to use several coats of paint.
-Want the style without the full commitment? Consider painting a hallway black, says Gillingham-Ryan.
-Add a little something shiny to the room to bounce light around and give a nod to fashion. Imagine silver or brass buttons on a tailored black jacket. Metal accents or even a mirror will work.
(c) 2009, Chicago Tribune.
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