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Black Walls: A Lasting Trend?

Kelley Interior Design

More than a decade ago, my cousin painted her small living room black. At the time, I was skeptical, but now it's perfectly clear that she was truly ahead of her time; indeed, in retrospect, those black walls with her black and white toile sofa was super chic).

In any case, black walls have been a growing trend in the design world for several years now and they don't appear to be going anywhere in 2011. I've been a bit slow in embracing this trend (despite my love of darker wall colors like plum, navy and peacock blue), but I can say now that I've fully come around. While I'm not sure how and if I'll work it into my home, I do enjoy coveting some of the amazing rooms that designers have created featuring black walls.

The large bedroom above is an absolute favorite of mine. What I find particularly striking is how light the room feels, despite the dark walls. A good tip for those looking to test out black walls but scared of making a room too dark: keep your ceiling, trim and your floors light. The accents of red in the room, inspired by the black grounded shell motif fabric used throughout the space keep the room from being too monochromatic. Much as I love black and white, I find a total lack of an accent color to be too hard to live with.

Windsor Smith

Black walls really highlight the detailed molding in this small office. The graphic effect is mimicked in the iron windows and wrought iron lantern. I particularly love how Windsor painted the ceiling in a glossy pale blue. It adds a touch of lightness to the space. Oh yeah, and how awesome is that flame stitch office chair?

Atlanta Decorator's Show House

Black is an obvious choice for a study, library or den, where a cozier, darker environment is a welcome respite from a day's worth of work and chores.

Sally Steponkus

If you want the graphic punch but are a bit afraid of feeling closed in, try just painting one wall. I'm not generally a fan of an accent wall, but I do think it works well in a bedroom (of course, you have to put your bed against said accent wall to pull this office!). Of course, the white bed frame and side tables against the dark wall makes the most of both. Remember: it's all about contrast!
Ruthie Sommers (via domino)

Tight spaces can sometimes really benefit from the black wall treatment. It may seem counter intuitive but dark walls can really create a feeling of more space as they recede in the background -- and can highlight other great features like a fun turquoise door or high ceilings.

Sherrill Canet

This dining room is an all-time favorite of mine. The black background of this gorgeous wallpaper modernizes classic Chinoiserie and the silver ceiling generate some serious drama. The more casual dining table and chairs keeps the room from feeling too stuffy. To paraphrase Mary Poppins: it's practically perfect in every way.

Image from Marie Claire Maison

A black bathroom, like a black kitchen, is a fun deviation from the standard white -- and I'd argue it's just as classic. Of course a black clawfoot tub is just the icing on the cake. One thing I don't like about this room though: those floors. That shade of green reminds me of the green marble that was oh so popular in the '80s. Yuck.

Jenna Lyons - Domino

Somehow, I feel like the Jenna Lyons spread in domino a few years ago was a major catalyst for the black wall craze that's been raging ever since. I'll admit that the black cast iron tub paired with the brass fixtures and herringbone wood floor still leaves me breathless.

Image via Metropolitan Home

I can describe this room in 3 words: Drama, drama, drama. This image appeared on Metropolitan Home's last book Glamour: Making it Modern and I can tell you that it was just about the sole reason I picked up a copy (yes, I did judge a book by its cover!).

Anne Coyle

Black walls are a great backdrop for artwork. Like white walls, they let the art do most of the talking, but unlike white walls, you won't feel like you're sleeping in a sterile art gallery.

Stephen Shubel

While I love a white kitchen, black cabinetry is definitely growing on me. Shubel did a nice job here of keeping the look monochromatic and graphic. The flatweave rug is very chic. I also like how he selected two different countertops. The black marble on the island creates a ton of drama, but the white marble on the cabinets behind tone things down and blend in seamlessly with the creamy walls.

Image via Canadian House and Home

Another black kitchen, this time from the 2010 Canadian House and Home designer show house. The mix of materials is great and I love the crisp white beadboard ceiling. The stone floor and kitchen table and chairs add a French bistro touch that nicely balances all that black and stainless steel.

Rob Southern (via House Beautiful)

Entryways and hallways are great opportunities to experiment with black walls without really having to live with it. These walls are actually covered in vinyl wallpaper, which I'd imagine would be more cost-effective and long-lasting than lacquered walls.

Image via House Beautiful

I like how this den feels less buttoned up than most black rooms. Instead of dramatic, it feels cozy -- but it's still sophisticated (as evidenced by that fabulous KWID fabric).

Steven Gambrel

This den feels at once incredibly masculine and incredibly dramatic. The liquid leather armchairs combined with the glossy black walls (and glossy marigold yellow ceiling!) are admittedly pretty over the top. And yet Gambrel manages to balance them with smart striped curtains and a softer, more beat up leather sofa and armchair.

So what do you think, are black walls a new classic or still just a passing trend?

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