How to Use the Most Stylish Color of the Year: Black


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Black accent walls, ceilings, furniture – black is making a comeback. Similar to the little black dress, this color can be casual or elegant, depending on the accessories. It’s the boldest color, and yet it’s also neutral, making it the perfect choice when decorating. Here are some of the trendiest ways to use the color in your next decorating project.

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black penthouse

This San Francisco penthouse is sleek, yet cozy. Image: DesignLine Construction

Create a cozy, calming atmosphere

According to Dee Schlotter, senior color marketing manager for the PPG Paints brand, “Black is a classic color that is now finding its way onto the walls, creating silence, space and quiet in a very busy, distracting world.” If you treat it as a neutral paint color, it will create a lot of design options. “It goes with everything and can take the guesswork out of decorating,” she says. “Black not only complements other design elements, but also can be used to make a statement.”

Use it as a statement color

Black Flame is the PPG Paints 2018 Color of the Year. Therefore, Schlotter encourages treating it as the fashion statement it is. “Treat your walls like a fashion runway and envelop the wall, trim and ceiling in it, and the hue will act like a black curtain and allow your artwork, furniture and other elements to take center stage.”

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black accent wall

The wall and chairs are balanced by the light colors. Image: Klopf Architecture

Accent a wall

While the color black has gained popularity over the past few years, Andrea Magno, Benjamin Moore Color and Design Expert, warns readers to maintain balance when using this color. “Black works best as a wall color when there is ample natural and artificial light in a room, and when there are elements in the space that are lighter in color. For instance, in a living or dining room painted black, pale floors and light furniture will balance out the wall color so that the overall look isn’t too dark or heavy.”

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black window trim

In addition to the pendant lights and chairs, black is also used for this kitchen’s window and ceiling trim and cabinets. Image: The Works

Highlight windows and ceilings

You can use the color to define certain spaces and also direct the eye in a certain direction. Magno says that black trim is becoming popular, and that even a small amount of the color on trim and windows contrasts well with light-colored walls. “Sheen also plays a role with black paint, because a high sheen will be more apparent on a darker color as the highlights on the surface will appear more defined, while a lower sheen will complement a dark color by making a surface look very rich.”

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black interior doors

This entryway and hallway create a dramatic entrance. Image: Wow Great Place

Accent interior doors

Schlotter says that interior doors have become the new accent wall in the house. “Painting interior doors offers a great opportunity to showcase the door or just add some interest in a room,” she says. In this instance, the white trim keeps the area from being too dark.

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black kitchen

Almost all of the surface in this kitchen are dark and sophisticated. Image: Design Line Construction

Make your kitchen glamorous

This kitchen has a black backsplash, countertops, cabinets and trim. But, if you’re not ready for a full makeover, you can still use this color on a budget. “Modernize your kitchen by incorporating black matte lower cabinets with upper open shelving, adding sophistication and elegance into your cooking space,” Schlotter advises.

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black bathroom

This isn’t your grandparents’ powder room. Image: Thomas Dietrich

Create a stylish powder room

It’s a myth that small places should only be painted light colors. “Dark colors, like black, can be perfect for smaller spaces, like a powder room, making it unexpected and on-trend,” Schlotter says. “You will be the talk of the neighborhood by being so bold — and it will look amazing.”

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black living room

The painted parquet floor creates a contemporary look. Image: Adam72

Use as a flooring option

According to Texas-based designer Pablo Solomon, the most common trends now are black/white tile patterns, photos, art and area rug patterns, plus the selective painting of accent furniture.

While it may seem like a daunting color, Magno says that it can produce amazing results — when you use it in a way that best suits both the room and your design goals.

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black tub

This bathroom’s fixtures, door hardware and towel hangers pop against the white walls. Image: Whiting Architecture

Don’t forget hardware and fixtures

According to Lyndsey Dianne, the owner and operator of, you can also use black to punctuate a room. “Cabinet hardware in a matte black finish is very popular right now,” she says. “Plumbing fixtures such as showerheads and sink faucets in matte black are also trendy options for your home.” In the photo above, the patterned floor keeps the room from looking too stark.

How will you be using this color of the year in your next design?

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