Black is at the heart of trends with deep and elegant color par excellence. In paint, on tiles, or even on textiles, this dark shade integrates the decoration of all rooms. Whether in small touches or flat areas, black knows how to get noticed. But it is also a shade that can serve as a base. More discreet than fluorescent or candy pink, this dark color offers a graphic style to the home. This black color way tends to eclipse those around it and can be challenging to match. An interior designer and a color expert share their secrets for pairing black with other colors.
More than any other color, black is hard to match. It is solid and elegant, and it tends to overshadow certain shades or harden an interior. However, combining it with the right colors and placing it correctly in its decoration becomes a real asset for the latter. Like white, black is considered a “neutral” shade. These colors are both located at the ends of the chromatic frieze. But black doesn’t have that advantage where the white comes in multiple shades. It is also this lack of undertones that makes it challenging to combine. Interior designer explains which colors do not go well with black and how to use it in decoration.
What color does not go with black?
Black is a shade that can darken the space and give a sad tone to the decoration. Inès Deschodt advises avoiding associating it with “all the classic gray shades (pearl, mouse, anthracite…), to avoid not bring back sadness”. This also applies to white. Even if this duo is very graphic, it can be pretty harsh and lack warmth. It all depends on the mood you want to instill in the room. Vincent Vallée also recommends leaving out “all dark colors, such as brown, midnight blue or burgundy.” If they are enveloping, they may darken the room, and neither these colors nor black will be highlighted. They are better used as alternatives to black rather than as a compliment. It depends on their shades and undertones. It should also not be neglected that the rendering of color will not be the same according to the different coverings. In a black kitchen, a terrazzo splashback with burgundy tips can turn out to be very elegant and bright.
If dark colors are to be avoided, shades too light and pastel are not necessarily the most appropriate. “We must avoid delicate colors: powdery pinks, pale blues, soft yellows, and greens… Black kills their tenderness”, explains Vincent Vallée. Dark colors tend to absorb too light shades, which does not enhance them. These shades may also lack pigmentation. It is, therefore, necessary to prefer more frank colors, which stand out against this dark shade. “We have to wake up the dark,” recalls Inès Deschodt.
Colors to pair with black
Even if black is a difficult color to associate with, it is not impossible! This shade can even be a good ally in designing a graphic interior. Vincent Vallée recommends “strong shades, but a little muted, with brown or gray undertones.” Little Greene’s color expert also advises pop and worked hues, like steel blue or Klein. Inès Deschodt suggests turning to warm shades like an old rose. Mustard and black are also a duo at the heart of the trends that balance each other out. “Dare the mustard base with a black line. It’s exquisite!” Confirms the interior designer. It also evokes khaki, a dark but organic color that accompanies black. “There are millions of special cases!” recalls Vincent Vallée. It all leans on the luminosity of the space, its size, or even function.
How to use black in your decor?
Play the black with small touches with a border
In decoration, the use of black requires a particular talent. Indeed, the coatings and finishes used do not offer the same results. In painting, it is more enveloping, whereas it seems more luminous in zellige. This is also true for the colors you associate with it. “If you are afraid of painting, it is possible to take accessories, explains Inès Deschodt. When you want to change a solid color, you have to think about the base raised with a black line. This color, thus makes it possible to emphasize some aspects of the decoration. “It is the quantity that makes the quality,” recalls Vincent Vallée. For the color expert of Little Greene, you can afford a large quantity of black in small spaces such as the toilets, the dressing room, or the entrance. The pro advises playing this color sparingly on large surfaces, such as in the living room or the kitchen. He also suggests the use of black on the ground. “It’s a fairly intense rendering, delightful. It sits the ground, gives it solidity, and it highlights the carpets”, he concludes.