The Reasons You Should Use a Black Paint Color in Your Space

I often use a little of the color black in the overall color palettes I create for clients. There are several reasons why you should use a black paint color in your home. I’m going to show you what those are by featuring black paint color placement in my recent collaborative project with Kole Custom Home Builders.

reasons to add a black paint color to your space

1) A black paint color adds formality and sophistication.

Here was the build-out of the breakfast area of the new home. The builder used horizontal shiplap to create texture for the walls of this room.

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before

I specified white for the shiplap walls and trim, all in a semi-gloss finish for easy clean-up and light reflection. I had the painters top the room with a darkish grayed blue color and finish it out with a black paint color on the windows. Just the windows here, not the trim around the windows.

black windows shiplap room

 

Even this informal breakfast room – it’s shiplap, afterall – looks a bit more formal with the eyeliner effect of a black paint color on the windows.

Here’s the before of the kitchen in the house:

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before

The after is a stunning example of using a black paint color in a white kitchen design. Here, I had them paint the windows AND window trim black for dramatic effect. The island is black, too, of course – which pulls out the veining in the countertops. That black range hood just tops it off beautifully. You’ll notice the shiplap breakfast room is just off to the left of this photo.

black and white kitchen design

 

I decided to have them paint ALL the windows of this house a black color, so it’s a thread that runs throughout the entire space. The light fixtures and the fireplace tile repeat the black color. Looking at it after the fact, I wish I had had them do the backs of the bookcases black, as well. Hindsight is 20/20 . . .

black island designer kitchen

 

2) A black paint color emphasizes focal points.

This upstairs bonus room needed a light color on the walls, as well as a focal point.

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before

Light gray walls and white trim brightened things up, while the black windows, wood beams, and light fixtures draw you back into the cavernous room.

slanted ceilings wooden beam design

 

The black fireplace tile definitely draws your eye.

black tile fireplace

 

The master bedroom had lots of interesting architectural detail to work with.

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before

To avoid it becoming too busy, I specified a white paint color for the trim and ceiling beams. The black windows emphasizes the views and the warm gray paint color is a soothing choice for a master bedroom.

wood beams in bedroom design

 

3) A black paint color can draw your eye through a space.

A little black at the end of a hall or corridor can draw you down a hall or across the room, like the black windows you encounter when you hit the landing of the stairs.

benjamin moore sweet spring paint color

 

And, last but not least:

4) A black paint color can keep a space from becoming too saccharine.

Here’s another lovely bedroom. The softest gray green on the walls and a gray blue ceiling could have looked too “sweet” without a little black paint color in the space. Sometimes something sweet could use a little salt:

gray paint color with black windows

 

There’s lots of ways to enhance your architecture with a black paint color. Check out my posts about black doors, as well as other things you may want to paint black.

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30 thoughts on “The Reasons You Should Use a Black Paint Color in Your Space

  1. Lydia Glynn says:

    Great post !
    What is that grayish blue color and where can I get it? And where is this house and is it for sale?

  2. Emily says:

    I love the black “eyeliner.” I often find black to be too intimidating because I don’t want my home to look overly masculine and hard, but you used it with perfect balance and you are right, the result is sophisticated. What is the tile or brick used in the fireplace-it’s lovely!

  3. Susan Silverman says:

    Great post! To me, not having some black in a room, whether it be paint or furnishings, is like a face without eyebrows!

  4. Shannon Hickman says:

    Your ideas are amazing – – and make such good sense. I like the way you explain the methods behind your decisions. Also the brown shade of black you used in the kitchen is so PERFECT because it’s a brownish-black – – a color seen more often in nature than super-dark black. I would love to know the color!!! Please share!!

  5. Joanne says:

    Kristie, this is absolutely stunning work you’ve done here! I could not agree more about the use of black. If I cannot use black paint, I try to add black accents or accessories to help ground a space. Beautiful post.

  6. Beth Lester Designs says:

    Love, love, love this project! I’ve been itching to use some black, especially for a front door. It’s so rare to see paintable window frames in SoCal – everything is vinyl. Love the “eyeliner,” the black fireplace tile, the black in the kitchen, etc, etc.

    Great job!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Beth, yeah, the vinyl windows drive me crazy – it really limits what you can do. It’s why I refuse to replace my energy-inefficient original wood windows. They are so much prettier and have so much more character – plus, you can paint them whatever color you wish! The windows in both my dining room and my home office are Benjamin Moore Prescott Green. The windows in our new upstairs renovation are black – both the windows and the trim around the windows (like the kitchen windows of this house). I love it!

      • Kathy says:

        Actually properly renovated wood windows with a storm can be nearly as efficient as a new window (R-3) and last much longer, and can be painted any color you want.

        There are a number of products and ways to do this. I recommend The Craftsman Blog for DIY advice and a really nice e-book for owners of old homes. Bob Yapp has some great paint and window articles on his website and offers 3-day window repair bootcamps. I went and it was terrific, and even included a gourmet lunch. John Leeke of Historic Homeworks has lots of info and videos on his website. They joined forces with other window restoration companies around the USA and tested various window repair techniques with the Wood Window Architectural Standards Collaborative. The publication is a little pricey and technical, but it and other studies have proved over and over that window repair not only saves the architectural character of your home, they can be efficient as well. Surprisingly, simple DIY interior storms made with a simple wood frame and window film on both sides (John Leeke calls it an air panel and has directions on his web site) rated nearly as well as a full window restoration. There are lots of commercial options for interior storm too, and DIY magnetic kits.

        Unfortunately, the smash and replace approach is faster, although not always cheaper, and is heavily marketed. And finding workmen who know how to repair is getting harder and harder–used to be every handyman knew how. The WPA website of window repair professionals is a place to start to find workmen, as possibly your local and state historic preservation offices.

  7. carolanne says:

    never been on the fence about black… we have had black doors (not the trim, just the doors) for at least 10 years in two different condos …
    just redid our kitchen and bathroom cupboards in black, we are in love… white marble and tiles, grey tile floors, heaven on earth…
    I love this blog post, I will use your talking points with clients, just did a black table in a room with all maple tables that were not to be changed (older clients with rockston tables) new black tables is my default to help a room with a lot of oak that will not be leaving, lol…

  8. Robin says:

    I am reading this at two in the morning (decorating for Spring gone wild lol) and I just love every single picture you posted. What an amazing transformation! The subtle use of black here and there on windows and doors looks so stylish. I seriously am considering grabbing my paintbrush and pulling an all nighter (insert chuckle). What a beautiful home! Great job!

  9. Tiffany says:

    I am infatuated with the black windows! I have wood frame windows, with plantation shutters, and white vinyl mullions between the glass. Would it be hideous to paint the frame around the plantation shutters, and the frame around the window itself (when shutters are fully opened), and have the white mullions and shutters still??? I just love the “eyeliner” idea. Is that just a bad idea? Or could it maybe work?

  10. jill says:

    Love it! Was just noticing that my large kitchen window and trim needs to be painted. I think black just like you did in this kitchen would be perfect with my soft black soapstone countertops. My only hesitation is that while my window frames themselves are wood, the mullions are “faux” and inside the two panels of glass. They are white and I’m sure vinyl and I’m guessing there is no way to get them out to paint them.
    In any event, would love it if you could share the shade of soft black paint you used on the kitchen windows.

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