Matte Black is the New Black

I must admit that when I think of high-gloss black, I think cheesy bachelor pad.  In the 1980’s.  Today, the hottest way to play with black is to use remove the gloss – matte black is in.   You might just want to go with an accent wall, like here.



Think chalkboard black – not ink black.  Maybe this matte black thing started with all the chalkboard paint that people started using in their homes.  It not only was functional, but looked pretty cool.



These living room walls are seriously black, but white accents keep it sharp. 



 I think I prefer the almost-black choice, like this wall.  Like gray-black or blue-black.



I think this works really well with this bold lime color on the door.



This room is amazing – white walls, black trim, ceiling, chandeliers, and gray on the floor and sofa.  Then – an acid green sofa  and ottoman plunked down in the middle of it!  Now that’s what makes this room sing. 



I like this massive black headboard (made from three hollow core doors!), but I do think it would look better in a matte finish rather than it’s current gloss. 




The white on the walls, ceilings, light fixtures, and island make the black flooring and lower cabinetry look grounding rather than dreary.  This room has some real gravitas.

I remember the first time I saw this kitchen in designer Ruthie Sommer’s home.  Wow.  Again, the bold door color against the black is what does it for me.

Black on the trim and far wall work because of the ton of light that streams through that glass.  Very sophisticated, not at all bachelor-pad cheesy.


Bold color choices give this room a confident personality.  The black isn’t overpowering because of the white wainscotting around the bottom of the walls. .

In this scene from “It’s Complicated,”  Meryl Streep relaxes in her very cool matte black claw foot tub.


This is a seriously glam bathroom, don’t you think?  I like that they painted the tub charcoal rather than the same black that is on the walls – glossy walls, matte tub.  That yellow velvet chair really pops.

So, are you ready to paint something black?  Try one of these options from Sherwin Williams paints:


SW 6258 Tricorn Black

SW 6991 Black Magic

SW 6993 Black of Night

SW 2936 Black Emerald

Photo Credits:  Decor8, Ohdeedoh, Apartment Therapy, Domino, LivingEtc,   Elle Decor,  BHG, HouseandGarden, DoorSixteen, ElleDecor, SkonaHem, PointClickHome, Vastudc


  1. Jamie

    Love, love, LOVE the black wall with the bird pictures on it. Gives me something to look for at flea markets 🙂

  2. Daniel

    Make sure Bonnie Rose sees this blog Kristie! She’ll love it.

  3. Heather

    oh, yes! i really like the blue black or gray black with the faded papers, etc.. and cute bird prints. makes flea market finds look really chic!

  4. Jen C.

    oooooh, you know i love this!

  5. Allison

    Love this Kristie! I’m actually getting ready to switch Gray and Haley’s rooms. Gray wants an Alabama Football room. Don’t want to do the usually cheesy “themed” room so I though just working in the Crimson and white would be better. But I had even thought about adding in some black. Maybe you can help me with some ideas.

  6. Mitzi Leigh Hinton


    When we built our current home we included a tiny powder room off the entry. I wanted it to be dynamic and I wanted to incorporate black in our new home. We wallpapered all four tall (9ft) walls in a beautiful Waverly Toile soft black on a soft white. The best part though is the ceiling – a soft black matte that my husband “framed” with actual picture framing molding in a beautiful heavy black/gold/silver washed finish. It’s my favorite room in the house and always a favorite with our guests. Every house should include some black – MLH

  7. Krista

    I love black – to wear and decorate with. Two years ago I went through and painted several antique pieces in my house black. I used a paint called semi flat black. Not shiny but not too flat. I painted all of my boys funiture black and used a deep grey on their walls – I was a little worried it would close the room in but it turned out really great! Their bathroom walls are black – works great for boys!!!! I am with Mitzi – my small guest bath is black. I also put deep molding around the tiny room and then textured the ceiling gold. I love dramatic small rooms. I am loving the black chandeliers – but a little worried I won’t always…What do you think?

  8. kristiebarnett

    Mitzi and Krista,
    I’d love to see your powder room and boys’ rooms! They sound very glam and design-forward. Send me some pics if you get a chance!
    Krista, I have a black chandelier in my bathroom. I think it’ll work for quite some time. And then you can always paint it another color!

  9. Lora

    see, I see things like this and go “there’s no WAY I could pull that off”

    but I will totally admire it in everyone else’s house 🙂


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