Canada's Condominium Magazine
The monochromatic design is in, especially in chic apartment condo designs. One of the big trends is “black and white.” White-on-white is fairly popular as well. But what about black-on-black? Is it too sophisticated for the average condo?
Black-on-Black is dramatic
Black-on-black is dramatic, no doubt about it. Many people wonder if it’s too gloomy or morbid. Others incorrectly perceive all-black monochrome will visually shrink a condo space — when, in fact, if well-done, the opposite effect is achieved, a sense of vast spaces.
Instead of shadow creating depth, think highlights. Glittering highlights of light on black couches. Tiny touches such as white pillows become striking. A wash of light on a black wall takes on an elegant sheen. Black floors just loo sumptuous and reflect like pools of water.
“From a trend perspective,” designer Arren Williams, says “black is really hot right now!” He adds, “We’ve seen so much white, white, white, for such a long time, grey even, but rich, dark decorating like this is really having a moment.”
Done well, black on black is gorgeous, with a rich “warmth” that transcends expectations of “dark and gloomy.”
Think — layers of blackness
Arren Williams ads: “It absolutely should not be the same shade.” In other words, thinks layers of black. “The more you mix up those shades of black, the sheeker the space is going to look. It’s really about layering textures, as well as the different finishes…”
Don’t think inky dark space, think layers of black. Black can have warmth, with hints of magenta or green or any other colour just subtly revealing itself in the right lighting. Create patterns out of different densities and shades of black for a truly sophisticated feeling of depth.
Be bold. Black can really be empowering, but not if you are heavy-handed with it. Don’t forget to vary:
- surface textures: try matte black doors and silk black walls with glossy baseboards, for example
- try different layers of black: soon the lighter layers will appear slate grey in contrast
- black stain on wood is elegant, especially on wall-to-ceiling bookcases
- bring out the richness with stainless-steel trimmings: stainless steel tables with glass tops, for example, can really enhance all the rich blackness.
- try super glossy black laminate on kitchens, and contrast with slate black countertops
- black loves brushed aluminium: they were made for each other. Especially cool is brushed aluminium light fixtures.
Is it complicated? No. Says designer Arren Williams, “Decorating in one colour is about as idiot-proof as you can get. Here’s a recent profile of Arren’s black-on-black concept on Cityline:
Hang black-and-white photos
To really finish off space, think in terms of textural black and white images: sketches, black and white photos, sweeping architectural images in greys. Or, for a shocking change, on one wall only, throw up a really colourful macro image of bright coloured flowers, over the single red chair in the black room.
Lighting becomes essential in black rooms, not just on the black and white photos. Bring out the tonality and texture of the black surfaces with cross-grain lighting, or highlight the glossy blacks with sharp focused light. Have fun with lighting.
Furniture in black
It doesn’t have to be leather. Mix up the leathers, with some chairs “pleated” which is very on-trend, and some matte finish leather. Paint wooden chairs satin black. Use smokey black glass on a matte black frame for a coffee table. Even the plant pots can be a rich shade of black — but look for unusual shapes to really punch it out.
Japanese-style black lacquer furniture is very on-trend and fits the black-on-black motif. Think about a “black mirror” even on the wall, just to shake up the look, perhaps with a hot spotlight on the surface. Black stereos are very in right now as well.
Needless to say, coffee table books should be black (or black-and-white).