Ah, the humble black accessory. That jet-toned jewel which, played carefully, will elevate even the most basic abode.
Across three decades, and several continents, we’ve balanced projects with midnight accents to provide drama and schematic depth.
In our Toronto condo, for example, we have ebony flooring and, while admittedly a chore to maintain, we consider it worth the effort. Crucially, most walls are white (aside from a concrete accent zone) and the furniture a sedate mix of soft and mid-tone greys. Balance, right?
In the drawing room at our Scottish outpost, we used black as both an accent and an upholstery choice, everything set against blond chevron floors and grey paneled walls. Had the floors been ebony too (or had we lavished the paneling any darker) our endeavors might have proved somewhat overbearing.
If you’d rather play your dramatic hand in an eminently more measured fashion, then think ‘detail’. Imagine a beautiful eye, framed in luscious black mascara to accentuate the colour of the iris. Or a wonderful piece of art, set into a pencil thin black frame. The black, we suppose, ‘grounds’ everything else. It’s as simple as that.
Black towels in a white marble or quartz attired bathroom? Swoon . We’ve just returned from a London promo trip where our hotel shelves ached under the weight of dramatically hued fluffy mountains. But again – less is more: interspersed with white towels, we witnessed tonal contrast. Yup, it’s all in the mix.
Think about solid black or black patterned toss pillows to dramatise a low-key sofa or bed, matching throws to provide continuity and a complimentary area rug to add decorative thrust. You onboard yet? Good : let’s move on.
Black window frames? Absolutely . We struggle to remember a C&J scheme where we didn’t employ such fenestration. As viewed from outside, they won’t dominate other aspects of your home’s exterior, and inside they’ll look like perimeter picture frames around (hopefully beautiful) vistas.
How about those tired male/female stereotypes? Say, isn’t black too butch? Hell no! Layer in a few silver details, a spot of blush or a tickle of baby blue and those decorative scales will immediately rebalance. Gender non-specific, right ? You got it.
As we see it, every space warrants at least a modicum of black somewhere . In a stark white scheme, the eye can struggle, but, with dramatic ‘punctuation’, balance will redress. That said, an entirely monochrome project also benefits from a third hue, so don’t be afraid to pepper in another colour to give the eye somewhere to ‘travel’ beyond the scheme’s main components.
And don’t forget ‘texture’. To allay monotony in rooms featuring an abundance of black, ensure there are lots of different layers. If choosing a black credenza, for example, opt for an open grained wooden piece whose surfaces are shot with tactile detail. Add a richly woven ebony hued carpet, black raffia light fixtures and a collection of black and white photography and you’ll more than steal the scene.
Bear in mind, too, that black can be used to ‘connect’ multiple items that mightn’t otherwise seem bedfellows. Mismatched artworks will instantly take on a family vibe if framed in similar jet. Or a group of junk store vases and pottery will ‘pop’ when unified using black aerosol paint. Different lamp bases? Add black shades and presto: relationship goals!
- If you do opt to paint walls black (hmm, careful: perhaps just an accent ) layer in interesting architectural detail – such as crown molding, wall paneling or deep skirting boards – to stop it all looking one dimensional. Try dark slate paint (as opposed to pure black) for trim, or play around with satin and matte finishes to provide contrast.
- Moving on, another way to suffuse a little ebony twist is via bathroom (or indeed kitchen) faucets. We (almost universally) use this tone, finding it the perfect finish for any scheme. Whether modern or traditional, minimalist or maximalist, good quality black hardware is our default. Best on the market, as we see it certainly, are products by Rubinet. Visit www.rubinet.com and prepare for a veritable flush of inspiration.
- When tempting clients to the darker side, we’ll often use the little black dress – or basic dark toned suit – as a sartorial metaphor. Each can be dressed up or down to suit the occasion, as can a black detailed home scheme. Pop in a shot of colour to lift mood and usurp formality, or layer in greys and somber tones to mimic global decorating trends. The choice, of course, is yours. But either way, you’ll be bang on trend…
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