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Design Diary: Black, your secret interior trick

It is not the most obvious choice for warm interiors, but this dark, moody hue is the way forward in home decor

Tabloid

Every year we ask ourselves the same question: “What is the new black?” I am happy, and somewhat relieved to report that there is nothing quite as on-trend right now, as black itself.

While reflecting the tone of the time, black circa 2018, also represents a march towards light. Its finality lends itself easily to a certain brand of comforting familiarity. Not to mention the depth and character this colour can instantly impart when thoughtfully applied to interiors. But let’s just be honest here; black is not for everyone, and I recommend you make the switch to the dark side only with absolute certainty.

THE NOIR MOOD BOARD

A foolproof way to succeed with this gothic shade is to plan; in interiors parlance, that means creating a mood board. On a piece of black foam board, make a collage of wood, stones, fabrics, and paint textures in black. Layer that with metallic accents — would you prefer the warmth of antique gold, or the modern minimalism of steel and silver? Scour through interior magazines (and back editions of Design Diary) to select key furniture pieces and styles. Then layer with accent colours — would you like to play black up with jewel tone upholstery in plush velvets, or balance it with earth tones in linens? Once you’ve assembled your mood board, live with it. You will either buy into the world of dark design or let go of it. Either way, you’d be saving yourself some design regret.

LEND WARMTH

You know Black is unavoidable, when even Nordic designers are implementing it. Usually home to light, earthy tones, Stockholm Furniture Fair 2018 stepped away from typical Scandi vibes to embrace the full-throttle moodiness of Black. Black stained woods, deep felts and black marble reigned. But let’s give it to the Scandinavians — they known how to make Black work within their distinct design codes. Offsetting it with light, Nordic wood floors, warm metal accents, and accessories in artisanal materials such as porcelain and glass lends a lightness of being to this otherwise heavy colour.

TEXTURISE

Key to succeeding with any dark colour is to layer and add texture. You can do this via a choice of fabrics and soft furnishings, or you can deploy effects through wallpaper and paint. Light bounces of texturised surfaces to create an optical play of shadows and highlights which bring out the richness of these dark hues. Black is no different. Be it your floors or walls, go for textures like stucco, or stained concrete. Wallpapers present options of black raw silk and linens. Layer the look with statement furniture pieces, while accessorising with floral arrangements and art that are just as moody as the colour du jour.

THE PERFECT CANVAS

Black, like white, is endlessly adaptive. It can play off any colour scheme and bring together your mad mix of entirely unrelated but wholly personal furniture and art. Your best bet, when trying this very polarising colour, is to treat yourself to an accent wall. This can be the wall that leads to a lighter room, or even a hallway. Anoint the partition with your favourite art and furniture to harmonise your eclectic collection without worrying about an aesthetic clash.

WHEN IN DOUBT

If you forget the grey skies of the past week, we live in the land of year round Sunshine; our homes and offices are drenched with the most vibrant of natural lighting for most part of the day, irrespective of the season. If that doesn’t give you the perfect excuse to embrace black interiors in all its dramatic glory, I don’t know what will. Having said that, I also understand that not everyone is in the mood for gothic romance. From countless shades of grey, to inky blues and the rich, deep jewel tones of ruby and emerald, you can still achieve dark, moody interiors without going all out.

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