What’s the secret to making this new trend work? We asked James Treble.
How make a black kitchen work for you.
THE KITCHEN IS THE MOST important room in the house. It has to perform a lot of functions and is a space we use every day, hence its role as the hub of the home where all the family congregates. Your kitchen is often the most expensive room but one that adds the most value, which is why getting the look right is essential.
“Far from drab, dark cabinetry can really pack a punch, as well as an elegant and stylish feel,” says James. “It looks really sophisticated with contrasting timber floors or stone.”
The black-on-black trend extends to a wide range of affordable tapware and accessories, which can add drama to a lighter kitchen but can also work very well in an all-black layout. Black appliances and sinks come in a variety of styles. Then there’s the power of contrasting matt black with gloss. James says this subtle difference adds “interest and mood and plays with light”, which can make a simple kitchen design ready for the pages of a magazine. While most of us would have an idea of where to start with a white kitchen, black seems a little more daunting. Over to James...
WHEN DESIGNING A MAINLY BLACK KITCHEN, WHAT DO YOU NEED TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT?
“As always, consider your surroundings because good design needs to have context. Look at how it will fit in with the surrounding room/s and the rest of the house. You could always add some black feature furniture pieces or artwork, or maybe even a black feature wall on the other side of the room to help balance the look.”
HOW DO YOU AVOID A BLACK KITCHEN BECOMING GLOOMY?
“The all-black kitchen works very well with natural finishes like raw timber. These can be added in a simple way through styling – chopping boards, wooden fruit bowls or even timber-topped stools. Metals also work really well to bounce light around and add a different element to the design. Stainless-steel benchtops, metal handles and, of course, stainless-steel appliances can all fit the bill.”
DO YOU MATCH OR CONTRAST TAPS AND SPLASHBACKS?
“Adding texture in any room is important so you could try black mosaic tiles, or subway tiles to contrast against the smoother profile cabinets. Glass is a non-grout alternative, but if you really want to create a showstopper, add a mirrored splashback because they work so well with black kitchens. They provide a reflective surface with a slightly greyish tint. Something like the toughened mirror by DecoGlaze will add depth, making the room feel larger.”
WHAT TYPES OF FLOORING WORK BEST WITH A BLACK SCHEME?
“I love the depth and warmth of timber floors with black kitchens.
They help balance the deep tone and
prevent the look from feeling too sombre. Washed grey tones such as oak work perfectly but Australian favourites, spotted gum and blackbutt, also look really fantastic. Tiles are always popular and functional in kitchens and l love the addition of some pattern in a herringbone or chevron to help balance an all-black kitchen. A patterned floor, being a busier finish, works well with a single colour background.”
WHAT ABOUT THE BENCHTOP?
“Caesarstone ‘Jet Black’ works beautifully in a black kitchen, but if you want some subtle vein detail to elevate the look to luxe, I love Vanilla Noir. For natural stone, Carrara marble and granite always look stunning. I love Black and White Vein granite and you can’t go wrong with classic Indian Jet Black granite. Both come in a leather finish, adding another textural surface that’s easy to maintain and feels amazing to touch.”
HOW DO YOU AVOID STREAKY COUNTERS AND CUPBOARDS?
“Textured laminates in black timber grains are great at hiding finger marks, and semi-gloss or satin are always easier to maintain than high-gloss cabinets because the finger marks don’t show as much. For benchtops, manufactured stone products such as Caesarstone or Essastone are easy to maintain and the darker colours allow you to go black with no problems as they have a low-sheen finish.”
ANY TIPS ON USING A MIX OF MATT BLACK AND GLOSS BLACK?
“I love using gloss with matt and do it all the time. It’s very effective to add some drama without introducing new colours. You could use matt or satin polyurethane cabinets with gloss tiles in the splashback, or you could easily swap this and have gloss cabinetry with matt tiles, although I always prefer gloss to be used in small amounts. I think it is best used as a dramatic highlight as gloss can become overwhelming.”
DO YOU THINK A BLACK KITCHEN WILL DATE QUICKLY?
“If a kitchen is well-made and designed with clean lines it won’t become outdated so quickly. Finishes such as flat profile doors and simple lines in your handles and appliances will always help designs to sit well in the room over time.”
CAN YOU UPDATE YOUR EXISTING KITCHEN WITH A TOUCH OF BLACK?
“Yes, you can easily add some black details to an existing kitchen to give it more punch. Updating the splashback with stylish black subway tiles is an easy and effective way of doing this, as is painting the surrounding wall of your kitchen in black to add contrast to existing white cabinets and fittings. Or simply add some black stools and a new black tap. This can be enough to create a stylish contrast that will give your kitchen a modern facelift.”
High drama The combination of black gloss, glass, timber finishes and tiles in this Ikea kitchen is striking.
SILVER STEM Arcisan 1260 black kitchen mixer, $349, from Harvey Norman. Over and above
A contrasting benchtop and light put the focus on the workspace. LONG BLACK
Innova “Nautica” squareneck kitchen mixer in Black, $209, from Bathware Direct. IN THE DARK Oliveri Pietra topmount sink, $831, from Appliances Online. WHITE LINES Mosaic Rubix black gloss tiles, $98 a sq m, from Beaumont Tiles.
Soften the look with stainless steel, timber and a band of white tiles.