How to use it
It’s not true that small rooms must be painted white to make the space look bigger: a similar impact can be created with black, which gives the space more depth as the colour subtly changes throughout the day. Paint expert Annie Sloan explains: ‘Pale colours will emphasise the light in the room, but dark colours will blur the corners and edges, creating the illusion of space.’
Use dark colours on the walls but ensure flooring and furnishings are
lighter. This will draw the eye to the foreground and allow the walls to act as a backdrop. Also, the greater the contrast between the black and any complementary colours, the more striking the scheme will be,’ says Helen Shaw from Benjamin Moore UK. ‘If you want a strong visual impact, choose lighter tones or for something more soothing, pair your black with other mid and dark tones.’
North-facing rooms can be notoriously difficult to decorate as they’re often darker spaces with a cool light. This is where black comes into its own. ‘Instead of competing with the limited light, bring in dark paint colours such as black to create a cocooning, comfortable feel,’ says Cathryn Helsby, colour expert at Earthborn.
When teamed with
white, black can be used anywhere. However, it’s crucial to choose the right shades of both, according to Tricia Guild, founder and creative director of Designers Guild. ‘A sharp clear white and black feels powerful, timeless and strong, whereas a softer white and charcoal is a gentler incarnation of monochrome.’
Black works really well with strong, jewel
colours – orange, fuchsia, turquoise, lime – but it doesn’t always need to be paired with standout shades. ‘It’s equally a wonderful contrast with the new soft neutrals which we’ve loved in recent months: the blush pinks and sage greens,’ says Helen Harlow, colour expert at Paintbox.
Best for a dramatic backdrop Graphite wall paint, £39.95 for 2.5L, Annie Sloan Best for pairing with muted shades Albany Soot Print vinyl matt, £30.48 for 2.5L, Brewers Best for creating a cocooning interior Paean Black estate emulsion, £45 for 2.5L, Farrow & Ball Best for absolute pitch black Jack Black absolute matt emulsion, £43.50 for 2.5L, Little Greene Best for eco lovers Hidey-hole claypaint, £40 for 2.5L, Earthborn Best for a softer take on a stark black Black Cab matt emulsion, £38 for 2.5L, Graham & Brown
Best for teal undertones Midnight regal flat, £20.50 for 0.4L, Benjamin Moore