Black once was a color reserved for specific moments: mourning periods, for example, or evenings in need of a little black dress or tuxedo. Today it’s favored by urban style setters at all price points and interior designers as well to create dramatic palettes for sophisticated clients. Designers often point to black’s ability to add a touch of gravitas to a space. It can be playful, mod, mysterious, or elegant depending on how a designer introduces it and uses it in patterns and textures.
Nestor Santa-Cruz, for example, is known for his strategic use of black. He has balanced black walls, woodwork, and built-ins in a living room to showcase contrasting works of art. Black can also be used on a focal wall to create drama in an otherwise simple space. Equally at home in the kitchen and bath, black is having its moment in appliances, fixtures, and backsplashes.
Science tells us black is a color that results from the absence or complete absorption of visible light. It is an achromatic color—like white and gray. But black is a chameleon—when mixed with other hues it can transform to something warm and enveloping, or cool and deep. Black is often seen paired with crisp white, but there are many other successful combinations to try.
Because of its changeable nature, black can be paired successfully with just about any color, providing a rich and mysterious background, an unexpected accent, or the main focus of a room. Unlike other hues and palettes that wax and wane in popularity, black never seems to fall out of favor, and it can be found in rooms that range from ultra-modern to Gothic traditional, and everything in between.
Incorporate this achromatic chameleon into your next design project and be creative in its use. Countless options exist for furnishings, wall coverings, flooring, and other design accessories and objects to bring the look home in all your projects.
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