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BRIANA: Black walls have been black sheep in the design world, but they’re starting to make some inroads, as this quote from a recent Boston Globe Magazine piece proves: “Black is definitely a trend,” says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams in Dallas. “People think it will close the room in, but it has the opposite effect.” This trend was suggested by our own Marianne Canada and the room image comes to us from designer/opinionated Defend the Trend contributor Brian Patrick Flynn, so I think I know what they’ll say, but maybe y’all will surprise me. Are black (and other super-dark) walls gorgeous or too goth for your taste?

Do you like black walls? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog...

 LEANNE: Only cool if accented with black velvet paintings and vintage Jane’s Addiction album covers.

DAVID HAYNES: I was thinking that the key would be creative use of contrast (subtle) and lighting — halogen spots and pendants maybe — and carefully chosen art. Jane’s Addiction’s Nothing’s Shocking album cover in a large repro would certainly be on the money.  So would Sonic Youth’s Goo. (You’ll have to Google those yourself.) Or some stark b&w photography, nicely framed and generously matted. (No Herb Ritts, please.) A tough look to pull off, but if done right could be pretty darned sophisticated. I bet Bryan Ferry has a room with black walls.

ALYSSA SPARACINO: OOO. Not a fan! I think black works great with accent pieces to tie a room together, but as a wall color, it’s just too grim.

BRIAN PATRICK FLYNN: If I were able to choose one color I 100% always want to paint walls, it’s black. Nurseries? Yep. Dining spaces? Mmmm hmmm. Bedrooms? Oh, yes. Why? It instantly adds a ton of style, works with just about every other color in the spectrum and it’s completely gender neutral. The trick to getting it right is paying close attention to the source of natural light. If the light is limited but good, it may NOT be the best choice due to black’s ability to absorb light. Rooms PACKED with natural light — so much that you need serious window coverings — are an amazing fit for black walls since they won’t become visually shrunk. And best yet, in rooms completely lacking in any natural light whatsoever, I say go black on black. Just pump up your artificial lighting plan, bring in a ton of metallic and reflective surfaces and play with accent colors. Now, as far as sunshine yellow is concerned, no thanks.

JESSICA: Brian Patrick Flynn just dropped the mic, guys.

LIZ: I feel like I’m not daring enough to try them in my home, but I think black walls look amazing behind a gallery display full of bright colors. Exhibits A and B:

Do you like black walls? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens...

Do you like black walls? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens...

HANNAH SLAUGHTER: I adore my black walls. We live in a small old house with big white trim, so not only does it bring a purposeful modern punch, it also offers a chic base that can change completely with new accent colors, fabrics and accessories. At Christmas, it’s cozy with lots of warm throws & vintage tchotchkes, but in the summer, things can go modern and sparse to make the space feel cooler.

MARIANNE: I do love to look at them, but I live in a house with crisp white walls all the way.

LILI: I just suggested a friend paint their living room a dark gray/black like this to disguise their TV:

Do you like black walls? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog...

He took my suggestion and it looks great in HIS house. When it’s done right, it can be so very chic. But I just don’t think I’m chic enough (nor do I have enough natural light) in my house to pull this off. Feels too cave-like.

ALYSSA SPARACINO: Although…I just thought of an exception: Chalkboard paint.

JESSICA: When I was in high school I wanted to paint my bedroom walls black with a trim in glitter. I was going for a starry effect. However, my mother wouldn’t let me paint my walls black and certainly wouldn’t let me put glitter in the dark blue paint I settled for. This, combined with several jokes related to vampirism, would become the root of all my teen angst.

FARIMA: I think you should put glitter in your room now! I love dark walls in bedrooms, but not in high-traffic rooms. I have a very dark gray wall in my room and would totally go darker. I find it very soothing — I feel like it helps me sleep better.

You’ve heard our opinions, now tell us what you think!


Design Trends

90 Responses

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    We just moved into a new house with a combo living/kitchen area with vaulted ceilings. I painted 3 of those walls dark navy. I love them! I wish I hadn't chosen another color as the 4th (accent) wall. We have dark wood floors, but painted all the trim and cabinetry white. It really pops and looks ultra sophisticated.

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Briana MowreyBriana is a writer and senior editor for HGTV.com. Her self-described design style is "mid-century modern magpie." She lives in a Brooklyn apartment with her husband, their spoiled dachshund, Chauncey,...


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