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Paint it Black: 15 Bold and Beautiful Dark Walls

by Sabrina Smelko

For a considerable amount of time, whites and neutrals dominated the interior space — and, admittedly,  still continue to, whether you’re a lover of the trend or not. But one thing’s for certain: As much as I love a clean, minimal space, there’s no reason why that aesthetic can’t be accomplished using white’s counterpart: black (or close to). I personally love the hue (or lack thereof) and how, when done right, it instantly grounds a room, makes it feel deliberately finished, adds character, and becomes a fantastic backdrop for your art, furniture and life.

If you’ve thought about painting it black and previously shied away from the idea, think again! These 15 dynamic and bold rooms showcase black (or nearly black) in all of it’s beautiful nuances and demonstrate just how different you can make a dark room look and feel — from a classic bathroom to a playful bedroom. –Sabrina

Gwen Hefner's dining room is impressive (and as she admits, over-the-top) without being too stuffy or overtly so. Painting the walls in a rich black celebrates her home's traditional bones while offering a modern twist and a great supporting foundation to the gigantic mural illustration of the Aosta Valley in Italy. The room is both confidently bold and welcoming.
A lot of the time, black can come across as being very serious, but as Celia Tejada's San Francisco Victorian shows, it can also be playful and lighthearted. Black is used generously throughout her home, but I particularly love this flex space between her entryway and kitchen which houses a daybed, plenty of art, and uses a mirror to create some layers of texture and visual interest.
The majority of this Brazilian home is decked out in light colors, but the addition of a few black walls not only adds lots of welcome contrast, but helps make every other room around it feel more deliberate.
In my own home, which is quite open-concept, I shied away from using black in the main area thinking that it was safer to use it in a contained room (behind a door), but as this 1725 Georgian flat demonstrates, it can be a thing of beauty when completely embraced. It certainly made me rethink my belief that black always makes a space feel small and cramped!
Amelia Canham Eaton and her husband Peter's Chicago high-rise is drenched in black, but I particularly love how it plays off of the fun, patterned wallpaper in the bathroom. Like any design decision, the best ones are made when you think of your space holistically and how that room -- or that sofa or that art piece -- plays into the greater story of your home.
Most of the rooms in this relaxed Portland bungalow may be white, but this guest room (painted in Miller Paint "Nova") proves just how yummy white's opposite can look against a great wood piece paired with a simple rug -- even if it's just an accent wall.
This converted hospital is rich in history, architecture and paint. In the dining space as well as the kitchen (which is decked out in chalkboard paint), the use of black helps define and anchor specific areas.
Using black can be an easy way to make a room feel more serious or regal, but as this bedroom shows, black walls are what you make them -- which, in this case, is super fun and playful without being juvenile. I'm not sure which came first, the pendants or the accent wall, but I adore how the homeowner's played them off each other, echoing a bold design decision beautifully.
Shiplap pairs well with most anything, but the play of it against black chalkboard paint in this Seattle home's bathroom is magical. It just goes to prove that, even in small spaces, black walls don't necessarily make a space feel like the walls are caving in on you.
Sarah and Archie Smart's wall of built-in bookcases not only adds function, but brings interest and texture to this living room. (Admittedly, it may err on the side of navy, but nonetheless, the dark hue brings mega impact.)
Using black on your walls is a fail-safe way to make a room feel more intimate and cozy, a must in any bedroom such as this one in the home of Jessica McKay and Christopher Van Buskirk.
Sometimes, white walls can seem unfinished, but what I love about color as well as black is that it immediately makes any space feel deliberate and finished. Using black, even on a wall where there's little to no other artwork or focal point, such as in this Colonial home's bedroom, adds immediacy and requires little to no other visual support. Ironically, black can be the ultimate minimalist.
This LA home's bedroom nook oozes with comfort and warmth, even without the aid of many warm hues or woods. In addition to just a handful of decor items, the textured walls and ceiling add some character so it's not too sterile.
Home to photographers Lou Mora and Sarah Yates, this home is welcoming and fun. Extending from the entry into the dining room, their collection of colorful pieces pops against the black chalkboard wall backdrop. I just love that combination of pink and yellow!
Near and dear to my heart is Emma Reddington's 1905 Toronto Victorian, not only because it's close-by to me, but because of how trend-setting it was at the time. I recall seeing it over five years ago in a magazine, and I fell in love with her style and restrained use of all colors and textures ever since. Case in point: the use of black in this dramatic and mature bathroom.

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  • Gwen Hefner’s is by far my favorite <3 Absolutely gorgeous. I also love Amelia's hallway and bathroom. Wow!

  • Gwen’s is absolutely amazing. My brother and I tried this when renovating the new home of a close friend and she utterly loved it, but we found that it only really worked well and remained chic with plenty of fresh green foliage otherwise it seemed a little on the gloomy side so kudos for throwing in some lovely green plants there!

    This is absolutely amazing. My brother and I tried this when renovating the new home of a close friend and she utterly loved it, but we found that it only really worked well and remained chic with plenty of fresh green foliage otherwise it seemed a little on the gloomy side so kudos for throwing in some lovely green plants there!

  • This is really timely for me as I am currently renovating my new cottage (builders are banging as I type) and I was just explaining to the painter I wanted one navy blue feature wall in my bedroom. Not sure I am brave enough to do a whole room black though ;-)

  • is this room painted black or blue? maybe it’s my computer, but it looks like black floors and a lovely blue on the walls.

  • Hi! Do you know the source/manufacturer for the brass orb chandelier in the dining room?! I’m in love!

  • What are your favorite black paint colors for a powder room? And do I need to get black vents and light switch covers to blend with the black walls? Thanks for your help!