Leslie Odom Jr.'s 'handsome' and 'inviting' dressing room unlocks the secret to decorating with a controversial color

The actor's space revels in a masculine shade that can be tricky to get right – designers explain why the color works and how to recreate the look

(Image credit:  Leigh Keily via Getty Images)

In the world of interior design, black paint is a polarizing subject. The paint shade is bold, leaving a profound impact on any space where it is used. Though it can be tricky to pull off, black paint looks absolutely stunning when done right. Leslie Odom Jr.'s space, for instance, is a masterclass in decorating with the dramatic shade.

The actor's dressing room, decorated by long-time friend and fellow actor Griffin Matthews, evokes cozy masculine energy. The room pairs black walls with a black leather sofa and low black coffee table. On the floor, a jute rug brings texture and lightness into the room, calling the raffia stool next to the couch. Gold metallics like a sculptural floor lamp and display box on the coffee table reflect light, giving the room a brighter, more modern feel. Yellow and blue art on the wall and the coffee table bring a sense of personality and fun to Odom Jr.'s space.

To unpack the lessons on decorating with black revealed in the actor's space, we spoke with Jennifer Ebert, color expert and digital editor at Homes & Gardens. The first thing she notes is how Matthews has made use of texture. 'Texture is the ultimate key to creating a homey space,' says Ebert. She continues, 'The rug, throw pillows, plants, and basket on the coffee table bring in different textures, ranging from tightly woven to more open. This adds visual interest and creates a marvelous contrast to the matte black walls.

Second, the room is full of contrasting colors. Ebert says: 'Though Odom Jr.'s black walls look like a pure black to the untrained eye, they actually have slightly blue undertones. Blue is a color opposite to yellow: therefore the yellow painting on the wall, the yellow basket on the coffe table, and the yellow undertones of the jute rug look all the more striking against the walls. Incorporating color is always a good idea, and it looks especially artful with color theory taken into account.'

Finally, the use of light confirms that this space is a designer-approved way to use black paint. 'You can see natural light coming in from the left side of the room through the window shaped reflections on the rug. This goes a long way in helping the room look inviting and stylish. The floor lamp accomplishes a similar effect with a cozy look. Gold hardware helps to reflect light and keep the room looking bright,' Ebert concludes.

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If you are interested in recreating the look, Behr's 2024 color of the year, cracked pepper, is a wonderful black paint with cozy charcoal undertones. Gold hardware, inserted with a sculptural lamp and display box to match Leslie Odom Jr's bring a much needed lightness to the scheme.

Just because black paint, or really, any shade besides white paint is more difficult to deal with, doesn't mean it's something to be scared of. When we lean into dramatic decor schemes that make our hearts sing, that's where the magic really happens.

Sophie Edwards
News Editor

Sophie is a London-based News Editor at Homes & Gardens, where she works on the Celebrity Style team. She is fascinated by the intersection of design and popular culture and is particularly excited when researching trends or interior history. Sophie is an avid pop culture fan. As an H&G editor, she has interviewed the likes of Martha Stewart, Hilary Duff, and the casts of Queer Eye and Selling Sunset. Before joining Future Publishing, Sophie worked as the Head of Content and Communications at Fig Linens and Home, a boutique luxury linens and furniture brand. She has also written features on exciting developments in the design world for Westport Magazine. Sophie has an MSc from the Oxford University Department of Anthropology and a BA in Creative Writing and Sociology from Sarah Lawrence College.