6 designer-approved ways to use black paint for an on trend moody scheme

These designer approved ways to use black paint will change the way you approach home decor

Designer approved ways to use black paint
(Image credit: Farrow & Ball/Benjamin Moore/Michael Del Piero Good Design & Costas Picadas)

Whether or not it's a scheme you've considered, there are a few ways to use black paint that interior designers swear by, and they could be the feature your home has been missing. From minimalist schemes to vibrant spaces, there's always space for the introduction of this moody hue.

Black is a staple color in many aspects, but it's often a color people forget about when it comes to interior design. But this hue is a neutral in its own right, and can add a wonderful depth and contrast to a scheme.

Whether you're looking for black room ideas to add drama to a kitchen or create a cozy nook in a living area, these are the designer-approved ways to use black paint, and one of these ideas is sure to inspire a refresh.

6 ways to use black paint according to interior designers

There are an abundance of ways to introduce black paint into your home – this timeless hue suits homes of every size and style. 

'Cozy or chic, soft or bold, black is surprisingly versatile as has the ability to complement any style home from traditional to modern. Using black paint, whether just a touch or a whole room, can have a tremendous impact,' says Helen Shaw, director of marketing at Benjamin Moore.

So, whether you add a small dose of black paint to make a statement or color drench a room for dramatic effect, you'll be raring to go with these expert tips on decorating with black paint.

1. Create a cocooning feel in a social space

Dining room painted black with an antique brown dresser and colorful artwork

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Black paint can make a room feel more intimate, so why not paint all the walls in a social room for dramatic effect? It's all about choosing the right shade of black and pairing it with a curated edit of furniture to create a space that feels truly timeless.

'For many of us, black can feel like an intimidating to color to use in interior decoration. But by veering slightly away from pure black (still elegant) and using more nuanced ‘blacks,' you can create rooms of great beauty and drama,' explains Patrick O'Donnell, brand ambassador at Farrow & Ball.

'Our perennial favorite, Railings, creates a great backdrop to many a living or dining space. Your artwork will register with renewed clarity, you will feel cocooned when bathed in ambient lighting at night, and colors will pop against it. For woodwork, either play with the crispness of our purest white, All White, in Estate Eggshell or pull out the nuanced blue in Railings by teaming it with Borrowed Light,' he adds.

2. Color drench a kitchen

Kitchen scheme painted with black paint

(Image credit: Michael Del Piero Good Design/Costas Picadas)

If you're not used to decorating with black paint, a kitchen is a perfect place to start. From the walls to the cabinets, there are plenty of ways to introduce black paint into your scheme. Interior designer Michael Del Piero suggests using a mix of black paint and black stain in a kitchen for textural interest.

'In this Hamptons kitchen, we used a combination of black paint and black stain for cabinet color, walls, and iron IBeams. The trick to using black (IMO) is using the right black for the space. The architecture, room size, and amount of natural light greatly affect the success of the absence of color, commonly referred to as black! Here we used Sherwin Williams’ Black of Night SW 6993,' she explains.

3. Balance black paint with lighter colors

Bathroom decorated with black paint

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

In some spaces, creating a successful scheme with black paint requires a balance of light and dark. To make a room feel brighter and more inviting, introducing elements of white can break up the darker hue.

'When incorporating black into your space, think about the proportions. For example, often the most successful rooms create a sense of balance between light and dark, so opt for black walls against light flooring or furniture upholstered in neutrals and white,' says Helen.

In this bathroom idea, black walls have been paired with a white ceiling, white sink basins and cream and gold accents through the decor. The result is a space that feels bold and dramatic, yet still feels bright and welcoming.

4. Zone an open-plan layout with black paint

Black paint used in a living room scheme

(Image credit: GreyHunt Interiors/Christy Kosnic)

If you're working with an open-plan layout, it can be tricky to strike a balance between creating cohesion and making clear zones for the different areas. That's where black paint comes into play. In this living room, black paint has been used on the walls to zone the open-plan living room, while black accents have been added through furniture and hardware elsewhere to tie the schemes together.

'A design rule of thumb is to introduce black into each room. It's the spice and depth, if it's just a hint or completely washed in black, it's an automatic design statement. Each room and client is different on the approach of masterfully placing black into a room. You want it to add, not take away from the look and the feel,' explains Sallie Lord, of GreyHunt Interiors

'If you have a soft palette room, you can consider adding the black in with hardware, lighting, a frame on the wall or accessories, then carrying that throughout the house to be cohesive. You can also tie it with adding more drama into a space such as a black dining room,' she adds.

5. Add black accents in neutral rooms

Black paneled accent wall

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

A black scheme isn't to everyone's tastes, but adding black accents to a neutral color scheme can have the same effect. Black paint pairs with almost any shade, and adds a wonderful contrast to lighter neutral tones.

'Try a clean white color scheme to open up a space, then use accents of black on paneling, skirting boards or as a linear divide to the room – this will make a real statement,' suggests Helen. 

'Embracing a monochromatic scheme such as this will create a chic, minimalist base to a room that can act as a versatile foundation for eclectic, colorful accessories and furniture to be added to,' she adds.

6. Mix black and white kitchen cabinetry

Kitchen with a mix of white cabinets and black cabinets

(Image credit: KBF Audi/Renee Alexander)

A large, white kitchen can feel flat and cold without any warmth or contrast. To add dimension to the scheme, painting a few of the cabinets black will completely transform the overall look of the room.

'Black is probably one of the most popular ways to make a statement in a kitchen, but it's crucial not to overdo it. Balance is key. In this kitchen, we added tall cabinetry painted black and a decorative black hood. Painting the inside of the dog’s sleeping area in a black accent color was instrumental in tying both sides of the kitchen together,' explains Camille LeDew, design specialist at KBF Audi.

'One important key to pulling off a black kitchen, however, is to also bring in “softness,” like we did with the light-stained white oak floating shelves and the brushed brass finishes. Incorporating the dual-toned plumbing really helped pull everything together as well,' she adds.

Black paint can be introduced in a multitude of ways, it's simply about striking the right balance and introducing the right amount of the dark hue. So, whether you color drench a kitchen in black paint or simply add subtle hints through woodwork and wall paneling, there's no better way to add contrast and interest to a scheme than these designer-approved ways to use black paint.

Molly Malsom
Content Editor

Molly joined the Homes & Gardens interiors team at the start of 2024 as a content editor. Her undergraduate degree was in Magazine Journalism and Production, which she studied at the University of Gloucestershire. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she worked for two interiors titles across both print and digital channels, writing about a range of topics from room design ideas and decorating trends to the best places to source pre-loved homeware.