How to Use Black Paint Inside Your Home


Black is sophisticated color to add to your interior design palate. However, it can be a bit intimidating if you are a new DIY interior decorator. It takes a good eye and a little know-how to choose the right type of black, and to know how to use it without creating cave-like spaces, or winding up with an undesirable interior design that is more oppressive than stylish.

Here are some tips about how to use black paint inside your house to add drama, accent and perhaps even an element of surprise.

Use Black Paint on the Ceiling to Visually Alter a Room’s Dimensions

This one may seem counterintuitive since one of the main tenets of interior design seems to be, “Keep ceilings light to make a space seem bigger…”. But, there are times when we don’t want a room to seem bigger; in fact, we want to shrink it a little. This can be true of a dining room, bedroom, study or library. Sometimes, too-high ceilings can make the furnishings feel lost or dwarfed, which is not the feeling you want to create in a space that is known for intimate, cozy gatherings or conversation. A black ceiling can be used to take it down a notch, and make a room feel more anchored.

Another great use of black paint on a ceiling is to highlight a fantastic chandelier. Look at how the black ceiling makes this light fixture seem to float in the ethereal plane. At night, the ceiling virtually disappears, creating the ultimate, infinite dreamscape.

A Black Accent Wall Can Make All The Difference

In most cases, an accent wall is about adding a splash of color to a room. In this case, a black accent wall is usually implemented to spotlight a particular furnishing or work of art. For example, in this modern San Francisco living room, we used a black wall to serve as the background for two stunning, colorful works of art. While the white walls work to feature the rest of the interior design elements, the paintings could never have had the same impact on a white background. The simple addition of black paint on a single wall makes a statement, don’t you think?

Frame Your Space Using Black Accent Trim or Moulding

Speaking of dramatic impacts, consider using black paint for your crown moulding and base. You can also use it for your window and door trim. It will help these feature to stand out and will create more dramatic lines for the eye to follow. This technique can be especially helpful in rooms with really high ceilings. Adding a perimeter trim about 8-feet or so up the wall, and painting it black, will help to anchor those spaces you want to feel more welcoming and intimate such as a foyer or living room. Of course, black trim, or black walls with white trim, will also help to highlight any unique architectural features you may have in your home.

Black Lacquer Paint is an Instant Furnishing Facelift

If you rent your space, or don’t feel confident about painting an entire surface of your home in black, then look to your furnishings and accent pieces. It’s amazing what a coat of black lacquer or a high-gloss paint can do for an old or beat-up antique or vintage piece. It makes it look brand new and ultra-fashionable.

Would you like to explore the idea of using black paint in your interior design? Give me a call at Kristina Wolf Design (510) 848-8773, or contact me online. I would love to help you.


How to Choose Paint

While painting isn’t a permanent change, it is an investment of your time, energy and money so it’s important to get it right the first time. The following tips will help you choose the right color(s) and finish for each room in your house so the results are both aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting.

Afraid to make the final decisions on your own? Contact a professional interior designer. In one affordable consultation, you can get the advice you need to execute a beautiful whole-house interior paint job with complete confidence.


How to Choose the Best Paint Color for Your Space

First, you need to make sure the colors you select are appropriate for the mood or effect you want to create in that particular space. If you have existing art work, area rugs or furniture, those will need to be taken into account as well.

  1. Start perusing. Start bookmarking websites and home decor magazines with rooms you like. It doesn’t matter if this one is red and that one is blue – just bookmark them. After you have a range of options, you will be able to figure out whether you are drawn to bold, neutral, or pastels for a particular space.
  2. Consider the lighting. While that color may look great in the magazine spread, in a room with a ton of windows and natural light, it may not look so great in your back guest bedroom with one east-facing window. Consider the lighting in each room so you choose the right shade.
  3. Use samples. Invest in small sample cans of your potential colors. Paint them on poster board or as large of a paintable surface as you can find. Then watch how it looks throughout the day, on different walls, so you get a better idea of whether or not it will work in your space.

Which Paint Finish Is the Best?

Rule number 1: Never use a paint with a flat finish. It is cheap for a reason. In addition to being relatively lifeless, it is nearly impossible to clean because the paint rubs away with the scuff, leaving an unattractive smudge.

Now that we got that important rule out of the way – let’s move on to your other finish options.

Eggshell: This is a step up from a flat or matte paint. There is very little sheen so while it will mask slight wall imperfections, there is enough shine to it that you can wash off occasional scuffs or marks without taking the paint with it. Eggshell is best used in dining rooms or living rooms.

Satin: This is probably the most attractive and universal paint finish. It has just the right amount of gloss, without being too shiny, and it is easy to clean. The only downfall is that any imperfection in roller or brush strokes will be visible, which also make it trickier to touch-up. This is ideal for just about any room other than the bathrooms or kitchen.

Semi-gloss. Semi-gloss paints are pretty shiny, which also means they’re relatively moisture and grease resistant. It’s easy to clean. You can use it on bathroom or kitchen walls and it’s often used for trim since trim is prone to scuffage.

High-gloss. A high-gloss paint will be ultra-durable, ultra-cleanable, and ultra-reflective. It’s a good choice for anything that sticky fingers or pet noses will come in contact with regularly, such as cabinets, trim, and doors. Just remember that any flaws will be more visible so prep these surfaces well beforehand.