Spaces 4 Living

An Architect's Idea Book: Sharing ideas and inspiration to help create beautiful living spaces.


The Art of Decorating with Black


So often many fall at the wayside away from colour and slump into the unfulfilled wasteland of beige! Some are intimidated to commit to using bold and bright colours in there living spaces…so goodness knows how they would react to black. OK black is not actually a colour, but it is a bold choice.

There are ways to enrich your space, just remember a little does go a long way.


Black Doors


Black doors can help create an upscaled and elegant look,  not just for the exteriors but the interior doors as well. The vertical plane of black draws your eyes to the other black objects in the room and creates a visual balance. It also helps balance the other large black elements in the home, for example that huge 60″ television that you always dreamed of, a black leather sofa or the unlit fireplace.


Black Windows


The odd thing about black or dark window woodwork is that you look past them to the outdoors. Whereas with white, your eyes tend to fix on the white frames instead of looking beyond. Bring the outdoors inside with black, charcoal or a dark stain.


Black ceilings



Now I bet you think I have gone too far!  A black ceiling adds a completely different character as compared to the traditional white. Your eye has a tendency to look for defined details to inform it of boarders and boundaries. Therefore, if you had black or partially black walls with a black ceiling your eyes would be tricked by the size of the space…making the room feel more spacious.

On the other hand, if you were to have lighter walls and a dark ceiling, the ceiling would appear lower. This could be beneficial in a room with a high ceiling that you wanted to make it feel more cozy and intimate.


Black Floors



Black floor have a huge impact. It is a bit more of a finacial commitment than paint, but the rewards could be outstanding. It says luxury all over it. If you have a dog that sheds it maybe more of a chore to keep spotless and high shine floors show more dust so unless you enjoy sweeping every day opt for a matte or textured finish.


Black Cabinetry or Surfaces



There is one way to get your white surfaces to pop in your kitchen and that is to have black cabinets. For a  contemporary open layout this would be stunning. The black gives the modern white space living a new twist. However if you inverse the palette with white cabinets and black surfaces the same pop occurs, but with a more traditional appeal. Granted, the main influence on the contemporary vs transitional vs traditional depends upon cabinetry style and layout.


Architectural details


Why not paint the wainscoting black (charcoal is illustrated in the photograph) or the ornate frames. It gives the woodwork a new lease on life and celebrates its artistry and craftsmanship.

The key element in using black, is that it enhances the other colours in the spaces as well (in my opinion) gives a sense of solid, grounding elegance. Dare I say, its the equivalent of that “little black dress”- a staple that imbues a air of simple sophistication.


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The Well Tailored Study

LDa Architects - living rooms - glossy, black, built-ins, moldings, fireplace, black, velvet, sofa, ivory, accent chairs, nailhead trim, black sofa, black velvet sofa,

source: LDa Architects

I love built-in storage furniture, but to be honest the regular white doesn’t always fit into everyone’s décor tastes. The matte black of this study imbues a sense of sophistication that sets it apart from the white walls of the room . The black bookcases and backdrop of the fireplace is the backbone to this entire room. It has a sense of solid masculinity.

The grandeur of the coffered ceilings and the fire surround is a statement of order within the larger context of the space.  The convex mirrored clock on the wall and the art add just subtle hint to feminine glamour of a different era to balance the room.

The high contrast black and white of the walls, hardwood floor and woodwork has been toned down and grounded by the introduction of the gold hues in the carpet, upholstered accent chairs and even the sepia tones in the artwork.

I really love that the three floor lamps are mis-matched, two are contemporary with a transitional with a shade in the corner. This works because the lamps are more or less at the same height and use the same metal. The mirror finish of the chrome is also present on the cylindrical side table and fireplace surround detail. Pulling the chrome elements together and connecting them to the mirrored wall clock.

The large couch successfully melts into the room by being as dark as the built-ins.  The fine stripe of black and charcoal pinstripe fabric is reminiscent of a well tailored suit. It reinforces the tailored masculinity of the space.

I like the high gloss sepia on black fashion photography. I can’t help but to think of the possibility of objects incorporated in back-lit built-in shadow boxes on either side of the fireplace in their place. It would add more intrigue and more dynamic to the space.

Visions of curling up with a good book beside the glow of the soft flickering flames and a single malt whiskey in this space is alluring and yet it is sophisticated enough to entertain.

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