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Although I’m a fan of black walls, I always felt that black was for cozy, moody rooms. To take a bright, airy room with lots of windows and paint it black would surely be a waste of all that natural light, right? How wrong could I be? Take a look at this striking bedroom from Ab Chao.

And here’s what it looked like before.

Incredible, right? Of course, it’s not just the paint color: the bright pillows, undressed windows, re-arranged furniture all make a difference too. But what amazes me is how bright it still feels, even with black walls. The black walls actually frame the windows, drawing attention to the view and making the space seem even lighter. Just goes to show that black decor can be energizing as well as enigmatic…


If I’m going to continue the theme of red-accented spaces, this unique house is the perfect place to stop next. It’s the home of portrait photographer, Emily McCall.

Why do I love this house? Because it intrigues me and is truly one-of-a-kind. For a start, you’d think a palette of black, white and red would be brash and in-your-face, but instead it’s quiet, almost monastic, but with a twist.

Great mix of textiles from Suzani to sackcloth to leather.

Any place that can combine a white bust with a Panton chair and look great is ok by me!

The bedrooms are like negatives of each other (how appropriate for a photographer!) Here’s the light and airy white bedroom, with a few graphic punches in the form of the pillow, lamp and quirky clock.

And here’s the black bedroom – a perfect foil for a vintage bus route sign….

…and a red velvet wingback chair! Genius. Makes me want to break out the black paint.

Thanks, Emily, for allowing me to post photos of your lovely home. Hope everyone else enjoys them as much as I did!

Check out Emily’s blog here.

After the florals and frills of the last few posts, I’m feeling the need to highlight some rooms with a more edgy aesthetic. (Maybe it’s the nesting instinct that’s drawing me to clean-lined, minimal spaces!?) Luckily, I came across this stunning house by designer Nacho Polo on Vintage + Chic, which fits the bill entirely. Cool, calm, collected and utterly stylish. Not sure I could live in it, but I sure wish I had the discipline to create something this stunning.

This is my favorite room. I love those dining chairs.

Interesting use of contrasting shapes here. It makes the simple color scheme more exciting.

Clever to use the all-white frames as a form of art in itself.

Love that black chandelier and rococo wallpaper in an otherwise modern minimalist bathroom.

Even if you can’t handle black and white in every room, I think it’s perfect for making the most of a small bathroom.

What do you think? Could you live here? And even if not, wouldn’t you love to visit?

I know black walls have been a design trend for at least a year. But it still takes courage and conviction to decorate with black. I still can’t get over the fact I chose two black-framed mirrors for our house – I thought I was being so bold!

But I’ve come to realize that there are some lower-commitment ways to decorate with black. If you love the drama of black but don’t want a moody look, check out some of these ideas.

Glossy black wood door and window frames, with lots of white and a bit of glass, keep the space light.

black paint

Just a few pieces of black furniture, like this coffee table and bookshelf, allow you to dabble in black decor, without going the whole way.

black and pink

Even an entire wall in black wallpaper looks light when it is punctuated with an open doorway.

black wallpaper

A black armoire sets a classic tone for a white room decorated with black accents.

white room, black accents

Just a single piece of black and white fabric injects drama into this muted bedroom.

black pattern

Black walls are an easier option when you have lots of windows. I also like the cozy effect for an office. I like to think it would aid concentration!

black walls in study

I love black in kitchens against all that marble and chrome.

black kitchen

In bathrooms, it looks so decadent – even when you only use a tiny bit of black.

black bathroom

Talk about making a statement. Black doors and a simple black table make this otherwise all-white entryway fabulous. I love lilac accents (in this case the flowers) too.

black and white entry

A dramatic black and white canvas breathes life into a space.

black and white art

This room demonstrates solid commitment to black – but the soft textures (drapes, velvet sofa) make it more inviting.

black walls

This really pretty pendant looks great against the more austere black wall and stone fireplace.

black wall

Or reverse the look with a modern black pendant against a pretty backdrop of traditional white walls and fixtures.

black chandelier

I love the graphic appeal of a striped rug and lots of black picture frames.

black and white

If you don’t like the idea of painting a wall black, who could resist the luxe appeal of black wood?

black wood and copper pendant

With paneling it’s even more effective.

black and red

Or pick out an architectural feature – in this case the staircase – in black.

black staircase

Or how about switching things up and painting the wainscoting black and the upper walls white? It has the effect of grounding an almost white space.


Have you tried decorating with black? Do you still love it?


1 & 2 – Decorpad, 3 – Apartment Therapy, 4 – source unknown, 5 – Apartment Therapy, 6 – Peacock Feathers, 7 & 8 – Pink Wallpaper, 9 – Simplified Bee, 10 – Peacock Feathers, 11 – This is Glamorous, 12 & 13 – Graham Atkins Hughes via Desire to Inspire, 14 – The City Sage, 15 – Apartment Therapy, 16 – The Rug Company, 17 – Door Sixteen, 18 – A Life More Fabulous.

The July issue of Elle Decoration UK features the home of Danish photographer, Ditte Isager. The apartment may be in New York, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was in Denmark because the place is so light and fresh. What I loved about her place is the way it looks as though it has evolved over years.

Of course, since I can’t link to the magazine as it has no website (what is that??) I went off in search of Ditte’s portfolio. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Ditte Isager

Ditte has a way of capturing texture. The colors in her photos are very subtle, but the textures are the real stars. There’s an interior design lesson in there somewhere…

Ditte Isager

Ditte Isager

Elegant but unpredictable.

Ditte Isager

Who knew a pile of wood, some sticks and some leaves could look so great?

Ditte Isager

She also does beautiful travel photos – Alek this would be right up your street!

Ditte Isager

Ditte Isager

Ditte Isager

All photos by Ditte Isager, via Edge Reps.

I’ve started to become a fan of black and white patterns in interiors. There’s nothing quite like the drama and contrast of a black and white scheme to energize a room. In particular, I’ve been eyeing up some of the fabulous wallpapers out there in this popular color combination. There are literally thousands to choose from. It’s quite bewildering. At some point I may pick one for the bedroom wall that has been naked for so long. (Although I’m actually enjoying browsing the options still, so don’t count on a decision any time soon!)

Here are a few of my all-time favorite black and white wallpapers, as well as some stunning new finds. There are some pretty wild patterns in here but, I figure if you’re going to go for the graphic appeal of black and white, you may as well go all the way and pick something that stands out.













And here are the deets:

1 – Random Geometry by Nama Rococo (I only just discovered this fabulous source of wallpaper); 2 – Sixty-Eight by Nama Rococo; 3 – Serious Bokay by Nama Rococo; 4 – Butterfly Valley by Elli Popp; 5 – Bindweed by Ferm Living; 6 – Butterfly by Timorous Beasties; 7 – Leaf by Timorous Beasties; 8 – Mediterranea by Cole & Son; 9 – Elise by Monsoon; 10 – Unknown; 11 – Modern Scroll by Nono; 12 – Horses Stampede by Florence Broadhurst; 13 – Pretty in print – peacock by Judit Gueth; 14 – Grove Garden by Osborne and Little; 15 – Unknown, via the Glam Lamb; 16 – Colada by Umbra; 17 -Walk in the Park by Osborne and Little;18 – Bittern Feather by Graham and Brown; 19 – Exotic by Julien MacDonald; 20 – Butterflies by Kate Larsen; 21 – Solitude by Superfresco Soraya; 22 – Cow Parsley by Cole & Son

I’m a bit of a coward when it comes to using dark colors in my home. Let’s face it, splashing navy blue or chocolate brown all over your walls is not for the faint-hearted. There’s always the risk that you’ll deaden the room, making it seem small and gloomy. But, done right, dark walls can look incredible. They can create a cozy cocoon-like space, make a dramatic statement, or convey calm and elegance. Here are a few spaces where it’s been done right.

I’m not exactly sure how to describe the color in this first picture. Sludge, maybe? It’s very effective on the panelled walls, giving what could be a rather traditional room a twist. It works well with the white bedlinen, which keeps the space feeling light and airy. Via Canadian House and Home.

dark wall bedroom

I love the midnight blue walls in this living room. This particular blue still has a lot of life to it and looks great against the pale sofa and chair. This room works because there are little flashes of white dotted around (the wall sconce, the vase, the lamp). Via Homes and Gardens.

Dark blue living room

Dark walls make a fabulous backdrop for a wall of art. The purple here just pulls this eclectic collection together. I love it with the yellow too. I’m not usually a fan of paint effects but, because the color is so unusual, the mottled walls here look pretty amazing. Especially against the slightly battered desk and retro radio. This is one cool room. Via Glimpse of Style

Purple office

Black walls! Who knew they could be so fresh? In Britain, years ago, there was a kids’ book that was very popular called ‘The Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 and a Half’. The eponymous Mole was a rather unfortunate, nerdy teenage boy. At one point, in an effort to cover up the childish wallpaper in his bedroom,  he painted the walls black. Trouble is, he didn’t quite cover the pattern – you could still see the yellow bells on Noddy’s hat (Noddy was a fictional character from a British children’s book). Poor kid. Point is, since then I’ve never been able to think of black walls as sophisticated or desirable! But this picture proves me wrong. It works brilliantly with lots of white furniture, symmetry and a bit of pattern. Via Homes and Gardens.

Black living room

The deep gray of these dining room walls is stunning. It works well because the many reflective surfaces keep the space lively. It also helps that there are plenty of windows so the amount of wall space that’s covered is actually very small. Via Gorgeous Shiny Things

Gray dining room

Speaking of reflective surfaces, I love this glossy peacock blue. It balances the bright orange well – and look how it reflects the lamp. This is one way to ensure your dark walls aren’t at all gloomy. Via House Beautiful.

Blue living room

I’ve been hording this image from Domino for ages. It’s a great example of how dark walls can be the perfect background for unusually-shaped furniture (the bed, the stools, the mirror).

green bedroom

Ok, this one’s a little more controversial. Dark brown in a kid’s room? Well, it’s practical at least. But I have to say I like this. It works because the wall is a quirky shape as a result of the sloping roof. And it’s lightened up considerably by the white letters. It helps that the room is pretty spartan too. Wonder whether it’s like that every day… Via Australian decor mag, InsideOut.

Brown kids room

Right then, does that give you the confidence to try some more moody colors? Or did you crack the secret of dark walls long ago? Share your pics if so.

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