Everything You Need To Know About Styling With Black

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American industrialist and founder of Ford Motor Company Henry Ford once said, “Any colour, so long as it’s black.” We’ve taken this logic and created an ultimate guide on everything you need to know about creating the sleekest, most timeless interior.

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Image sourced: interior-design-decor.com. 

Renoir called it the “queen of all colours”. JMW Turner said, “If I could find anything blacker than black, I’d use it.” Black has no hue – it’s the absence of light. Sounds sinister, right? And yet by turns, this colour is dramatic and glamorous and handsome.

Laurie Pressman, VP of colour experts Pantone, calls black a “psychological force in the world of colour and design”. It evokes a diverse range of emotional responses from sleek and sexy to sobering, stark, even mysterious.

Zanui Valby Black Occasional Chair Zanui Otto Black Armchair Zanui Otto Black 3 Seater Sofa Zanui McKenna Black Stool
L to R: Zanui Valby Black Occasional Chair, Zanui Otto Black Armchair, Zanui Otto Black 3 Seater Sofa and Zanui McKenna Black Stool. Browse minimalist style online at Zanui.

But black is also an innately practical colour to have around the home. We’re looking at ways to harness this powerful colour and striking masculine style.

bloglovindotcom The Canvas Workshop Exit Landscape Framed Print
R: The Canvas Workshop Exit Landscape Framed Print, available online at Zanui. R: image sourced bloglovin.com.

A DASH THROUGH HISTORY

Black bridges classic and contemporary styles. One of the first colours used in the naïve cave paintings of New Stone Age art, today it’s celebrated in fashion and modern art. Black has been embraced by haute couture. You only have to think of the timeless popularity of the Little Black Dress (launched by Coco Chanel in 1926 and made famous by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s) for proof.

Black is infinitely versatile. In addition to conservative elegance, black has been associated with counter-culture at different points in history, from beatnik to bikers and black-worshipping goths.

mountainmodernlifedotcom Rapee Paradox Cushion
R: Rapee cushion and throw collection featuring Paradox and Tetris cushions and Nomadic Throw, available online at Zanui. L: image sourced mountainmodernlife.com.

In masculine interiors, black hues draw on its association with the gangster elegance of film noire, the cigar-smoky male world of mid-century bars, and the sport of game hunting, reaching back into Victorian and Edwardian times.

Sure – we’re dealing in stereotypes here. But these are open for everyone to exploit – gender aside.

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Chesterfields are a handsome addition to your masculine interiors. Image sourced: shockblast.net.

NEEDS MORE BLACK

Black feature walls make a statement, but excessive use of black can evoke a depressive state. It’s all about the edit.

If you’re not keen to get busy with your paintbrush, select signature pieces such as your sofa, your sideboards and your bed linen to establish black as your base.

audotlifestyledotyahoodotcom Aura by Tracie Ellis Corner Stripe Quilt Cover, Black
Using black as an accent colour. R: Aura by Tracie Ellis Corner Stripe Quilt Cover, Black, exploiting simple geometric shapes. L: Eames Leather Lounge Chair and Ottoman. Image sourced au.lifestyle.yahoo.com.

Or work in reverse and make white your base, using black as an accent for dramatic effect.

Art Club Concept Marble Crosses Print Art, Designers Choice Jett Cushion, Amigos de Hoy leather cushion
Zanui Chloe Chaise Lounge, j.elliot HOME Carraway Side Table, Zanui Scarborough Black Side Table, Art Club Concept Marble Crosses Print Art, Designers Choice Jett Cushion, and Amigos De Hoy leather cushions, available online at Zanui.

THE NO FRILLS APPROACH

Masculine interiors exploit minimalist lines. But this does not preclude elegance, warmth and style. Make the most of architectural features in your room, like fireplaces, exposed brick and wooden floors. Highlight their existence with (contrasting) décor accents, for example, a plush black shag rug on distressed floorboards. Mirror their lines with your furniture for a cohesive look.

Opt for visual symmetry in your floor plan and the placement of your décor accents. Steer away from fussy ornamental pieces to give your space an edgy, spacious quality.

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Rustic pieces in steel, chrome, and wood add gravity to your aesthetic. Furniture with black metal frames is both masculine and space-enhancing. Images sourced L to R: ultralinx.com and aruffledlife.com.

GIVE IT WEIGHT

Introducing heavy furniture into your space instantly gives it gravitas and masculine appeal. A sturdy wooden dining table, an Eames armchair, a leather chesterfield, an urban-industrial metal coffee or side table, a statement lighting fixture fashioned from concrete. These kinds of rustic finishes add ruggedness to your aesthetic.

Nud Collection Concrete Base Pendant Light Barber & Osgerby for Royal Doulton Olio Black Creamer & Sugar Set 2 Barber & Osgerby for Royal Doulton Olio Black Creamer & Sugar Set Amigos de Hoy Round Leather Floor Pad, Black
L to R: Nud Collection Concrete Base Pendant Light, Amigos De Hoy Metal Dipped Serving Board and Small Spoon, and Casa Uno Marble and Slate Boards, Barber & Osgerby Olio collection for Royal Doulton, and Amigos De Hoy leather and fabric cushions, available online at Zanui.

HANDSOME HUES

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A deep muted palette prioritising earthy hues creates masculine allure. Images sourced L to R: stylecaster.com and boredpanda.com

Dark, saturated colours are considered more masculine. Restricting your palette to two or three colours becomes very visually effective with this look. This works particularly well in smaller spaces, preventing them from becoming too chaotic.

Zanui Chloe Black 2.5 Seater Sofa, Art Club Concept Painted Diamonds Print Art
Zanui Chloe 2.5 Seater Sofa, Black, Beaumont & Braddock Cube Concrete Square Side Table, NSW Leather Co. Sheepskin Animal Hide Rug, Pale Grey, and Amigos De Hoy leather cushions, available online at Zanui.

ARRESTING ART IN MONOCHROME

Select statement wall art to upstyle your space. Work with simple modern shapes to adorn your verticals. Exploit the much-lauded marriage of black and white.

Coco Chanel said, “Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.”

A La Mode Studio Breakers Framed Print
A La Mode Studio Breakers Framed Print. Browse black and white wall art online at Zanui.

DIM THE LIGHTS

j.elliot Home Louis CushionIniko Perry Braided String Pendant Light Amalfi Coop Cluster Pendant Light, BlackRapee Minke Cushion
L to R: j.elliot Home Louis Cushion, Iniko Perry Braided String Pendant Light, Amalfi Coop Cluster Pendant Light, Black, and Rapee Minke Cushion, available online at Zanui.

Manage your lighting with a mixture of focused ambient lighting, from floor and table lamps to pendant and overhead lights. Having a combination of light sources allows greater flexibility in the creation of mood. Dark and brooding or bright enough for the kids to do their homework!

Home & Abode California Boulevard Framed Print Amigos de Hoy Round Leather Cushion Amalfi Perfect Timing Diamond Hourglass, 30min Amalfi Cell Shelf (Set of 6)
L to R: Home & Abode California Boulevard Framed Print, Amigos de Hoy Round Leather Cushion, Amalfi Perfect Timing Diamond Hourglass, 30min and Amalfi Cell Shelf (Set of 6), available online at Zanui.

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.