Monday 23 September 2019

Black is back

It's not the most obvious choice for the season, but cool matte black is popular in some of the freshest interiors, writes Nathalie Marquez Courtney

Paired with white walls, greenery and dashes of metallics, black looks fresh for spring and summer. Wire cage coffee table, €216, Debenhams
Paired with white walls, greenery and dashes of metallics, black looks fresh for spring and summer. Wire cage coffee table, €216, Debenhams
12x16-inch print, €27,
Velvet table lamp, €185,
12-piece dinner set, €50,
Black marble serving board, €28,
Matte black hairpin legs, €73,
Letterboard, €60,
Adnet Circulaire mirror, €735.51,

Nathalie Marquez Courtney

When it comes to interiors, black always looks chic without being expensive - it's so easy to go for all-black decor, it's almost cheating. But this season, we're seeing it appear less as the star of the show and more as a supporting player. Black accents, and matte black in particular, are creating sharp, stylish contrasts in otherwise bright and airy spaces. Adding a pop of black can make simple, clean spaces look sleek and modern, creating a look that is both neutral and bold.

"Black is such a transformative colour, and it's so exciting that more people are introducing it into their home," says Siobhan Lam, owner of Dublin interiors store April and the Bear ( "I particularly love matte black. There is something very soothing and immersive about it."


Counter-intuitive as it sounds, dark colours make smaller rooms feel larger, which makes black a cool choice for places like guest bathrooms and en-suites. Siobhan experimented with an all-black bathroom in her own home, contrasting it with brass accessories. "We're renovating another bathroom upstairs at the moment and have decided on matte black hardware, a beautiful point of difference that will make a real impact when the space is finished," she says.


There's no escaping metals as a big interiors story this year, and they are part of the reason black has been having a moment. If you have already been playing with that trend, it will be easy to weave in some moody black tones, which will help add depth and definition. "Black works well with so many colours but I've got a particular penchant for when black is used as a backdrop for golden tones like those in brass and bronze - it really elevates the metal," says Siobhan.


In kitchen design, black has been dubbed the new white, with a surge in popularity for all-black kitchens or darker marble accents. You can see it used in everything from stone sinks and countertop to seating and lighting, paired with lighter wood finishes or warm terracotta tones.


Matte black accents, meanwhile, seen on mirrors, lighting and hardware, can add impact without dominating a space too much. Another beautiful pairing is black and pink, with it working particularly well with the 'not going anywhere any time soon millennial pink' palette. "You do need to be careful with the shade of pink you go for," advises Siobhan. "The softer the better, but we love this combo so much we used it on the front of our Temple Bar store."


Ultimately, there are few rooms in the home that wouldn't benefit from a touch of black. Not only does it add a sharp wow-factor hit, but it can help anchor and ground your space, especially if you are using a lot of neutral or soft shades.

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