Give your interiors a boost with black living room ideas. After all, the color has a magnetic, daring quality and can make your space and even your home look one in a million.
We tend to spend a lot of time in our living rooms, especially since work-from-home lifestyles have become more commonplace, so it's understandable if you want to upgrade it with fresh living room color ideas. Black is the deepest, darkest, and most gripping shade you could use in a living room, and drenching your space in it will give it a big personality.
'I love using black in interiors as an accent color,' says interior designer Natalie Tredgett. 'It instantly provides a touch of glamour and gravitas to a space, which is why black is so effective.'
To help spark an idea for a living room design using black, we’ve rounded up 10 of the top ideas from interior designers. This collection of images and ideas speaks to a variety of different types of design, and ways to incorporate this striking shade.
10 black living room ideas to try
There are a few things to consider before you choose a shade of black for your living room. Black has variations. You could choose from true black, or blacks with green, purple, or blue undertones. Sometimes charcoal, which straddles grey and black, can be read as a matte black as well.
There are flat and glossy blacks and everything in between. Another important thing to note is that black, contrary to popular belief does not always make a room feel smaller. Dark colors make walls recede and fall away, making the room feel larger. And, of course, black offers itself as a great background for other colors to stand out.
Apart from living rooms, black is a good color for transition spaces as well, such as hallways and nooks. If you want to have an art gallery at home, artworks hung on black walls look striking, too.
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1. Choose a dark wall paint in your black living room
Black is elegant and powerful. It's a color worn to formal occasions, and some of the most high-end restaurants and hotels are painted in this hue. Clearly, black can make your home look uber stylish.
Painting your walls black will help intensify the tones of decorative objects around, especially those that are white, gold, pearl, or grey. Almost all colors look fantastic against this light-absorbing hue.
‘Despite its darkness, black walls act as a great backdrop to other aspects of the rooms you want to highlight, whether it’s art or an architectural feature,' says paint brand Albany (opens in new tab)'s John Ashton. 'Although it can feel daunting, black is a versatile choice that can feel cozy or modern.’
If you have a small living room, painting all the walls black will make corners vanish. This creates an optical illusion that makes the space look much larger. With two large windows and plenty of natural light, you can opt for this color to amplify your available space. In colder climates, a black-painted interior can be advantageous. The color radiates warmth and makes an interior cozy.
'I love to use black as a single source of color for a room. It makes it feel neutral, yet bold,' says interior designer Chad Dorsey (opens in new tab).
2. Introduce deep black on the ceiling
A black ceiling can tie the room together and create a unified look. This color is especially useful if you have extremely high ceilings and you want to bring them down visually.
Painting your walls white and the ceiling black will shrink the room just the tiniest bit to make it feel cozier.
When it comes to living room paint ideas, drenching a ceiling in black paint can help hide the ugly spots as well. In old homes, you can camouflage the ductwork, exposed beams and pipes. After all, covering up the top with drywall can rob you of precious headroom. Of course, this isn't the perfect solution and it won't eliminate the issue, but it'll make the living room look neater.
3. Paint the trims charcoal black in your living room
Let's be honest – a fully black painted living room isn't for everyone. In that case, consider black paint or a dark stain on just your trim work. This black accent can energize your space, highlight a ceiling or wall feature or hide a few visual imperfections.
'Black accents can help unite a living room for a visually tidy and concise space,' says architect Sarah Barnard (opens in new tab). 'Because it is visually attention-grabbing, using small amounts of black throughout the room will create harmony, while larger swaths of the color can draw attention and create focus.'
If you live in a recently renovated home and have mismatched wood trims that don't match with the other grains in the room, consider painting them black to hide those subtle imperfections. Black trim can also give a graphic look to a plain space, creating bold outlines and defining shapes.
Do keep in mind though, that while black paint can certainly hide wear and tear marks and create an elegant living room, darker colors also tend to show dust more than lighter tones.
4. Pair black tones with metallics
Some pairings are classic. Peanut butter and jelly, cookies and milk, and black and gold.
This is a decadent dark living room color palette. Black and gold induce an elegant, bold, and edgy vibe to interiors. 'Metallic accents pair well with black – think brass candlesticks, the glint of a picture chain, or beautifully textured ceramics,' says Anna Burles, interior designer, Run For The Hills (opens in new tab).
Keep in mind, that while using gold, you want to observe a little restraint. Take inspiration from this image. The ornate, gilt mirror and chandelier stand out all the more against the black walls. The rest of the decor follows a black or white theme, keeping the overall look pleasing and smart.
5. Contrast flat black with other complementary hues
Black can be paired with most colors. That's because it absorbs light and most light and bright colors end up having maximum contrast with black.
Soft palettes look particularly good against black. One great companion to solid black is dusty pink. The combination can warm up a dark room, making it appear inviting.
Another color that goes with black is grey, especially if you want a monochromatic look. If you want the contrast to show, opt for lighter shades of grey that will create a beautiful light and dark palette. Plus, light grey can accentuate black, making it stand out.
'In our project, we used a color pop sofa and bold lampshade in mustard, and picked up art which contains lots of white to pop against the black wall color,' says Anna. 'A mirror was used for bouncing the color in the space and colorful accessories and rugs for creating a fresh feeling despite the dark walls.'
6. Consider a black and white scheme
Nothing beats the classic black and white combination. A high-contrast pairing and a monotone scheme provide the perfect base for bold interior design.
The best way to utilize this combo is by using plenty of texture and pattern, as these look uplifted in a monochrome scene. Patterned tiles, plaster paints, printed upholstery, plus even the introduction of a third color, say grey, enhances the appeal of the room.
'While there are several combinations that work, I think black is a wonderful color that goes with green. This is a naturally occurring pairing in nature and easy on the eye regardless of the tone,' says interior designer Natalie Tredgett (opens in new tab).
7. Opt for matte black flooring
Black flooring – whether it's black wooden stained floors, slate floors, or dark ceramic tiles – works as the perfect foil for accessories, and is a great living room flooring idea.
If your living room receives a lot of natural light, it's a good idea to experiment with black lacquer floors as these will look sharp against the sunlight. You could even go with chevron black and white painted floors, and bring in a mirrored coffee table to double the effect.
Apart from the living room, you could even consider black lacquer flooring on a winding staircase. The flooring will look lovely in narrow slabs, especially highlighted against white balustrades.
8. Try layering color in a moody living room scheme
Color layering quite simply means adding a similar tone across an interior for a sumptuous scheme. Layering works across paints, fabrics, and textures to create a vibrant yet cohesive aesthetic.
Try to find a common denominator in your layering – color, shape, pattern, or style. In this case, black can be your grounding element and the scheme can be built upon it. Take this living room for instance. The color is splashed across the wall, on the coffee tables, and even on the carpet. The hue unifies all layers and brings them together into a cohesive vision.
You can also consider adding black living room furniture to your scheme, for added effect. Remember though, layering with dark colors can darken your interior so make it a point to add enough lighting fixtures to brighten up the room.
'I love black furniture such as an ebonized chest of drawers or painted rattan and bamboo. A black stone such as slate and marble, are timeless as well,' says Natalie. 'Light and fresh color-blocked rugs add texture and coziness, to stop the space from feeling too moody.'
9. Cover your living room walls with black wallpaper
Believe it or not, a black patterned wallpaper can break up the darkness of your room while still giving your room the rich beauty it deserves. The pairing of a deep color and texture with a variety of furniture pieces and fabrics looks quite stunning.
Consider adding large patterns to your living room wallpapers to make the wall look open and bright. If it's an organic feel you want to give to your space, choose textured wallpapers.
Several companies will even create customized designs for you, with digitally printed shapes of your choice, so you really can go wild with your space.
10. Opt for black curtains for a cocooning feel
Dark-colored living room curtains work best against light walls; these can even give the interior a movie theatre effect, so even drawing the curtains can feel quite dramatic.
Black curtains work very well in large rooms or ones with very high ceilings as they help the space feel closed in and give it a cozier vibe. Consider repeating the color of the drapes somewhere else in the room for cohesion.
If you're worried that your drapes will block out all the natural light in your space, perhaps consider double curtains – a light, sheer one that allows filtered light during the day, and a dark, thick one that helps maintain privacy and blocks out all night lights (street lights or car headlights).
Printed black curtains look fabulous too and help inject a wonderful dose of color into the window.
Is black good for a living room?
While black has forever been a fashion favorite, and in interiors, especially when it comes to paint trends, it has made a mark in recent years.
Since this is a deep shade, it pairs well with almost all colors, although it isn't advisable to pair black with neon hues.
There are several ways to bring this color into living rooms, whether through paints, wallpapers, cushions, curtains, rugs, or even ceiling. It also especially pairs well with metallic tones.
Black provides a wonderful backdrop to solid wood furniture, giving the interior a modern, smart look. In large rooms, black can help shrink the volume of the space when painted on ceilings. In small spaces, wall-to-ceiling black paint can give the space depth and a feeling of endlessness.
Just to keep in mind though, if you do choose a black interior theme, ensure your room is well-lit. Open up the windows to welcome plenty of natural light and add a layered lighting scheme to keep the living room from looking too closed in.
How do you style a dark living room?
Lift the look of your dark living room with colors, contrasts, textures, and lights.
By pairing colors that are opposite to each other on the color wheel, you can enrich your space and pack it with drama and energy. A high contrast space works particularly well in a small living room. Another way to light up a dark living room is by painting the ceiling and trims white. The light and dark palette will help open up the space.
Also consider adding decorative lights in your dark living room. An antique gold chandelier looks particularly striking against a black wall. It also restricts the room from looking too caved in.
Another important point to keep in mind is following the 60-30-10 rule, where 60% is the main color, 30% is the contrasting hue and 10% would be the accent hue represented via the furnishings.
Finally, embrace the beauty and power of mirrors. These are great for reflecting light around the room, enhancing the space, and adding a stylish touch to the interior.
Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.