Most readers of this column will not be surprised to learn that I love a black wall— somewhere. I have a designer friend who asks me fairly often where my blackboard wall is going to go. I have not yet decided, but you can be sure I will have one.
I had determined, early on, that one of my office walls would be black. I have several black and white prints that I especially like, and think they will be stunning on a black wall. The French doors and frame are white, so there is a nice contrast and boldness without being too bold. The black wall is visible from the living room and adds dramatic relief to the soft, soothing taupe walls in the that room.
My black wall is hung with nine, mostly all black and white sketches. There is a pair of bird drawings with very subdued coloring— the birds must be the female of the species. The subject matter of the collection is varied. The frames are not identical, although the frames of the three Aubrey Beardsley drawings all match, and the three bird drawings have matching frames. Consistency in color, size or subject help a collection achieve a cohesive feel.
A black or very dark wall of blue or plum or green— something very close to black can give drama to an ordinary room. If your room has a great deal of light, as mine does, you will see sharp contrast that does not make the room seem gloomy.
The TV room is painted a very dark blue, but not dark enough to be mistaken for black; it is very definitely blue, and the white trim keeps it lively. The TV room has no direct outside source of light; the two long windows that flank one wall, borrow light from my office. Without the white trim and the borrowed light, the dark blue would make this room a bit depressing for me; but it is a perfect room for watching TV with no glare on the screen.
A home office or study, where you want quiet solitude, might be a good place to consider very dark walls. Decades ago, a man’s office or study would have been paneled in dark wood and probably would have had walls lined with books, with a window looking out onto a shady garden— all lovely, but hardly practical today. Most houses do not have a space for a separate library, but the thought is still very appealing to those who treasure reading an old fashioned book, in peace and quiet without any electronic hum. You might be able to achieve a similar look for a reading nook in a room; if you can find a “quiet corner” in a room, paint two of the walls a dark color and section it off using an area rug or seating to visually close it off from the rest of the room. Some tall bookcases can become walls within a room and add to the quiet effect.