50 Shades of Black: Going Bold with Dark Interiors

By: Rick Hess/Mae Case, DI

Often equated with elegance, boldness and mystery, black in interior design is usually reserved for accents within a space. Rarely are whole rooms dedicated to this dramatic, neutral shade – until now. Some may say that black is “back,” however, many will rightly say that it never really went anywhere. It has always been a popular, classic color choice in design, but we are now seeing an evolution in its use. Various shades of black are at the forefront of interior trends. From matte black surfaces and chalkboard accent walls, to stained concrete flooring and a general love of sleek, modern design, drenching whole rooms in this dark hue rather than teaming it up with other, subtler shades is as “in” as you can be at the moment.

Shades of Black In Interior Design

The Llewellyn House

Shades of Black - Llewellyn House by studioplusthree

Llewellyn House by studioplusthree

The Llewellyn House was designed as a home and rehearsal space for two musicians, and the black interior contrasts with the existing home that was renovated.  The original structure was a Federation-style cottage and the contrast between dark and light helps “knit together the old and new,” states the designer.  The aged bricks of the home are recycled, and although the home boasts dark interiors, daylight still finds its way in.

Llewellyn House by studioplusthree

Llewellyn House by studioplusthree

Rhoda Restaurant

Rhoda Restaurant by Joyce Wang Studio

Rhoda Restaurant by Joyce Wang Studio

The Rhoda Restaurant provides a place for visitors to escape through their dark color palettes.  The spaces are designed with smooth transitions between different areas and intimate zones set apart from more public rooms.

Code Black Coffee

Code Black Coffee by Zwei Interiors Architecture

Code Black Coffee designed by Zwei Interiors Architecture, photography by Michael Kai

Located in Brunswick, Australia, this clever coffee shop uses a dark color palette to make guests feel as if they are in the coffee grains themselves. This unique design concept aims to be completely transparent by revealing the various functions within the building.  Upon entering, visitors can see straight through to the back-of-the-house area and into the room where the coffee is roasted.

Code Black Coffee by Zwei Interiors Architecture

Code Black Coffee designed by Zwei Interiors Architecture, photography by Michael Kai

These spaces reveal that the meanings and connotations of colors can be redefined; they evolve as society does. Today you can walk into a space with dark concrete flooring and black walls and be energized by the creative combination of dark and light, rather than overwhelmed by drab, depressing energy. Interior designers are embracing black as a modern staple, denoting sleekness and sophistication. Now that black has taken center stage, we’d wager that it’ll remain a classic go-to in the design world indefinitely.

At Design Institute, we’ve been preparing students for rewarding, innovative and socially responsible careers in interior design for more than 40 years. Learn more about our BFA in Interior Design Program and Master of Interior Design Program.