What you need to know before painting your room black!

Updated: July 16, 2021

I first saw an “all black” room years ago, when I was watching Designer & HGTV Host Genevieve Gorder in her latest TV show at the time renovating her new Manhattan apartment transforming one room at a time making it her own. Genevieve had decided to paint her entire living room black which was ahead of the trend at the time. My first thought was an all black room?? Really?? I don’t think I would ever try this.  

But after a while, and seeing a few other “all black” rooms, I must admit, it actually started to grow on me. An all black room may not be for everyone, but you must admit, it is very cool and you just might be tempted to try it, maybe not a living room – or at the very least, one accent wall!

Which room should you paint black?

In Genevieve’s show, see photo below, she picked her living room which makes a bold, daring and fun statement! I’ve seen a few black living room since then and they look great. But some of us may not want to make our main space black. Thankfully, there are alot of options. A primary bedroom would be fun, romantic and sexy! A main floor powder room or a bathroom is a smaller commitment than a living room and can have a powerful impact on your guests! A kids room or an office may also be some other options in your home to keep it interesting and mix things up a little if you have manly neutral colored walls throughout the rest of the house.

6 Tips to Decorate a Black Room

Before you rush out and buy a can of black paint, there are some things to consider first when you’re making decorating decisions. You need to consider the style of your home, your personal style, the room you’re considering painting, and of course, your furniture & accessories because your current furniture & accessories may fit with an all black room, but some or maybe all may need updating to fit not only with the color but with the vibe of the room.

There is a certain technique involved in decorating an all black room.  A room with all black walls can look really amazing or it can look equally bad.

Read 5 things to consider when decorating a room.

In HGTV Designer’s Genevieve Gorder all black Manhattan living room below, she successfully pulls off this look (would you really expect anything different from Genevieve?) using the techniques below in decorating with black or dark walls.

1. Use white or neutrals as an accent color

Offset all of the black with white or neutral shades in your accent pieces. You can have white upholstered furniture, white or lighter accents pieces like artwork, curtains, accessories, bedding for bedrooms, and accent pillows. White ceilings, moldings and trim will make not only be a bold accent against the black, it will make for a crisp contrast.

What you need to know about painting a room black

In Genevieve’s Manhattan apartment, she uses a cream linen upholstered couch and a light rug to offset the black walls and cabinetry. She also uses alot of various textures, and interesting accessories to complement the mood of the black living room. Her dramatic black & white picture is the icing on the cake to make it the initial focal point of this stunning living room.


In this guest bedroom, she successfully combines a combination of interesting and varied textures with lighter accessories to make this a stunning retreat whcih would intice house guests to linger longer. with from the white cotton bedding,

2. Use Bold Pops of Colors

Adding a few pops of bold color to your all black room will make it pop. Rooms that are primarily black can feel depressing without some bright pops!.



The red accents in the bathroom below gives this room the color it needed.  If all black is a bit intimating, try a dark grey as shown below.  Less scary and yet very effective.

3. Use Texture for Interest

To keep the room from feeling dull, add items with lots of texture. You can have art décor, a sleek metallic lamp and patterned upholstery or drapery.  A bold graphic pattern will add visual interest.


Even the Bachelor Mansion updated one of their rooms to a black room.  The various art pieces, rug and floor adds interest and lightens the room.


4. Use Interesting Accent Pieces & Accessories


Mirrors are a effective way to lighten up and add interest in any room but in particular, they shine (no pun intended) in a black room. Mirrors will help bounce light around.

Source: Unknown

The detail & accessories that went into this basic builder bathroom makeover by Sunny Side Design is what makes this design absolutely stunning! This bathroom is the poster child for using all the 6 steps needed in decorating a black room.

Notice the beautiful shaped matching mirrors, the accessories on the sink, the upholstered, shag ottoman, the flooring design, and curtains. And to top it all off, the blushing pink cabinet which is subtle but not too subtle to ignore, is the icing on the cake. Be sure to check out their full blog post here to see the before pictures, and the great tutorials of how they accomplished each step.


5. Let there be light!

Don’t forget about adding lots of lighting to a black room. The color black will seem to absorb all of the light, so you will need more light than if you had a room with lighter colored walls.

black room, genevieve gorder, living room

Genevieve uses different light sources not only to lighten up the room but to add visual interest.  She also breaks up the black with a wood door & the hanging basket lights.  (Genevieve Gorder’s NYC Living Room Apartment.  Found on

6. Paint an Accent Wall

Painting an entire room black is not for everyone!  As with any latest design trend, you need to take into consideration the style of your house, location and your own personal style. An all black room would look great in any trendy neighborhood but may look a little silly in a sleepy small town home. Perhaps using black as an accent color would suit your style and your home’s style. Pick the prominent wall as this wall will become the focal point in your room. You can also make it interesting by using textures such as a wood panelling feature for example.

Photo: Apartment Therapy

Dining rooms and primary bedrooms seem to be the most popular choices for black accent walls. They make a bold statement but may not feel so overwhelming as a total black room. Also having an accent wall feature may be easier to accomplish by incorporating some of your own pieces of furniture & accessories with some tweaking. An all black room may require a large amount of selecting new pieces of furniture & accessories that may not be in your budget at the moment.

One of the latest design trends in using black or charcoal gray is using this color as an accent wall in the dining room. You get a bold pop of color, a break from all the neturals out there, and you still get your bold trendy design statment. If you find black to harsh for your taste, charchol gray is becoming a trendy alternative to jet black.

An alternative to jet black is a dark gray like Sherwim William’s Color of the Year Urbane Bronze. Its a bold yet warm gray that would be suitable for any room really with the right elements in the room. Notice how they styled this room with netural bedding, light oak wood bedside table and an adorable hanging light again in a neutral to offset the dark accent wall.

Most popular black paint color for your room

What NOONE tells you about painting with black paint!

When I was painting my son’s room black, I was actually surprised that it was harder to look professionally painted than I thought. I mean, I’ve painted a black chalkboard wall, and probably hundreds, ok may not quite hundreds, but many many rooms different colors. That’s the perk of owning rental properties. You get to paint the same room many times over and you need to become really good at painting or you’re spending your profits hiring a painter.

Read how to pick a paint color for my house

BUT Black paint shows EVERY imperfection.  You need to roll up and down consistently one line, and then move onto the next.  You need to roll DOWN to finish the line and then roll DOWN to finish the next line and so on.  Otherwise, if you don’t do this, the black will look like different shades of black even though you’re using the same color of paint.

So what do you think?  Are YOU bold enough to try this????


Hi! I’m Debi Collinson. I’m a decorator, stylist, color expert, stager and real estate investor. — My design advise to the world is … styling your home is the BIG secret in having an Instagram worthy home as opposed to a ho hum look. — My superpower is about styling to make your home stunning all while adding value to your home at the same time! — It all started back in 2006, at the request of a realtor, where I nervously staged my very first home. The sellers liked their newly styled home so much that they turned down an offer for full asking price and stayed. I went back to design school and the rest is history. I’ve been working my “magic” with hundreds of clients to create a stunning retreat whether they’re styling to stay or staging to sell! In my spare time, LOL, I buy “fixer uppers” to fix up & either sell for a healthy profit or to rent. I’m currently living in my 9th “fixer upper.” Sign up to receive my e-mails on how to make your home your stunning retreat, how to sell your house for top dollar AND how to become financially independent one fixer upper at a time!

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