Black: the right side of darkness

Signs and symbols

Black can represent anything from elegance to evil with death, night, darkness, mystery and sophistication in between. For one person it can symbolise luck if a black cat crosses their path, for another it can only mean the perfect little black dress. In karate, a black belt means excellence and in ancient China it was the symbol of North and water. Whether it’s dark and mysterious you’re after or all-out glamour, there’s plenty on offer out there.

Get inspired

Jump on the current gothic trend and take some style references for your home. Pick up any fashion magazine and you’ll find yards of black lace, smoky and sultry looks created with inky kohl and jet black bobbed hair. Monochrome is also big at the moment, and you will see strong interiors of clean black and white lines with the odd splash of colour in home styling magazines. Really strong and iconic black and white photos can offer the perfect inspiration to help you create an overall theme for a room. If you decide to use black in your home, the overall effect should be strong, dramatic and ultimately glamorous.

Best for…

Eighties book character Adrian Mole famously painted his Noddy wallpaper black, but it’s best to avoid the teenage angst look unless you are actually 13-and-a-half. Instead, focus on sophistication: granite kitchen worktops look classy, but make sure that you add some white or warm wood units to tone it down. Black gloss adds a contemporary feel to floorboards, and can also be very practical. Why not dress up your windows and add instant Victoriana with some black vintage lace? Adding a heavy satin or silk lining will create a really glamorous look. Black wood is also in vogue – but, if you can’t afford an expensive dark hardwood, add lacquer or paint to a cheaper, open-grained wood.

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