How To Decorate A Black Room (That Isn’t Gloomy)

Black rooms have a reputation for being gloomy and claustrophobic but they don’t have to be! These room decor ideas show you how to decorate a black room using paint, texture, pattern, black trim and even black ceilings to create an elegant and sophisticated space.

how to decorate a black room

I have to admit. I have a bit of an obsession with decorating rooms in black (like my home office/library, kitchen, these black bedroom ideas and my master bathroom).

It’s a color that looks sophisticated, immediately creates drama and is easy to glam up.

And a black room can feel very cozy, warm and inviting.

But it can also end up feeling like a gloomy, dark, claustrophobic cave.

Since I’ve had quite a bit of experience decorating with black, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about doing it successfully.

So if you’re someone who likes pictures of dark rooms, but hasn’t had the nerve to try it, hopefully these tips on how to decorate a black room will help to make it a little less scary.

Note: Some images below are from and cannot be pinned due to their copyright restrictions.

1 | Pick the Right Shade of Black

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Different black paint colors

Despite what you might think, there are actually many different “colors” of black.

It all comes down to the undertone of the paint.

You can have a blue black, a purple black, a green black, a brown black…you get the picture.

Black paint samples with color swatches

To make sure you get the right black tone, you really need to decide what else you are going to put in the room with it.

Then buy a black paint with the same undertone as the other colors you’ve chosen.

You can usually tell the undertone by looking at the lighter colors that are on the same paint card as the black you are thinking of.

Black door touched up with the wrong color of paint

As you can see from this picture, you will be able to notice the difference if you end up with 2 different blacks in the room…and chances are, it won’t look quite right.

In this case, the brown-black from my stairway makeover was accidentally used to touch up the blue-black paint that is in my hallway.

You can certainly tell the difference when they are right beside each other!

That does bring up one more thing that I’ve learned about black paint…it is very noticeable when you get little dings in the paint! So you might want to keep a small container of touch up paint and a brush close by for quick repair jobs.

2 | Use Gloss Paint

Powder room painted with gloss black paint via
Traditional Powder Room by New York Photographers Donna Dotan Photography via

The color black, by definition, is an absence of color caused by the fact that it does not reflect any wavelength of light.

That absence of reflected light can make a room seem very dark and cavernous (like a black hole).

This is where gloss paint comes to the rescue.

The shiny finish will bounce some light back into the room, helping to add some life to the room.

This bathroom is actually painted in black lacquer to really add some shine!

3 | Or Go With A Matte Finish

Eating area wall painted with blackboard paint
© –

Another option for painting an all black room is to use flat (or matte) paint.

It makes the walls look like they have more texture. Which adds warmth.

To have some fun with it, you could paint the walls with blackboard paint and then draw your own decor.

4 | Paint The Ceiling Black

Black ceiling in a black and gold home office

Although many people think that a black ceiling makes a room look smaller, I haven’t found that to be true.

When the walls and ceiling are all painted black, the corner where they meet seems to disappear.

So you don’t really notice where the wall ends and the ceiling starts.

Which makes it look taller.

Add that to the fact that black recedes, and it actually makes the room look bigger.

5 | Add Texture To The Walls

Black bedroom with black strips of wood on the wall behind the bed

Texture is always my go-to decorating tool when I want to add warmth to a room. So it’s a great way to prevent a black room from feeling cold.

Adding slats of wood to the wall and painting them all black is one way to add texture to the wall.

You could do the same with shiplap if you want a more sophisticated take on farmhouse decor.

6 | Buy A Velvet Sofa

Black velvet sofa in a small black and gold home office

Another way to add texture to a black room is with the fabrics you use.

A velvet sofa, throw blankets, textured curtains, and a plush area rug make sure that my all black home office doesn’t feel cold.

7 | Put Up Black Patterned Wallpaper

Black leather chair and lamp in a room with black and silver wallpaper

Another way to add life to a dark room is by using pattern on the walls.

Putting up black patterned wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to do this.

For a little extra glamour, use a pattern with silver or gold in it. It will reflect light back into the room which also helps to liven it up.

6 | Or Install Tile

Black herringbone pattern on a wall behind a purple sofa

For a more modern look, long black tiles or dark wood flooring can also be installed on the wall.

Which also creates an interesting pattern, especially if they are put up in a herringbone pattern.

Along with the variation in color, there’s no way this room would be boring!

8 | Install Wall Panels

Black walls with panel moldings and a white sofa

Breaking up a large expanse of wall with some panel molding, chair rail or even book cases is a good way to prevent the room from feeling like a cave.

You can paint the panels the same color as the walls, or fill them in with a co-ordinating color or wallpaper if you prefer.

9 | Paint A Black Accent Wall

Black accent wall in a black and white bedroom
© –

If you don’t want to go with an all black room, why not try an accent wall?

It adds a modern look and a little bit of drama without overdoing it.

11 | Combine Black and White

Small black and white living room

To keep the black from being too overwhelming, mix in a good dose of at least one other color.

Black and white is a classic color scheme that can work in pretty much any room. And it’s pretty easy to put together.

12 | Mix Black and Red

Black and red media room
Contemporary Home Theater via

Using red in a black room creates contrast which plays up the dramatic aspect of the decor.

The red velvet chaises in this media room draw your attention immediately.

So you know exactly where you should be settling in for a good movie.

13 | Add Pops Of Blue

Black living room with a grey sofa and blue cushions
©Mobz –

Since I love blue so much, you know I can’t leave it off the list!

Blue has the opposite effect of red, and adds a soothing, relaxing feel to a black room.

All you need is a blanket and a book to curl up and relax in this living room.

14 | Use Gold Accents

Black and gold home office via
Traditional Home Office by Saskatoon Interior Designers & Decorators Atmosphere Interior Design Inc. via

Adding metallic accents (especially warm-toned metals such as gold, brass and copper) will help to brighten up a black room.

They look great with black, and also provide some more reflective surfaces, to get that light bouncing around.

15 | Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets Black

Black kitchen cabinets with silver accents

If you’re looking for something different than your standard white or wood kitchen cabinets, black might be just the thing.

I painted my kitchen cabinets with a black and silver-blue color scheme which I love.

And it’s definitely not something you’re going to see everywhere.

16 | Add Animal Prints

Black home office with zebra rug and white accents
©J.Zhuk –

Animal print fabric is another one of my decorating obsessions. I think every room should should have a little of it.

With its organic pattern, animal print is also a great way to add interest to a black room.

A zebra rug like the one in the office above is one of the easiest ways to do this. And since it’s black and white, it goes with pretty much any color scheme.

17 | Mix In Natural Elements

Black bedroom with rattan lamps, wood stool and plants
©jafara –

Similar to animal print, using natural elements such as rattan, natural wood and plants in your decor will bring life to a dark room.

With its natural cotton and fluffy down duvet, this black bedroom looks like it’s ready for a good night’s sleep.

17 | Install Dramatic Lighting

Black and white dining room with a neon green chandelier
Contemporary Dining Room by Houston Photographers JONATHAN CALVERT | Interiors Photographer via

Installing the right light fixtures in a black room will help to play up the drama that the room already has while providing some much-needed light.

At least one chandelier or light fixture with crystals will create light patterns that show up really well on the black walls.

You may also need more lamps than you might normally put in a room to keep the corners from becoming too shadowy.

The lime green chandelier in the dining room above also provides an unexpected pop of color.

18 | Hang A Large Mirror

Black dining room with a large round mirror via
Contemporary Dining Room by Saskatoon Interior Designers & Decorators Atmosphere Interior Design Inc. via

As I’ve mentioned before, getting light to move around a black room helps to make it look more lively.

The large windows in this dining room definitely do this.

But a large mirror hung on the wall that is perpendicular to the window will reflect the light further into the room.

Which is especially helpful in rooms that don’t have a lot of natural light.

20 | Use Black Trim

Dark purple bedroom with black trim

If you prefer not to have black walls, painting your trim black is another option.

It still creates some drama and adds sophistication to the room but acts as more of an accent.

Making a black room feel comfortable is all about adding warmth, reflecting light and creating some glamour…it’s not as scary as it seems.

So hopefully, with these black room decor ideas, you’re feeling a little braver about giving it a try!

Other black room ideas you might like

Or browse all of our black decor ideas.

Have comments or questions on how to decorate a black room? Tell us in the section below.

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elegant and sophisticated black room decor ideas

This post was originally published on January 21, 2021 but was updated with new content on April 2, 2024.

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