If you’re interested in interior design, it won’t have escaped your notice that everyone seems to be going over to the dark side. That’s right, black is back. In fact, dark and moody colour schemes have been on the ascendant for a few years now. From dark and dramatic living rooms to inky black bedroom schemes, interior designers everywhere are embracing the new dark colour challenge. But kitchens??

Yes, kitchens! And here’s why. We know that colour can completely alter the mood of a room. We also know that the happiest homes are those where the decor reflects your personality. Darker shades deliver added sophistication and drama to a space, so where better to use this to best effect than in the heart of the home? After all, it’s where we spend so much of our time preparing meals, spending family time, dining with friends and relaxing after a hard day’s work.

But before you get the paintbrush out and transform your kitchen walls and cabinets or decide on a whole kitchen redesign, let’s explore some pros and cons. Let’s face it, painting your kitchen black is a daring choice indeed and you want to be absolutely certain you’re doing the right thing before you boldly go where no interiors scheme of yours has gone before.

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What are the pros of painting your kitchen black?

You may not have believed it in a million years but a black kitchen can be an incredibly cosy, comfy and intimate space to be in. The dark colour palette draws the room in, almost like it’s cocooning you in its inky embrace. No white gloss kitchen or pale neutral colour scheme could ever compete with that.

There is no doubt that black adds elegance, sophistication and an air of mystery to interior spaces. Add a whole new dimension to a functional area like a kitchen or kitchen/diner by imbuing it with a sense of curiosity and intrigue, endless interest and bags of personality. “When you go dark, you suddenly create this vibe that almost exaggerates cosiness; you just want to hunker down and never want to leave,” explains Abigail Ahern, the Queen of Dark Interiors.

Just as white is considered a neutral shade, so is black. Using this non-colour will help you hide flaws and imperfections that you don’t want to draw attention to, almost as if you’re hiding them in plain sight and don’t even register that they’re there. That’s why black makes the perfect backdrop for other colours, textures and finishes.

Update your kitchen look with a modern black makeover and pair a jet black backdrop with brass, chrome or copper details on cabinet handles, fixtures and furnishings. Add contrast colours – saturated greens, blues and teals, bright pinks and vibrant oranges – on tiles, walls or soft furnishings and notice how black makes any colour really pop.

Kitchens get messy on a daily basis, that is a fact of home life, especially if you have small children. Black is an unbelievably forgiving colour that doesn’t draw attention to every bit of dirt. Paint your kitchen ebony, obsidian or pitch black and, unlike with paler shades, it won’t show wear and tear, spills and stains, dents and scratches and more.

If you’re a fan of the two-tone interiors trend in your kitchen, or monochrome colour palettes in general, black is definitely your best friend. One very current and very elegant look is to fit base units in black and contrast with lighter, or even bright white, wall cabinets to achieve a balanced look in the room.

Choosing a black kitchen is undeniably a very contemporary choice. However, the colour works equally well in traditional settings and can look truly stunning, whether as a matte or high gloss kitchen and particularly when cleverly contrasted with materials such as glass, metallics and wood.

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What are the cons of painting your kitchen black?

Whether you’ve decided to paint your existing kitchen or install black cabinets as part of your kitchen redesign, a word of caution may be advised. Black on its own can be intense, so make sure there’s something else going on in the space to dilute the potentially draining effect of funereal black. Picking out some brightness in the décor, hardware or soft furnishings may be all it takes to restore the balance. 

Black and similarly dark interiors schemes have been known to ‘swallow’ natural daylight. This may not be a problem if you have a light and airy kitchen/diner with a skylight above and bi-fold doors onto a sunny patio. But to make the look work in smaller or darker spaces, it is imperative that you inject as much artificial light as possible. Use ambient, task and accent lighting liberally to brighten any dark areas and highlight decorative features, and use reflective surfaces to bounce the light around the room.

Kitchens must be hygienic spaces, and whether your surfaces are black, white or any colour in between, regular cleaning remains a non-negotiable kitchen chore. And while black may not show the dirt as much as lighter colours, you may still notice water spillages, dust and food particles, not to mention fingerprints, all of which require constant vigilance and attention. There’s no getting around the fact that black kitchens get dirty too.

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So, what’s the answer?

Black is chic, elegant and a perennial favourite in fashion and interiors. And if the current popularity is anything to go by, it’s a timeless trend that isn’t going to disappear anytime soon, which makes an investment into a black interiors scheme a safe bet.

And don’t think that you have to restrict dark colour palettes to bedrooms and studies. This is a versatile choice for every room in the house including bathrooms and kitchens. When done with intention, a black kitchen makes a dramatic and elegant style statement that’s very now. Black as a neutral brings depth and richness to your décor, although it does depend on how you use it and how much of it you use. If you’re curious, there’s only one thing to do: be confident and go for it. Once you’ve experienced black, there’s no going back!

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