Lately I am crushing on black outside. When I see it against all the green it reminds me of how good black, white and kelly green palettes look in interiors.
Image via Style at Home
But you have to be careful when introducing black, there’s a tipping point where suddenly the interior OR exterior is just TOO black.
So here are my do’s and dont’s for decorating with black:
DON’T CHOOSE BLACK AS YOUR NEW DEFAULT COLOUR
When you have a colour decision to make, DO NOT choose black, or charcoal, or brown as a default.
Some of us still remember all the black leather sofas and entertainment units from the 80s. We don’t want to make that mistake again.
There’s a reason why you may have heard this expression before “Every room needs a hit of black”. That’s because black is the darkest colour in the spectrum, so a little black goes a long way! There’s a fine line between using black as an accent colour and when you’ve gone too far and it totally overpowers the room.
You can literally FEEL when a room is too black, it immediately becomes too heavy and masculine.
When I decorated my living room in my last townhouse, I chose a black and white (but primarily) black fabric for a chair and ottoman. When it arrived, I hated it immediately.
With my black and white rug, the black and white outdoor set I had immediately outside my patio doors, black suddenly became the main colour in the room instead of an accent colour.
That chair and ottoman arrived Friday, on Monday, I shipped it right back to the upholster and ordered new green fabric.
I know I’ve said all this before. But I’ll keep saying it in future posts, because no matter how many times I say it, most people ignore me anyway. Not because they particularly want to ignore me, they just don’t know what other choice to make, so they go with the default, trendy neutral of the moment.
This is an example of too much black (above). You look at this room and it just feels heavy and dark. To my eye anyway.
Okay, so earlier this week, you saw some updates of my garden from the last 4 years when it was installed.
Since I was posting new photos of my garden, I decided to do a little refresh on my outdoor patio as well.
The only colour that is new on my deck is some small hits of black.
I have never been interested in adding a colour like orange or pink or yellow out here because I love that the soft greens and medium brown tones of the sectional and dining table and chairs simply blend into the rest of my garden.
I like that my garden is the focal point of my backyard.
One of my readers asked if I’d post about how my outdoor furniture has held up in the last 3 years since I bought it.
Well, it looks exactly the same.
However, my furniture is entirely covered all year round so I can’t tell you how it would look if it just sat outside in the rain and snow. And obviously the cushions go into storage for the winter.
This was my deck before I decided to add some hits of black.
Last weekend, I bought some pinstriped cushions (and they are indoor cushions because, as I mentioned, my furniture is totally covered). They are actually navy and white but if you blink twice they become black and white.
I brought my black and white bird lumbar cushion out from my family room and added a black pot with a white Kalanchoe.
My white hydrangeas are simply breathtaking this year.
My decorative grass (don’t remember what it’s called) is seriously amazing, I love the way it sparkles in the sun when the wind waves it around.
DO INTRODUCE STRIPES – THEY GO WITH EVERYTHING
Here’s a black and white striped patio (above), when I showed this photo to Terreeia, she said “We should drape our skinny little posts in curtains too!! Our patio cover was existing when we bought the house and we need a new deck before we can beef up the posts.
Anyway, I thought that was totally inspired, I am going to look into this for next year! I’ll keep you posted.
I picked up some diamond stamped black pots with some prolifically blooming white geraniums for the dining table from a local nursery. And the cone shells came from the Pottery Barn.
Photography by Maria Killam
Some of you might remember the pencil cactus in my Fall post on my family room, I saw it outside in Palm Springs this January when we were there for a month, so I decided it might like my deck in the summer.
The large coral on my console table is one of my favourite accessories.
DO IGNORE MY SIDING
Okay, see how my siding is a pinky taupe and notice that I have a natural fiber cushion in a more orange beige tone that relates to the teak coffee table and outdoor area rug?
Well, I have chosen to totally ignore the siding, and the reason I can get away with that is because my sectional is not sitting in a corner with the exterior siding on both sides. Mostly when you look at this corner of my deck, your eye is completely distracted with the tablescape and pillows and especially the garden.
So, if all else fails, and you have done the best you can, and your colours still aren’t perfect? Start styling to distract the eye, a good tablescape or pillowscape can hide a lot of colour dilemmas.
Are you inspired to add some black to your decor?
PS. My set of 25 Sherwin Williams large sample boards are back in stock! I have been getting a lot of requests to stock them again and you can buy them here on my shop page!