If you are anything like I am, you will have visited countless hotels and wished your bedroom could be as lavish and inviting as theirs. Try as I might, I never seemed to be able to recreate that feeling of luxury and exuberance. Then recently whilst staying in a hotel that I don’t think I am allowed to mention (it begins with Mal and ends in Maison), it hit me what that magic ingredient was- black! Whilst homeowners – terrified of shrinking rooms- obsess about creating light and airy feel through the décor, hotels go all out for atmosphere and high drama. I suppose this is understandable, after all you have to live in your home and eventually sell it whereas a hotel has only a short time to grab your attention and impress you enough to stay again.
But whether it frightens you or not, that missing ingredient if you rooms lacks that bit of excitement and flair is black. I suppose it should have been obvious, black is the colour of the witching hour, it is the colour of mystery and the unknown. In the fifties it was the colour of rebellion as it took the form of the leather jacket. In the sixties we gazed upwards into a universe full of nothing but blackness as the space race took a grip of the whole world. Heavy Metal music adopted it in the seventies as a symbol of malevolence as did Mike Tyson in the 1980s when he famously would wear nothing but black in an attempt to build an aura of thrilling menace. It is unquestionable that black speaks to us in way others shades do not.
Ok so that is all well and good, but how do you use it on a domestic level without turning your home into a scene from an Iron Maiden video?
The key is contrast. Black against white, black against crimson or black against pink all look fantastic and really add punch to any surrounding. The material that you use is also vital, you should look to soften the depth of the colour by including surfaces that shine such as satin, silk or lacquered wood mixed with soft and tactile fabrics such as velvet and suede.
For those who are a little less brave, it is also possible to get the same affect from the deepest shades of other colours such as purple or blue. Midnight blue or deep violet both carry that same mix of luxury and the unknown but on a more subtle level (however my feeling is that it is the need for subtleness that prevented us all from getting hotel chic bedrooms in the first place!).
Remember in such a dark scheme, lighting becomes even more important so add a mix of large, black table lamps and small table lamps, spotlights, floor lights and up lighters. Mirror table lamps are particularly effective as they reflect light back into the room and appear to take up less space than regular lamps.
Give black a try, what’s the worst that could happen, you may have to paint over it again? The flip side of the coin is you may be able to charge extortionate nightly rates for your spare room!