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Embracing Matte Black In Décor

This autumn, while supervising an interior photo shoot, I got to experience black in a world of white. In a wonderfully mid-century meets contemporary Southampton home I witnessed the glory of black interior doors first hand, something I had only read about before. The designer had taken a leap and it had paid off. The shoot got me thinking a lot about black. Lo and behold I picked up the January issue of Style At Home, nicely refreshed from a relaxing unplugged December, and you know what I noticed on almost every page? I will give you a hint: It wasn’t a black door, but it was matte black décor. Black. Black. Black, popping up tucked in corners, on tabletops, and walls. A subtle, yet recurring theme.


Fluted Black Deep Plate /

White homes, white walls, white kitchens, pale neutrals and shiny golds and brasses, rich bohemian patterns—these are the colours everyone seems to be in love with. How long has the white kitchen been The Look? A long time. 10+ years. The white kitchen might be here to stay, but you know what goes great with white? Yep, black. I have some ideas on how matte black décor can become a really amazing element of your style.

Tips For Using Matte Black Décor In Your Home

  • Layering blacks with neutral pieces like woods and clear glasses gives a clean contemporary look an old-meets-new feel.
  • Chalky black kitchen chairs are a rich textural alternative to the average factory-finish dining set.
  • A black fabric headboard for a bed is bold.
  • Paint that fireplace brick black instead of popular white to add spice to your room.
  • Black and white geometric pillows interspersed with your other sofa cushions can elevate the look. Use them to refresh brown leather furniture.
  • Matte black light fixtures are quite striking.

Who needs a pop of colour when you can have a pop of black. It’s a great counterpoint to enliven a white space, while still maintaining neutrality. On the other hand, the complete absence or absorption of light is an essential balance for a colourful home.


Dawnson Lateral File Cabinet /

I love matte black accents for a couple reasons. Mostly because black is edgy, moody and incredibly sharp, especially in combination with a home that is styled in whites and light neutrals. I like things edgy. But, there’s something about matte black that is both racy and soothing. Matte blacks are rich and deep; you really can’t go wrong. While super glossy blacks are certainly luxe, there’s a special level of sophistication that matte black offers. I believe this happens because the colour remains as bold as ever, but the lack of lustre gives the black décor an understated appearance.

In general I really enjoy matte finishes, so I’m not surprised by how much I am drawn to matte black. When we painted our home recently I wanted so badly to use matte paint, but on the advice of one of the best interior designers I have worked with we went with common satin in order to maintain the functionality of our family home. When we are talking about smaller pieces than a wall, such as furniture, art and décor accents, scuffing is much less likely and a matte finish is therefore much more practical. I even achieved a super matte finish on our newly restored kitchen table by sanding the top with an extremely fine grit sandpaper.


Twenty One Two Designs / Tracey Ayton Photography

We often talk about function and looks with interior design. Sometimes we even use the word “feel” as a descriptor; how a piece makes us feel or how it feels in a room in relation to other objects. I’m very interested in how design can evoke passion. Nothing smacks of emotional depth to me quite so much as a statement focal point, like an antique hearth or ornate piano, painted matte black. Style is personal of course, so I might be alone in that. If there was one thing in my home that I would die to paint matte black it would be our antique upright piano. It’s a stunning piece of machinery, in both detailing and sound, and it’s the longing of my heart. But alas, if I did I would possibly be evicted and certainly cursed into eternal damnation by the pianist in our home, so I refrain.


I ripped this image of Rachel Bilson’s piano out from Lonny Magazine. Probably shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t stop myself.

The great thing about matte black is that it can be really easy to implement in your home. If you want, you can shop and buy, but if you like to re-purpose your décor a couple coats of black chalk paint, waxed but not buffed, will provide an amazing matte finish. I have some things in mind to paint myself. Sometimes though, especially with textiles—and oh how I love textiles—painting is perhaps not the best option (though you could try).

If you figured out today’s post before I published it, well kudos to you, you must follow The Crux design board on Pinterest. Sometime around midnight I went berserk pinning examples of matte black implemented into interior design effectively. There is a possibility I drank to much red wine. Some of the images are really inspiring and you can check them out on the board (linked at the bottom of this post), otherwise keep scrolling to find more images of matte black décor.

Have a great Tuesday!


Decorist via


Swell Modular LED Pendants / Pablo Designs


Dusen Dusen (L) and Margo Shelby Woven Block (R) /


Clockwise: Enigma Metal Pendant / Shoreditch Lighting; Chime Pendant / About Space; Yobo Vintage Pendant; Husk 550mm Pendant


Hanging Wire Pot Bracket With Black Clay Pot /



Maison Faux Slate Napkin Ring /


Handcrafted Matte Black Stool in Ash / Douglas and Bec

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  • Reply nolagirlatheart

    I am so glad black is back…I try to have something black in every room. So glad I am finally ahead of the trend….nice post!

    January 12, 2016 at 9:35 am
    • Reply Jenn Schleich

      Thanks Nola! Doesn’t it feel good when we read about something in design we already have a firm grasp on.

      January 12, 2016 at 9:37 am
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