Paint It Black: The Glory of Dark Interiors

As Mick Jagger first sang back in 1966, he sees a red door and he wants it … you know the rest. I believe we should ignore the metaphor and take him literally.

Photo by Will Falize

Designers like Leanne “WEAR BLACK, PAINT WHITE” Ford remind us that “white is the color that makes everything else pop,” and I hear that. In a space like this one (by Florida-based designer Bea Pila), a pale area rug and creamy sofa are clever backdrops for oversaturated accent pieces. My eye, on the other hand, goes straight to that licorice whip of an accent wall. It’s like a portal to a dimension where everything is sexie.


In fact, Leanne knows what I’m talking about. This magnificent stairwell and sitting area — which she dreamed up — make me want to call up my two witchiest friends and make predictions about Macbeth all night. But sure, white is dreamy, I guess.


Coco Chanel made a number of questionable life choices, but her aesthetic instincts were near-unimpeachable. “I imposed black,” she is said to have stated, “[and] it is still going strong today, for black wipes out everything else around.” It is quite literally a blank slate, ready for anything.

Photo by Regan Wood

I am big enough to admit that my own instincts are less consistent: My husband and I spent several years in a bedroom I’d insisted on painting the color of the Incredible Hulk’s comic-book skin. It was (figuratively) a dark time, and when we finally hid that bilious green beneath several coats of café-au-lait beige, we could almost feel our blood pressure creeping back down.

Photo by Nicole Franzen | Architecture by Martha Picciotti of Picciotti Design

But — there is a but — we went bold again a few years after that, in a new bedroom. I fell in love with Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe, a deep, velvety grey that feels like a supportive hug from Stevie Nicks. Our walls have been near-black for almost a decade now, and I sleep like a baby nestled between them.

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Lauren Oster

Lauren is a contributing writer to After spending the first years of her career at Redbook , covering everything from entertainment and entertaining to health and travel, she now covers those beats (and contributes personal essays and pop culture pieces) around the web and in print. You can find some of her recent clips here .

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