Why Black Can Sometimes Feel Light and Make A Space Feel Larger

Yes, in design we usually use black to make things stand out, bring them closer visually, to create a luxury feel or to create contrast. But black should be treated differently to other dark colours, especially in an interior.

So how can you use black in an interior to make a space feel larger?

Black actually gives you the impression or feeling of more space or infinite space, but don’t be fooled other dark colours don’t do this. Having a husband who is a an online guitar teacher and full time musician, I have many a random black painted wall in my home (and have done, ever since we moved in together). So I have had a long lasting relationship with black! (I sit here writing this morning’s blog post from my bed in my unfinished / un-renovated bedroom with random black walls set up for recordings).

Lets use the combined living / dining / kitchen from the Battersea Flat as an example. In this room, if we had used any other colour, light or dark, we might have accentuated the tunnel like effect of the room. Notice that the black units of the kitchen are there, but instead of feeling overpowering, they just fade away.

It was difficult to photograph a small space, so we used a wide angle lens when taking the photos, which helps explain what I mean a little, because it gives you the feeling of the black “surface”, which kind of disappears when you are in the room.

In this instance I used high gloss black cabinets to bounce the light deeper into the space too, as it was a long narrow room that had lots of functions! The high gloss black also looked white during most of the day (say what?) Yes! The high gloss black works like a mirror, especially with direct light on it. In the area where it was close to the window, the whole window ended up being reflected again, deeper into the room, which created an even brighter space, especially during the day.

The depth that black can add is amazing. It tricks our eyes into feeling the space goes on forever and subconsciously helps you feel as though there is more space than there really is. I also find black to be really warming and calming. It is a really special “colour” to use in the home, but more than any other “colour” you will need to really consider the following when using black at home:

Texture (rough or smooth) – this will be extremely visible with black.

Finish (high gloss or matt) – this will make the end result look as though it is absorbing the space or reflecting it.

Quantity (focal point / accent or surface) – The black will fade away or draw your eye to something specific.

I have found many people feel really confident to use white at home, but I want to give you another very useful tool to add to your repertoire as I know you are interested in interiors and design. So start to test black with natural timbers, monochrome or muted colour schemes to start building your confidence to get to know black, rather than to avoid it. You really are missing out on a lot!


The photo on the right is one of the “work-in-progress” photos that you rarely get to see as most designers won’t share them (and I have to admit I was reluctant to as well!)  But this photo really shows how black reacts in different ways.  Look at the black TV (a high gloss black) and how different it reacts to the black textured mat on the wall behind or the soft sheen, texted black on the floor.

If you want to see some black interiors that I think have been created successfully, check out my Pinterest board called “Nice dark interiors”