Bedroom can be beautiful dressed in black

DEAR DESIGNER: I have a decorating question for you. At some point I am hoping to redecorate our bedroom. I really like the black and white bedding with sage green accents. I was wondering what you thought about black on the walls? Too much? I have this whole idea in my head -- and when I picture it, it looks really cool -- but I don't know if it would actually look as good as it does in my head. Thanks. -- Mandi

DEAR MANDI: Well-executed black walls are dramatic and romantic, as seen in this featured room. In the past, black walls were associated with Gothic style, rebellion or depression. I'm thrilled that black walls are showing up in some incredible spaces, changing the stigma.

Rooms that are decorated with high-contrasting colors like black and white will generally feel ultra formal like a black tie event. They are said to provoke a reverent atmosphere.

Painting a wall (or walls) black can be a high-risk/high-reward venture. It can go terribly wrong if you aren't 100 percent committed to a good plan. But if you stick with your design to the last detail, it can be incredibly stunning. In true Las Vegas style, I say take the gamble after considering these tips.

Paint only one or two walls black unless your room is incredibly large and you have lots of windows that bring in natural light to break up the dark void. One or two walls are enough to give you an impressive dynamic. White and silver are two great contrasts to black and either will work on the existing walls.

Although black walls are most often seen in contemporary settings, they work just as brilliantly in a traditional setting when the balance of light and dark are executed properly.

In order to accomplish balance you will need to be diligent when choosing your furniture, draperies, bedding and trims. Highlight white walls with black draperies and white trim and vice versa. If your bed sits by the black wall, use predominately white bedding adding small accents of black.

Take note of the contrasting piping used on the chairs and headboard in this featured room. The added contrast on the solid white chairs allows this room to stay formal and true to plan.

In order to introduce sage green, find an accent fabric that has white, black and sage green along with a more intense green. Accents of deep and intense color will add a boost of interest and energy to your room, relaxing the formality.

For your headboard, consider a white or black upholstered headboard against the black wall. Stay away from light wood tones that will fight for attention. Consider using closet organizers so you won't need a dresser, and/or use dark, even black wood.

Use white moldings all around. This will include crown molding on the ceiling, baseboards, doors and door casings. The painted wood will frame your dark walls, taking your design to a level of sophistication fit for a dreamy master bedroom.

Use a matte paint finish and be sure your drywall is finished very smooth. Glossy paints and dark colors make drywall patches and inconsistencies more visible.

If your home is traditional, you might consider finding a black on black medallion print wallpaper to use on two walls, instead of paint. This will add elegance and warmth and will make a statement that says, "I am not afraid to try new things, but I haven't forgotten that the rest of my home is traditional."

Introduce silver, mirrors and crystal in your finishing touches. Light fixtures, picture frames and accessories with these elements will finish your room brilliantly. Bring in the intense color of your accent fabric (sage) in a dynamic picture that has the same depth of color.

Follow your heart and your vision, Mandi. If you get finished with your room and it didn't turn out quite as perfect as you envisioned, call in a professional to give you a few pointers. It's possible that a couple of small changes could make all the difference.

Cindy Payne is a certified interior designer with more than 25 years of experience, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, as well as a licensed contractor. E-mail questions to her at deardesigner@ or send them to her at Project Design Interiors, 2620 S. Maryland Parkway, Suite 189, Las Vegas, NV 89109. She can be reached online at