How to use... black in a kitchen

Doubtful about using such a dark colour in the kitchen? Black can be bright, beautiful and super chic

Black tiled shelf and splashback with black lamp and wooden chopping boards

You might be doubtful about using such a dark colour at home, especially in a kitchen, but it can be bright, beautiful and super chic, here’s eight inspirational ways to go to the dark side in style.

1 Contain the black to a single island unit. In this way it’s more like a beautiful piece of sculpture than furniture. Complete the effect with a matt finish and handleless doors. Companies like Dada and Poliform Varenna have models that are very similar to this bespoke design.

Black kitchen island and pale wood dining table on grey concrete floor
This house on the Danish coast belongs to the founders of online home and accessories brand, Atelier Noir, so it’s not surprising that they favoured such a strong palette of concrete, pale wood and black in their home.
Photographer Jesper Ray. Production: Anja Boe/House of Pictures

2 Alternatively, make your storage units the big black statement. This homeowner balances the visual impact of his units with a white island unit, and a combination of white and black walls. This works well in his bright, top-lit space, where all black might have been too heavy.

Black kitchen with white island behind antique table and wire chairs
This kitchen is in an elegant apartment in Lyon in which the owner decorated whole rooms in his favourite colour, black. First featured in the February 2016 ‘Trends’ edition of ELLE Decoration.
Photography: Felix Forest/Living Inside

3 Combine storage and island in noir. Of course if you choose a unit that’s super slick and streamlined like this ‘Pure’ kitchen from Siematic, then you could do a double act of black, combining island unit and storage units. The white surrounds and oak parquet floor keep the balance. And a mirrored splashback is the ultimate in indulgence.

Minimalist black kitchen with black island on oak chevron floorboards
Sometimes style is about under statement. This ‘Pure’ kitchen by Siematic is so pared-back that it sits beautifully within a historic Parisian apartment. First featured in ELLE Decoration KItchens Volume 1.

4 Another option is to pair a storage unit finished in black frosted glass with an island in stainless steel, which echoes the stainless steel ovens proudly on show in this ‘Twelve’ kitchen from Varenna by Poliform, designed by Italian architect Carlo Colombo.

Black kitchen with steel island and high wooden dining table with bar stools
The ‘Twelve’ stainless steel and black frosted-glass kitchen with Barazza steel worktop by Carlo Colombo, from Poliform Varenna
Poliform Varenna

5 Divide dark units into a horizontal band of wall-mounted cabinets with a matching band of under-counter cupboards is another way to keep a black kitchen compact, yet just as striking. It’s also a very effective way to conceal all appliances — dishwasher, fridge, freezer — just choose machines that are designed to be integrated, and have doors made to fit. This cabinetry was bespoke designed by TFAD Architects.

Black galley kitchen behind wooden dining table with 8 black chairs
Architect and photographer Tom Ferguson used a bold palette of monochrome and wood in his kitchen. Featured in ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 2. For more details see link at end of post.
Tom Ferguson

6 In this glamorous kitchen, black is used as a foil to a slick contemporary scheme. The professional-looking stainless-steel units are warmed by the wood furniture and floor, and the dark walls acts as the perfect backdrop. Lights by Tom Dixon are an exemplary final finishing touch.

Black tulip dining table with walnut wishbone chairs and black pendant lighting
In this home in Berlin, slick, contemporary design and furnishings are tempered by subtle Asian influences. First featured in the March 2016 ‘New Future’ edition of ELLE Decoration.
Christian Schaulin

7 And remember, black doesn’t always have to be pure black, Here a very simple stainless steel kitchen takes on a whole new level of drama thanks to being surrounded by a greeny-black paint from the Swedish brand Flügger. As the homeowner puts it, ‘The colour is almost black, rather than true black. It’s much softer and warmer, an all-black space would have been too much.’ Additionally, she kept the walls matt and added coats of lacquer to the ceiling to achieve the high gloss.

Black kitchen with island, round table with 4 black chairs and black ceiling
An amazing greeny black conjured up magic in the home of interior designer Michala Jensen in Copenhagen. First featured in the January 2017 ‘Winter Living’ edition of ELLE Decoration.
Photographer: Birgitta Wolfgang/Sisters Agency. Styling: Pernille Vest

8 Hand-painted custom-cabinetry by the Swedish brand Kvänum has been finished in a rich greeny-black rather than pure black. ‘Obsidian Green’ from Little Greene is a good match. And the finishing touch? The green tones are picked up in the colour choice of the stone used for the splashback. This keeps everything coherent and superbly complementary. As does matching the furniture to the pale wood floor; and framing the whole in white.

Black kitchen with high ceilings and extra high storage
The storage units in the kitchen of this Stockholm apartment make good use of the high ceilings. Units by the Swedish brand Kvänum. Featured in ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 2.
Ebba Bonnier

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