By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News
If you know my nickname is “Mr. Color,” this might surprise you: I think a room with black walls can be beautiful as well as dramatic and cozy.
For many years, I have embraced a look of comfortable glamour, whether we’re asked to created traditional or contemporary designs. And black-walled rooms fit nicely into both of those categories. They are always in vogue.
Black works as a terrific background for rooms furnished with sweeping white-leather-covered sofas and other pieces that evoke what I call the Knoll look. Go Google “Knoll” and you will find image after image of furnishings by the famous manufacturer of modern and contemporary furniture. Knoll classics are sought-after and beloved. I have always been a fan of the Barcelona chair in bright cherry-red leather.
Back in my school days, I was seated in many a schoolroom with walls covered in blackboards, on which we scribbled words and numbers in white chalk. Today, I paint drawing-room walls black with trim in white semi-gloss enamel.
Let’s imagine a dramatic drawing room scheme in which the walls are painted black or covered with a black textured vinyl wallcovering — or even upholstered in a black damask.
In the black room, paint the ceiling aqua blue and all doors and all of the contrasting trim, including doors and chair-rails, in the white semi-gloss enamel. For your sofa fabric, look for a flowery chintz of lavenders, pinks, reds and greens on a black background.
Above your sofa, hang a gold-leafed mirror with an elaborately carved frame. Flank the mirror with gold-leafed candle sconces, a pair that has not been electrified. Candle glow on your dramatic black room walls will make the atmosphere even more inviting for you and your guests.
Hang family portraits on the walls in the room and make certain they have picture lights. I really like the convenient battery-powered versions available today.
For a coffee-and-drinks table to sit in front of your chintz-covered sofa, my choice would be a long glass-topped version with bronze or brass legs and frame.
Cover your lounge-style pull-up chairs in a fabric with 2-inch-wide stripes in black and white. Place the chairs beside mirrored tables that will double as your sofa end tables.
And for the drapery treatment at your windows, choose a light lilac silk moiré edged in a black-and-white braided trim.
To add the final touches to your very dramatic black drawing room, throw a cherry red blanket over the back of your sofa, which you will have accessorized with lavender moiré pillows.
With your Hollywood-glamour room, you’re sure to be ready for your close-up.