Black Makes A Comeback

Black Makes A Comeback

By Carleton Varney - Special To The Palm Beach Daily News

Black is back — and in a big way. The little black dress has been a classic for decades, and the fashionistas often shop in fine boutiques for sleek black business jackets to wear with pants. And where would a woman be without a black sequined evening dress for formal occasions?

Just as in fashion, black seems to be everywhere these days on the home-decorating scene. You’ll see it on walls and even ceilings, on drapery and upholstery fabrics, on refrigerators and furniture — and, of course, on contemporary picture frames. A black-lacquer frame surrounding a large photograph with a white mat is a gallery staple.

When I was in London a couple of months ago, one gallery exhibited etchings matted in off-gray but framed in black. It was such a crisp, elegant and modern look.

Gone, it seems, are the white-lacquer modern furniture pieces we’ve known for years. In their place I’m seeing black lacquer, a trend I expect to continue through 2020 and beyond.

At a New Year’s party I attended in London’s Mayfair district, I encountered a drawing room where black was the star. A textured black bamboo/raffia-like wallcovering accented trim and columns that had been given a faux-marbleized cream-and-white finish.

The drapery hanging from black-and-silvered wood poles was patterned with butterflies and birds on a black background — truly eye-catching — and the curtains were lined in a luxe gold satin.

On the black raffia carpeted floor sat two Chesterfield sofas covered in rich black velvet with a golden metallic thread pattern woven into the fabric. The gold thread was woven into flowers that included tulips and roses. Pillows of black shantung roped in gold trim made the sofas even more comfortable for sitting.

Rock-crystal lamps with black opaque shades striped in silver produced magical lighting effects in the room, as did a large 4-foot-wide chandelier hanging above; its crystals appeared to be black jewels.

Lending true majesty to the room was a fireplace mantle of gleaming black marble with a hearth of a golden marble. A Venetian mirror hung above the mantelpiece, on which sat a black-and-gold Regency clock.

Paint all the trim, the wainscoting and the doors and their frames a shiny black. Cover the walls above the wainscoting with a golden wall covering — maybe a Charles Gracie design with flowers and birds on gold-leafed paper.

Hang curtains of amber-gold-and-white silk fabric from black roles. On a black cut-pile rug, I’d place a white sofa accented with rich orange-silk cushions. Lamps might have bases of white rock crystal with silk shades lined in a soft orange.

For your other furniture, I’d like to see a mix of Asian pieces with glass-and-brass pieces. Hang colorful art on the walls and you’ve got a scheme of décor that uses black in a very Palm Beach way.

1 comment

  • Toby singleton on

    Great, informative info. Love reading your column.

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