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Women know about the power of the LBD—“Little Black Dress.” It can be relied upon for any function, casual or fancy. Many of us feel black is our best color when it comes to dressing. It’s versatile and universally flattering.

And just as black isn’t just for funerals, so it isn’t just for manly touches or a tiny accent in a home. In fact, home décor using black is trendy right now. It is powerful and stylish, statement making and adds refined sophistication when used properly.

A popular use of black in décor is similar to fashion styles in dressing: color block combinations with white. Try a black table with white chairs, black shiny or lacquered painted walls with a white ceiling, a black forged iron chandelier, a white table, a black sofa with white pillows and/or walls.

And think of a Parisian café’s black and white tiled floor or other graphic tiles. Or paint black or dark gray above white wainscoting to add both style and drama to a small room, without overwhelming it.

If you are lucky enough to have an old-fashioned footed tub, why not paint the base black and leave the trim white? Or if you have white walls, consider painting the trim, moldings, archways, window frames, or interior doors in black.

Black-and-white stripes are classic. Whether skinny or fat (awning stripe), a stripe can be used in window treatments, wallpaper (or paint), or upholstery.

Who wouldn’t love the black-and-white look in virtually any room in the house?

Black mixes well with almost anything. It goes with the steel used in industrial décor as well as modern brightly colored artwork. It goes with antique gilded furnishings, brass, silver mirrors and accents, copper and elegant glass chandeliers. Black also pairs beautifully with yellow and red. Maybe you haven’t thought about it that way before, but black is as adaptable an accompaniment as white. The combinations are endless, chic and timeless.

And before you start thinking it is too maudlin, just as white comes in many “shades,” so does black. There is “graphite,” “jet,” “midnight blue,” “onyx” “outer space”, and “raisin black,” among others. Using charcoal instead of a true black lessens the “black” while still having the same dark drama.

Black kitchen cabinets are a great idea. They pair well with stainless steel appliances or a brush metal or marble countertop, and look great with say, a bright yellow backsplash or gray kitchen counter stools. Or, simply do your backsplash in black—its very dramatic! Likewise, black countertops with white kitchen cabinets are also a hit.

A “light” black wall, such as graphite, is a perfect backdrop for black and white photographs. Just be sure to add a bright color as an accent somewhere in the room.

Chalkboard is another way to use black in a room. It is especially fun in a child’s room or a kitchen. Or, you can use it to stencil on a patterned design in chalk or paint, rather than wallpaper. You can obtain a chalkboard wall by spray painting a wall with it with DIY Cut Ruby by Valspar, for example.

Black is also a great backdrop to showcase china and collectibles on the back of a cabinet or bookcase alone, or on another surface on which you display your treasures.

Black goes with everything. It’s your LBD for the house!

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Deborah Macdonald is the owner of Textured Design Napa. Contact her at 707.255.0246, Deborah@textureddesignnapa.com, www.textureddesignnapa.com.

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