Back to BLACK

Let’s get back to the basics…of Black.

Although it may seem like a pretty upfront kind of colour, Black isn’t just Black. Similar to its yang counterpart, White, that has thousands of shades and can look like every other colour except WHITE, the way we see Black will largely depend on its undertones, surrounding colours and the light that illuminate it. So, unlike that one LBD that’s equally perfect for date night, board meetings, or running errands, using Black in our homes needs a bit more of our attention and consideration.

In its simplest form, Black is made up of equal parts Yellow, Blue, and Red. Every other nuanced hue is achieved by tinkering with this recipe using primary, secondary and tertiary colours. By adding a bit of green or a tad of orange, undertones are created…and there’s the rub! Undertones are moody and change their appearances depending on who shows up to the party.

As an example, these three Blacks from Benjamin Moore are neutral (relatively equal parts Yellow, Blue, Red) and look quite similar next to each other and against a White background. But once we place them on top of Maple flooring, they seem to temper down to dark greys. That’s because the red tone in the flooring overpowers the red in the Blacks.

Black paint dollops
Black Paint dollops on Maple flooring

To counteract the red tone in the flooring, you need Blacks with Green undertones or even very dark Greens, like the ones below. Here you can see that the deep, rich hue of the colours still comes through when we place them on top of Maple flooring.

Black paint dollops
Black paint dollops on Maple flooring

So, what does this all mean for our interiors (and exteriors)? First, it means that you need to look at your space to see what colours and undertones are showing up to play. Then determine if you want to accentuate or balance these out. To accentuate, use a Black with similar undertones and to balance out, use a Black with undertones that lie opposite on the colour wheel (if you didn’t memorize this one in elementary school, don’t fret – Google will help you find one). And there you go; you’ve completed the first step in determining the right Black for your space!!

Of course, to get the designer look you want, make sure to complement this step with choosing a paint with the right LRV (Light Reflective Value) to match the style and feel you want to achieve. If you need a bit of a refresher on what LRV is and why it matters, keep an eye out on future posts.

Easy peasy, right?!

Hopefully you’re jazzed about all this new information and feel armed to tackle your project. But if I lost you at “Black is made up of equal parts Yellow, Blue, and Red”, then head on over to our Contact page and book a Discovery Call for a Colour Consultation or Design Services for your upcoming project!

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