My #1 Rule of Interior Styling: Use Black

I’m going to let you guys in on my die-hard/#1 rule of interior styling and staging. It’s something that I learned years ago from an interior designer in my family and I’ve ALWAYS followed it (thanks Norma!).

So here it is:  Every room must have one black item or décor piece.

Having a touch of black in a room anchors the eye. This is important.

It can be as small as a picture frame or it can be a more substantial piece of furniture like a coffee table or even a fireplace. No matter what the décor style or the colour scheme of the room, there must be at least one black piece in a room to anchor the eye.

Note the black used in this room – the black sofa really acts as a focal point in the room.

Turn your attention away from the black couch for a moment and you’ll notice that even when you look at the grey sectional, your eye is drawn to the black and white throw cushion.

Now, what really is "anchoring the eye"? Good question…I actually couldn’t find a definition for this term online, but I swear I didn’t make this up! So, I’ll explain what I mean as succinctly as I can. When you walk into a room your eye scans the room and your gaze goes from item to item – taking it all in. You will find that when there is an “anchoring piece” in the room – that black item that we talked about – your eye will stop roaming and it will rest on that piece. That’s a good thing! If your eye doesn’t have anything to rest on, the room can come across as busy or not as impactful as you had envisioned.

I follow this rule religiously. Whether it’s for decorating my own home, staging a room for a client, or doing a redesign, I always incorporate black – even if it’s just in very small doses.

In the room below, there are no black furniture pieces, so it will illustrate black as an accent to focus attention. When looking at this room, your eye is drawn to the black window coverings and black throw cushions.

This photo shows a small black accent table and the black in the throw cushion drawing focus when looking at the details of this vignette.

Trust me on this one – it’s relatively simple and doesn’t have to break the bank. Just add this one element to your interior style and it will make a big impression.


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