Homes & Design Photo Credit: Martin Tessler (left and centre) | Elaine Mark (right)

Trend Alert: Sleek and Sophisticated Black Kitchens

Designer Janette Ewen on the rise of black kitchens—and how to get this bold-but-versatile look at home.

If interior designer, and Hel-Mel tour guide, Janette Ewen could predict the future she’d tell you that black kitchens are about to be the next big thing: “I always say that there’s a design pendulum. If you want to figure out what the trends are going to be, look at what’s popular now and swing it the complete other way.”

Bright, airy (ahem, white) kitchens have been trending for a long time now—see some of our faves here and here—so if there’s any truth to Ewen’s pendulum theory, we can expect to see edgy and sophisticated black kitchens anytime now.

Sure, black may seem intimidating, but it’s time to embrace the dark side. Here’s how you can get the bold black look at home:

1. Treat It Like a Neutral

When you start incorporating other design elements you start to realize just how versatile the colour is, says the designer. “I find that black gives you the most flexibility when it comes to designing a space because it blends with almost everything,” (a.k.a. you have limitless styles to choose from).

Try mixed metals like bronze, copper and rose gold for a more industrial look, or add some greenery (“I’m obsessed with living walls.”) and wood accents for a West Coast feel—bamboo and plywood, according to Ewen, are another emerging kitchen trend.

Designer Looks We Love

Designer Majida Boga Devani paired black cabinetry and chairs with fun geometric tiles and reclaimed wood accents in her own Calgary kitchen (Photo: Jared Sych)
Designer Majida Boga Devani paired black cabinetry and chairs with fun geometric tiles and reclaimed wood accents in her own Calgary kitchen (Photo: Jared Sych).
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Up-to-the-ceiling black cabinetry gives this Rachel Gray-designed kitchen a clean, modern look (Photo: Martin Tessler).
Black cabinets and countertops create balance amongst the distressed-oak bar stools and diamond backsplash in this dark and dramatic kitchen from Atmosphere Interior Design (Photo: Elaine Mark)
Black cabinets and countertops create balance amongst the distressed-oak bar stools and diamond backsplash in this dark and dramatic kitchen from Atmosphere Interior Design (Photo: Elaine Mark).
All-around windows in this D’Arcy Jones kitchen keep this kitchen—Black pendant lights: Check! Dark faucets: Check! Sleek bar stools and dining chairs: Check!—from being too dark (Photo: Martin Tessler)
All-around windows in this D’Arcy Jones kitchen keep this West Coast kitchen—filled with black pendant lights, faucets and bar stools—from being too dark (Photo: Martin Tessler).

2. Plug It In

“You could do a black countertop or backsplash, but it’s totally doable with appliances as well,” Ewen suggests. LG, KitchenAid and Samsung are among the firsts to launch a black stainless steel collection: “The black stainless is a little more sophisticated than traditional stainless or the standard white fridge,” says Ewen. “I think it’s going to be what we see everyone getting in all their home appliances for probably the next 10-12 years.”

Ewen loves the auto body-like finish on the Samsung collection: “It’s a true black stainless.”
Ewen loves the auto body-like finish on the Samsung collection: “It’s a true black stainless.”

3. Accessorize

“If you want to bring in a trend, but don’t have a lot of budget, accessories are a great way to do it,” says Ewen. It’s important to take some design risks, too. “I think people were afraid for so long,” she says. “Beginning in the 90s everything needed to be beige and safe, but I think now people are starting to get their design confidence back. I can’t wait to see what people do.”

WL Picks: Black Kitchen Accessories

1. Foscarini Rock suspension light ($1028), grshop.com.
2. Matte black flatware set (starting at $39), westelm.ca.
3. Sidera chair ($399), cb2.com.
4. Chilewich pressed pebble placemat ($12), providehome.com.
5. Mille milk jug ($19), eq3.com.
6. Jars Tourron dinner plate ($40), crateandbarrel.com.

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