I Painted My Kitchen Black. Here’s What I Think About It Four Months Later.

published Mar 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Dana McMahan)

Dark and moody paint colors are so delicious when you stumble on them on Instagram or Pinterest. They certainly lured me in to the world of deep, saturated hues, after a few years of neutral (but ever-deepening) grays. It wasn’t long before I fell in love with the soft black of Railings by Farrow & Ball.

In the way you find something you like and then keep seeing it, black walls were suddenly everywhere I looked — even my favorite local coffee shop. With a total kitchen remodel underway last summer, I knew there could be no other color for me but that inky, sultry shade.

Well, the F&B dream didn’t last once I found out I can’t get it where I live (plus, those prices!). But after testing a color-match from my local paint shop and much deliberation between two similar Benjamin Moore colors, I chose Soot by Benjamin Moore for the kitchen of our 1890 home. And to quote Buddy the Elf, I’m in love, I’m in love, I don’t care who knows it!

Yes, from the first lick of paint on the nearly 130-year-old plaster walls, I was positively smitten. We opted to paint everything Soot — the walls, baseboard, fireplace mantel (yep, there’s a fireplace in the kitchen because: Victorian), window trim and sashes, chair rail and crown molding, and the door to the dining room. With a color so very dramatic, I wanted to minimize the many things happening with all those accoutrements. We used Regal Select Eggshell on the walls and Pearl finish on all the trim for just the slightest difference in sheen (mostly to make the trim a little easier to clean dog hair off of).

Not everyone seemed to be a fan when I told them my plan. I got the typical comment from a handful of folks: “Won’t your kitchen look smaller if you paint it so dark?” With two eight-foot-tall windows (one with western light), not to mention three doorways, the room is flooded with light, so I didn’t worry about that. I didn’t care what anyone else thought. And I’m glad that I trusted my gut because, now, I smile every time I walk in and see this room.

The color changes and shifts dramatically from morning to afternoon to evening, so each time I see it, it’s different. But it’s always absolutely, deliciously gorgeous and still, months later, I often just sit at the counter and look around and smile.

(Image credit: Dana McMahan)

I haven’t had a second thought about the color. It makes the brass fixtures pop, it makes the Ferrari red of the Bertazzoni range absolutely blaze, and it lets the other appliances in black stainless (which I wouldn’t do again, but that’s another post), and the plate racks recede for a cleaner look.

A few white elements soften the intensity of all that black: the island counter is white quartz with ribbons of gold and gray, the plantation shutters are a pearl white, and a couple of lower cabinets and the stove’s backsplash are a crisp white. And the just-refinished original heart pine floors and an exposed brick wall warm it all up. I truly can’t picture the kitchen in any color other than this.

(Image credit: Dana McMahan)

Are there downfalls? Well, I may have seriously limited the number of people who would want to buy the house, should we decide to sell. An all-black kitchen isn’t for everyone. But I didn’t do it for everyone, I did it for me. And it does show dust and dirt (which there’s a lot of, thanks to exposed brick that never stops shedding, and two dogs), which can be good or bad — it forces us to stay on top of keeping it clean. But honestly, four months later, I love my kitchen noir as much, if not more, than the day it was finished.

Would you ever paint your kitchen black? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

(Image credit: The Kitchn)