The Second Parlor, Painted Black

The painting of the second parlor — it is done. Huzzah! And Emptying out the room to paint has been really good for helping me figure out how to arrange the furniture. The corner fireplace has been throwing me off, and the room has so many windows and large doorways that figuring things out took some trial and error. I think that the way I had it before, with the sofa, an armchair, and plans for two additional chairs felt a little crowded. (Good thing I was just using placeholders for those two chairs near the fireplace.)

Black Walls, Blue Sofa #makingitlovely

The color is Black Beauty, by Benjamin Moore in a matte finish. It’s a soft, warm black with more of a brown base than a blue one. I think it modernizes the house and all of its oak woodwork without fighting against it, and I love the way it turned out. The room’s three huge windows face south, so even with a dark color, it feels bright.

Black Walls with Candice Bergen Quote #makingitlovely

Black Walls and Wood Trim #makingitlovely

I ordered two tufted pink ottomans from Target, because when you see something good and cheap there, sometimes you have to just go ahead and buy it before it’s gone. (They are, of course, already sold out now.) I figured I could return them if I couldn’t find a spot for them, but that if I did find a place, I’d want a pair. They’re here and they’re cute, and I think I like them along the wall that previously had a very narrow console table against it. Actually, a console table over the ottomans would be great, but the one I had there won’t work — too narrow, and the base gets in the way.

Black Walls, Fiddle Leaf Fig #makingitlovely

The rest of the space is looking a little empty right now because I’m trying to bring in only what I know is going to stay. (This is a departure from my “let’s shove everything everywhere because I have a big, empty house to fill!” approach. You like?) The coffee table that was here is currently upstairs, and the rugs (two that were lined up end to end to seem larger) are rolled up temporarily. I think a really beautiful mirror could be a good addition to the room, either above the fireplace or in the adjacent corner. I just put together a collection of my favorites over here.

Below, either the floral chair or the colorful painting are staying, but not both. One or the other will move to the library-to-come, in the front parlor.

Black Walls and Colorful Accents #makingitlovely

Speaking of the library, the shelves are not in yet, but I am liking the view in so far with the black stripes of the antique sofa tying into the black walls. I also found a spot for my large botanical print, so more black, yay! Ha. Although I do have to say, I’m not minding the lack of color on the walls throughout the first floor as much now. Contrast is satisfying.

Double Parlor #makingitlovely

I’m even more excited now to get those shelves going. A wall of books is going to look amazing with these two spaces!

110 Responses to “The Second Parlor, Painted Black”

  1. xtaline March 5, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

    I never thought black would ever work in a wall! So pretty!

  2. jessie March 5, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    It’s gorgeous. Well done. I especially love the floral chair and the pink ottomans. Don’t move the chair-it seriously makes the room. I never liked that chair, but with the black walls to ground it, I now LOVE it.

  3. Clever Girl Reviews March 6, 2014 at 1:51 am #

    I love love love how it turned out! I love how it really makes all the colors pop!

  4. Amela March 6, 2014 at 4:08 am #

    Loving the colour scheme!

  5. erin March 6, 2014 at 5:49 am #

    I LOVE it!

  6. Silvia March 6, 2014 at 7:23 am #

    Hmm… I don’t like it. :-(
    It’s the wood trim, but you can either love it or hate it. There seems to be no inbetween. Sorry

  7. Amy March 6, 2014 at 7:35 am #

    It’s gorgeous! I have always been a big fan of black and am so happy to see how this turned out. I love that the pieces pop, and yet they work so well together that it seems natural. Love it! Great Job!

  8. Jill March 6, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    Sorry, I’m not a fan of this look, but it may be all that wood more than anything. I miss your old house and style ):

  9. Rachel March 6, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    Love it! I’m wondering if you’ll take down those shutters and go for fabric on(something breezy?) the windows, evetually?

  10. Mary March 6, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    I love the wall color with the wood trim but I no longer love the furniture :/ I loved the furniture before the room was painted. I find the furniture to be too cutesy/girly around this bold room. The hot pink benches look great against the black walls but the couch and pillows and chairs don’t do it for me anymore. I think if the couch were a navy blue, it would work as a nice contrast to the black walls.

    I’m excited to see this room come together though. Your taste is amazing and I am sure you’ll wow us in the end.

    Can you post updates on Eleanor’s room? I would love to see how that is coming along. Any ceiling updates for her room?

  11. Ilse March 6, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    Wow, I really LOVE how it turned out, it’s just such a gorgeous black. It still looks warm and cozy and I just love how it looks with the wood. Well done! Such a great idea!

  12. Sarah March 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    I love this! I liked your old house but I really love this! I can’t wait to see what you do with the library and dinning room! And the hallway! Do you know which colors you’re going to use yet?

  13. Sarah March 6, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    Also I think its awesome you’re preserving the wood trim on the first floor. With that said I think if you wanted to paint the trim inside the upstairs rooms you could totally do it!

  14. Dana March 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    Can you move the colorful painting to my house? Where is that from?

  15. erica March 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Well done, bravo! A cowhide rug might work well with the diagonal fireplace issue? Looking forward to seeing a large scale mirror above that fireplace!

  16. Melissa de la Fuente March 6, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    Absolutely gorgeous. I love how selective you are & then you find just the right thing. Love those ottomans and so fun seeing everything fall into place.

  17. erin @ House Envy March 7, 2014 at 5:31 am #

    the black walls with that blue couch are incredible!

  18. Sarah March 7, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    The black looks fantastic! Bold move and I love it.

  19. J Bagley March 7, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    Hi, Nicole,
    I love your site for so many reasons, but one is that you do not shy away from bold color on your walls. The room is so inviting. Your sense of style brings delightful surprises to enjoy in a relaxing way.

  20. Caris March 7, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    Wood + lots of color bursting = totally charming! The black walls did help in emphasizing the contents of the room. It feels so cozy and inviting!

  21. selena@howaboutcookie March 8, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    I’ve always been so envious of your way with color! This is gorgeous.

  22. Anto March 9, 2014 at 5:12 am #

    beautiful! Love the contrast between the sofa and the walls.

  23. kelly March 10, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    I love the walls but I really love the settee with black and white stripes. Did you have that redone? do you know the fabric name? I would love to get my hands on some!!

  24. Shavonda@AHomeFullOfColor March 17, 2014 at 1:39 am #

    I loooove black walls. Im a sucker for moody and this is absolutely stunning. The woodwork looks amazing against the black. You have no idea how refreshing it is to see someone NOT paint their walls white nowadays:) Thanks so much for sharing.

  25. Natalie March 19, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

    So unexpected and absolutely gorgeous – I love it!

  26. Stacia April 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    Hi Nicole! I know I am late to comment on this post but I thought of it as we are trying to pick our bedroom paint color. I live in Oak Park too and we just bought a little bungalow. I was thinking of going dark dark blue in our bedroom, but there is not nearly as much light there as you have in your parlor and it is a very small room. Would you recommend that for a bedroom? Or go with a lighter color? Thank you for all that you post about, it is always so inspiring to me, and congrats on the new little one!


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