a touch of black

Way back when we bought our first home in Westport, Connecticut, I knew absolutely nothing about decorating.  My poor husband had to live through a peach sofa in our first apartment and pink and white balloon shades in the master bedroom in our Connecticut house. As if those weren’t bad enough, I purchased pink and green Laura Ashley rugs to put next to our bed. I took cute and cottagey to a whole new level.  It’s a wonder we are still married.

My mom owned a shop in Florida with a partner named Dorothy, who had been an interior designer. Everything in the store was pink and green.  I was able to go along with them on a buying trip to purchase some furniture for our new CT home,  and of course I heeded the designer’s advice…hence we lived in a very pink and green abode. While I have since purged the pink and green decor and developed my own style, there is one piece of advice that she gave me which at the time I ignored. She told me every room could benefit from a touch of black. Yuck, I thought. I didn’t want any black in my pink and green cottage!

Eventually, black started creeping into our home… a pair of antique black chairs in our entry, black candles on the mantle and vintage black picture frames. I began to understand how a bit of black could offset all that pink and green sweetness and provide some much needed contrast.

Fast forward 20 years, and a move to The Golden State. You all know by now how much I love white….walls, linens, furniture, accessories, you name it!  But even in our bright white Little Glass House, I have incorporated touches of black.

Here are just a few simple ways to add black in your own home even if you love light or bright colors.

In the kitchen, a simple black mat (soft under foot) and a striped dish towel tone down all the pretty minty green.

a touch of black
Even the black metal legs on the stool contrast with the all white island.

All of our homes past and present have a simple black chalk board. I love it’s contrast against the white walls and it’s useful!

a touch of black
Chalkboards are an easy touch of black and great for making to do lists.

Black and white photos can look great alone or as a grouping and are an easy way to add some black to your decor.

a touch of black
This photo by Tessa Neustadt is crisp and the palms are so California.
a touch of black
Black and white family photos framed alike and in a grouping can make a big impact


Our simple white brick fireplace really stands out with a fresh coat of black paint on the inside, taking it from drab to wow!

a touch of black
Black paint it an easy fix!

Black accessories, small or large, and furniture can make quite an impact…

a touch of black
Black and white pillows by Beth Dana look fresh against green throws.
a touch of black
A black belly basket from Greige Designs looks striking against large green leaves.
a touch of black
A simple antique box in an otherwise white room adds some contrast.
a touch of black
I love the pizazz the black and white dresser lends to the bedroom.
A black mirror and lamp stand out among all the blue accents in a beach condo.
a touch of black
A sleek simple almost black metal table adds a nice touch to the warm wood tones in our CT entry hall.
a touch of black
Simple black sconces and black chains on the hanging pendants are all that is needed to add a bit of flair in a beach house dining room.

Table settings can also look fresh and bold with black touches…

a touch of black
Black lanterns and a black striped linen runner make for a simple but bold table.
a touch of black
One of my favorite table settings had small black pots brimming with bright green wheat grass… a lot of impact with very little effort.

My mom also loves white and both of my parents homes are white inside and out. I convinced my mom that their newly built Vermont farmhouse would look amazing with a black front door. Hesitant at first, she pulled the trigger and we all love it…especially in the summer when it is wide open!

a touch of black
I love the touches of black in my parents entry hall and especially the black front door!

So whether you love all white spaces or a lot of color, every room can benefit from a touch of black!

8 thoughts on “a touch of black

  1. You know Elizabeth, besides your helpful interesting content, I love that we don’t have to click on anything to keep reading and no pop-ups! Your posts are so clean if you know what I mean. Never change 😇

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great advice and such beautiful examples of your work, Elizabeth! I particularly love the gallery wall of black and white family photos… a handsome family, you guys look like movie stars!!!! xo, Eva

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Eva for your feedback and sweet compliment. I had to chuckle though because those photos were taken on Nantucket 20 years ago! 🙂 I’m glad we USED to look like movie stars!! 😉


  4. Thank you for sharing! Although black is a classic accent for white, I think a little splash of color is good to add to rooms as well. I see that trends lately have been going towards white, airy rooms without color. Black is a good accent, but I’d love to see more color in rooms to give it life and feeling.


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