Paint it black

Dark colours are making a come back in the interior design world right now – and they don’t come much darker than that old staple, black.

Dramatic and bold, black furniture makes a real statement and I always love getting a commission order to paint in this deep hue.

Surprisingly, just as with white, black comes in a wide range of shades, varying from soft charcoal to rich midnight black with undertones of blues, purples and greens.

It’s a forgiving colour to paint and can be used to mask any small imperfections on an item of furniture. But, equally, it really stands out against any backdrop.

One lovely client of mine decided to update her 70’s drinks sideboard, dining table and chairs, despite initial reservations from her friends. But this lady knows her mind and knew that black would look fabulous on the pieces and in her living space, so I got to work painting them.

Painting in black is strangely therapeutic, watching the dark shiny liquid coating a surface is just so rewarding, much more so, for me anyway, than any other colour.

Each commission I take on is different. Some are just so smooth and everything goes to plan, other times there will be some minor issue or other. This particular commission was a joy – except for the initial transportation of all the pieces. The sideboard and chairs were loaded into the van just fine, but the table was just a little too tall to fit out of my lady’s doors. We had to formulate a plan and it was decided that, rather than take the table to pieces, I would work on that in-situ, in my client’s lounge. My client is a fun-loving lady and it was nice seeing her each day, having a little chat and a laugh, while I got working on the table.

Meanwhile, back in my workshop work continued on her chairs and the sideboard. My client was thrilled with the results and eagerly invited her sceptical friends over to show them and to get their opinions. It was a resounding ‘Yes’ to the new look furniture from her group of friends, not that she was ever in any doubt.

Very recently I painted another couple of items, as a commission, in black. Another dining table and a console table.

The dining table was brand new, still in its box when it came in to me. We unpacked it, scratched our heads a little, feeling confused. The table was already black and had a lovely woodgrain finish to it. I had to contact my client again to double-check they really wanted me to paint it (always best to check these things when in doubt!) Yes, they wanted it painted. They loved the table design but had always wanted a deep dark matt black finish, the manufacturers only produced the table in a shiny soft charcoal finish, so I got to work immediately on the huge table to give them the finish they were after.

Console table in its ‘before’ condition

The same clients had found an old console table left in the house they had recently moved in to. It was tatty but a lovely piece of furniture and a great size for a hallway. They also wanted this painted in the same matt black. It needed some structural alternations as the front of it jutted out further, making it look a little odd, and it was very well worn and battered on the top, so needed a LOT of filling, but those alterations and repairs were done and it started taking shape. New drawer handles and castors were fitted and, of course, that all-important repaint in beautiful ‘Tempest Teapot’ black and the item was finished. It looked like a brand new piece.


‘Tempest Teapot’ is a deep, rich black with deep green undernotes, which can’t be seen in general light when the paint has dried, but when the paint was wet that green shone through and looked iridescent.

Both items went back to my clients, a lovely couple who were new to the area of Southend. They loved their ‘new’ items and have promised to send me photos of them, in-situ, as soon as their renovation and decorating plans are all done and finished.

Yes, black is a bold and daring colour on furniture, but it’s definitely good to go bold and daring at times.

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