Reader Design Dilemma: Black in a girl's room

I recently got an email that went a little something like this:

I have a perfect Reader Dilemma for you: The kids decided to switch back to each having their own room, and my 5-year-old is over-the-moon excited about painting her room BLACK.  Right now, it's the perfect shade of age neutral green.  Her idea is that if the room is pitch black, silver stars would show up better.  Do I let her do it, or talk her out of it?!

The reader was taken aback when I said, Do it!

Here's how:


Take the edge off the black with lots of natural tones and natural materials:  an antique pine dresser; linen headboard, lampshade and curtains; woven rattan swing chair; and sisal or jute rug.  

Then add in some modern shapes, like a simple round mirror, a geometric white lamp, and a retro-modern flushmount fixture (the little perforations mimic the stars on the ceiling).

To make it fun and youthful, add color and whimsy in bedding, accessories, and art.


As another tack, double down on the boldness of black walls with graphic patterns and strong solid colors.  

Make sure you mix static patterns (stripes, ribbon trim, chevron) with those that have movement (the star wallpaper on the ceiling, the floral bed and floral elephant print).

To keep it from getting too crazy, take your palette from one print (in this case the bed fabric), drawing a couple of the colors out in solids (pink chair, chartreuse lighting).

Finally, keep the shapes simple and streamlined, and keep it real with one or two natural materials--here, the flokati rug and wood dresser.


Finally, for the girly girl, a different kind of drama.  Instead of stars, use a gold leaf pen to draw constellations on the ceiling (think grand Central Station), then repeat glamorous gold around the room (mirror, chandelier, throw pillow, accent table.)

Match the drama of black with dramatic pieces, like a four poster bed, overdyed rug, and black velvet chairs.

Ivory bedding and curtains with voluminous ruffles break up the darkness and add more than a dash of romance.  Tie it together with little details: the black edge to the curtains, the stars falling in the background of the art nouveau print.

Have I convinced you?  Would you dare try black walls in a girls' room?

If you want another blogger's take on black--in a nursery!--check this out.