Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I Painted a Wall Black! (And I Love It.)

You know, normal people decorate their homes for the holidays and just focus on that this time of year, right? I am not normal. We know this. I get this weird urge to tackle lots of projects that I most certainly do not have the time to tackle. I do the same thing at other busy times -- before school starts, before we leave town on a trip -- it never fails.

Well, I'm doing it again. I have big plans in store for the staircase next year -- I've been wanting to do go dramatic with the wall treatment and with the paint color for some time now. I know I've said it a million times but I'm obsessed with contrast. I love light and bright spaces but the contrast between dark blue, gray or black and white trim makes me swoon.

So I've had this idea in mind for the stairs for some time and I decided to test it out with a smaller wall first -- our photo wall. The only reason I haven't done this yet is because I didn't think I'd be able to reach all the way up on the wall to paint -- it goes way up there (there are more frames you can't even see from this angle):
photo wall on staircase
Well I just said screw it and went for it. It took some interesting methods but by painting from the top and the bottom I got it done! 

These stairs have undergone quite a few projects but one thing has stayed throughout -- those frames. :) They are floating frames from Michael's. The photo sits in the middle and lets the wall color come through as the "mat" -- I've filled them with pictures of the kids and our grand baby (my stepdaughter's son) through the years. It is my FAVORITE wall in our house and I love that it's a focal point when you walk in. 

But I was craving a bit-o drama, so paint it I did. I tackled this late one night so used paint we already had -- it's a very dark gray called Graphite (Benjamin Moore that I have mixed in Sherwin Williams) that I use on our interior doors. I was nervous, not gonna lie. But I knew after the first coat I was going to LOVE it: 
dark wall on staircase with photos
JUST what I was hoping for! I planned to spray the frames white and put them back up but I got lazy and just tried them out in their original black and loved them, so for now those will stay as is. 

I grabbed a wood mirror from the guest room to add some warmth (wood tones and dark colors are a favorite of mine too) and it turned out even better than I had hoped!:
dark staircase wall

Dark accents like this aren't for everyone, but if you love contrast as much as I do I encourage you to go for it!

This wall will be even more cohesive when I finish the walls in the staircase, but it already ties in so well with the black doors in our house:
black accent wall

I get a little ahead of myself sometimes -- sometimes I do that just to get motivated to keep going. I did that again by removing the wood squares I've had on the wall: 

In the meantime I'll patch and paint over where the wood was so at least it will look decent.

I've always felt like they were busy with the photo wall anyway, so I was glad to see them go. It was a little bittersweet though -- these squares were one of my very first DIY projects in our house. I think they've been up for 11 years now! If you got up close they were NOT good, but I left them up over the years because they were symbolic to me in a way. :) 

Here's what they looked like before: 
trim on tall staircase

I don't know when I start the next phase but as I'm sure you've guessed, it involves a ton of trim! I'm already dreading the painting part. Yikes. The stairs will get sanded down and stained the same color as our hardwoods too. (I did the stairs before we got the floors.)

I always dress our stairs for the holidays and the IKEA lanterns add the perfect pop of color:
lanterns on stairs Christmas

Does anyone know if they still carry these? I need one more and of course I was just there a couple weeks ago. I don't remember seeing them but I wasn't looking. 

They are so sweet -- the little stars etched into the sides throw the design on the wall, and the star cut outs on the top do the same at night: 
red lanterns IKEA
Love them! I used real candles for this but I will replace them with LED tealights -- I have some on a remote that will be easy to turn on and off.

I don't follow any decorating rules but there is one tip I say works beautifully -- add some black to your rooms. Especially in really light rooms, black grounds the space and makes for a nice focal point. It can be as simple as a black legs on a chair or something bigger like a wall. I find every time I do it I love it.

Have you gone dramatic on a wall? I did it in our bedroom as well and still love it. We get good natural light in this room so it works -- keep that in mind if you try this out in your house. I love contrast but a dark wall can feel heavy in an already dim room.

To see how much these stairs have changed over the years, check out these posts. Ripping the carpet off of them was one of my best decisions ever!

49 comments:

  1. Longtime fan, first time caller! The contrast of that wall is gorgeous! I adore the simplicity of your decorating style Sarah. A little can go a long way. P.S., the kitchen makeover is fabulous. I love everything about it.

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  2. I just recently painted a wall in my daughter's bedroom black (Carbon by Behr) and LOVE it! As I was doing it, I couldn't believe I was painting a wall black and it being in my daughter's bedroom no less. It's a great contrast to the lighter walls. I will admit that it was a Pinterest picture I saw that inspired it as the furniture and bedding were similar and as soon as I showed her, she was all YESSSSS! We just finished accessorizing the wall and it looks fantastic!

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  3. I love it! Looks amazing. Just checked the Ikea website. They have the lanterns but only found black and white, no red.

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  4. WOW, what a huge difference! It's looks SO good and now your making me want to paint a wall black!

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  5. I really love it. I like how wit ties in with the black in the kitchen too.

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  6. Love this look a lot. It's very dramatic. The only thing I don't like is the gold décor item you have up there with the frames. Think it would look better in a silver color.

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    1. Thanks! It's a wood mirror -- I love it in that tone with the black! :)

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    2. I disagree, and was going to comment how great it would look if some or all of the frames were painted gold. OR if just the corners of each frame were painted gold, I love that look. And I love the look of gold on black. :) I LOVE the wall and the contract, I'm a big contrast girl too!!

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    3. I like this idea. It made me remember my grandma's photo album. Black pages like construction paper & gold corners to hold black & white pictures in it. 1950's scrap booking! I lean toward silver now as I abused the gold decor phase 25 yrs ago!

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  7. I like it a lot! I can also see it in a very dark blue which might work better for those of us who are a little less adventurous. Now thinking where I could try this in my home, along with dark doors......

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  8. Love this Sarah! I'm a contrast girl too, so this is right up my alley. Very cool - really makes the photos pop! As for the lanterns, I have some (in white) that I bought a couple of years ago, but it was around July 4th - maybe they'll be around at that time of year? Not really helping, am I? ;-)

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    1. Who knows! I don't remember what month I bought them but I thought it was before Christmas? It was years ago though!

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  9. Sarah! Love your blog, your new kitchen and all you do...I read you religiously. Your new black wall is cool...i have an idea for you though. What if you took that silver mirror on the back wall of the stairs and hung it on the photo gallery wall going up the steps, then took all your photos and made a big gallery wall on the back wall of the stairs...a switcheroo...? I think the silver mirror would look better (besides I love that wood/gold mirror in your guest room) and then you would have more room for your photos. Stairs are tuff...I had a gallery wall on my stairs too and got tired of it cause if felt too busy to me, now it's just blank...hmmm, maybe I'll paint it black? : )

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    1. Thank for your thoughts! I love it as it is -- I love that we see the photos when we walk in the front door. :) I'm not adding anything to the back wall yet -- waiting till I get the whole thing done before I do anything else! (Most of the walls will be covered with trim so I'll wait to see how it works out.)

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  10. Wow. I thought I would hate it but it looks really good! The photos look much more 'artsy' for lack of a better word. I like the black frames because you then really see the photos, and they are c-u-t-e photos! Have fun with the rest of it!
    Jenn

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  11. Where did you get tea lights with a remote? Love the wall - I am still working up the courage to paint my doors. ��

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  12. I love the dark wall. I agree, it blends beautifully with your black doors.

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  13. Hi Sarah,
    I too am a lover of contrast and adore your entire home - this is another fabulous addition. The tealight lanterns are the Rotera style but I think they have discontinued them in the colours - I've seen a few on ebay though :)
    Maegan

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  14. Gonna be 100% honest and say I'm not a fan of the wood mirror on the wall (it looks really gold), but I LOVE the black wall! I've been contemplating painting our bedroom dark navy or black and you MAY have just pushed me over the edge :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. That's OK! It's not gold in person. The wood looks lovely with the black. :) Go for the dark wall!

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  15. I've been eyeing your stairwell "boxes" for several years. I have always wanted to do something like that in mine, but they have been blank for 8 years instead. I thought I would make 2 boxes, and fill with an arrangement of canvas photos or my kids' art. I'm curious to see what your next choice to fill the space will be. One of these years. ;)

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  16. This is sooo good! I've though about painting my interior doors black but never a wall. Hmmm, I wonder where I could sneak one in!

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  17. This is sooo good! I've though about painting my interior doors black but never a wall. Hmmm, I wonder where I could sneak one in!

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  18. I love the dark wall, but even MORE with the black frames!!! I would have never of thought to use black frames against such a dark wall..PERFECT!!! Happy Holidays!

    Paige.Rose
    from
    www.TheQuaintSanctuary.blogspot.com

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  19. I love it! I think dark grounds a room and actually makes it more relaxing because your eye has a place to rest. Good job :)

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  20. Okay...this is perfect. Like it was always meant to be this way! You made a great decision and I can't wait to see what else you have in store for this space.

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  21. Love it! I REALLY love your picture frames though. What color are the mats? Did you cut them yourself? They reveal so much of the photos!

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  22. The IKEA website only shows the white lanterns like those on the stairs at the West Chester (Cincinnati) IKEA. I live about 10 minutes away and may be running down there this evening (Thurs) and will look and let you know if they have red. Love the giant candy cane!

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  23. Wow the wall looks fantastic! I'd love to do that in our hallway as I've got an Art Deco theme going on which I think would fit in nicely but I'm not brave enough. Plus the other half would probably kill me!

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  24. When we moved into our house 12 years ago I painted the smallest bathroom on planet earth black. It has a full size tub, toilet, vanity with mirror and cab above the toilet. So it was all white. The few walls to paint, when painted black, actually made the room look larger! So I LOVE your black wall! It is such a fresh, clean look.

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    1. wow, That is a great idea! I have a itty bitty BR with pale yellow tile, green-mint-aqua blue trim. The tile looks better than the pink & baby blue in my main bath! I've just been living with them as we work our way thru living room, kitchen, bedroom updates.(ranch fixer upper). I'm going to do this today before hubby gets home! Thanks! ! !

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  25. It looks so good! I think black is such a scary colour to decorate with because it feels so much more permanent than any other colour & painting over it takes A LOT of work :P This is definitely black done right :)

    http://katelynmcphee.blogspot.ca

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  26. I love it. Now you have me thinking of where I can do this in my home. :-)

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  27. Let me say you are my favorite DIY blogger. Your energy level must be off the charts. I love the black wall - it's making me wish I had a stairway to do the same. However, I don't care for the black frames on the photos now. Without the frames providing reference, the photos come off looking like floating heads on the wall. Otherwise, you are the best. Thanks for all of your ideas - and the recent kitchen reno is just wonderful.

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  29. LOVE IT and have to admit that I also do little projects like that at night, too. I ask myself why I am doing that once I get started and it is soooo late, but in the morning, when I stand there with my cup of coffee, I just smile, knowing it is done!!! ENJOY!!!

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  30. Wow! This looks amazing and I am so glad you stayed with black frames! Yes the wood shows gold on the monitor and happy to hear it isn't! I have a small half bath that I plan to do white wood treatment on bottom with top a gray so dark it's almost black. First have to fix the toilet and build a new vanity and since those need to be done, I will tile or wood the floor. Always a chain of projects!

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  31. I love your black wall!! What a great idea. Those lanterns on the stairs are adorable, too!

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  32. I recently painted my dining room. Three walls are a really pretty creamy color and the fourth wall is very black. I absolutely love it!!! I get so many compliments, but even if no one else liked it, I will always love it. I love yours too.

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  33. Sarah, you are my DIY Guru because you actually build the changes to your home, not just prettify with small DIY. I'm not at all disparaging those other DIY bloggers because I love and follow many of those blogs as well. Nevertheless, what I've watched you accomplish in your home is beyond amazing to my mind. I'm surprised HGTV hasn't yet offered you your own show, which would be, to me, much more interesting and educational than some of their now redundant offerings with which I've become more than bored. I used to love HGTV because there was a mix of gardening, crafts, decor, and home remodeling DIY. I'd love more of the former and much less of House Hunters, blah, blah, blah...boring beyond belief. Been there, watched that, so over it. I'd love a fresh face, like yours, Sarah, showing me how to actually accomplish "real life" home projects by a non-professional, though everything you've accomplished looks more than professional. I must admit, however, I enjoy your little asides about not completely finishing projects immediately and the little glitches that you need to fix. Just like real life!

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  34. We just took the plunge this week and painted my daughter's room Inkwell by Sherwin Williams. I never imagined how much I would love it! Your wall looks great and I can't wait to see what you do with the rest of the stairwell!!

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  35. Looks great!! Love the wood with the dark wall almost adds warmth to it :). Love the Christmas stair set up so cute and festive. The black on black actually works really well! Loving the contrast, have I said love enough yet haha?

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor
    xx

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