Black may seem a risky decorating move, but as the stylish spaces of a new Lehi home prove, the payoff can be huge.

Center-Right: House of Jade Interiors’ Erin Morgan, Kirsten Kransen and Jamie Nash.


Remember when we were all afraid of the dark? More specifically: We trembled at the idea of decorating with sombre black. Not anymore. Black has stepped out of the shadows and has become a favorite among today’s top decorating trends. Forget dim and depressing. In the right hands, black turns dull to dramatic, bleak to chic. For proof, we present a family home recently completed by Murdock Builders and House of Jade Interiors. These pros collaborated to create a stylish, livable haven for homeowners who have a taste for the dark side.

Finesse the Finishes

That’s Clever: Designers used a black painted wall to camouflage the dark screen of a wall-hung TV.

The lower level’s high ceilings and abundant natural light gave the design team exactly what it needed to successfully use black as a way to satisfy the homeowners’ desire for a moody entertaining space. “When you have really good light, black works,” says designer Kirsten Kransen, who teamed  with  Erin Morgan and Jamie Nash. The design team chose assorted finishes to make the most of each dressed-in-black feature. “Eggshell gives the ceiling a little sheen to make the surface more interesting,” Kransen explains. The brick feature wall, on the other hand, boasts a matte finish. “Anything shiny would have made the brick look cheap,” says Kransen, noting how the material’s texture alters the paint color, delivering depth and dimension. No-sheen finishes also define the built-in cabinets, as well as the adjoining walls. Underfoot, the gleaming finish of dark-gray concrete floors help prevent the room from feeling dim or drab.

Team with White

“White and black are timeless, and we made sure there were elements of both in every room,” says Kransen, who painted most of the home’s walls white. “They create great contrast for the interior’s darker elements,” she says. Case in point, the bathroom’s black sunburst mirror “pops” against a stark white backdrop. “You can really appreciate its shape on white.” Room to room, the team altered the proportions of black and white to make each space feel unique, yet connected. “You want to create a thread but be mindful of the amount you use in each space,” Kransen suggests.

Warm it Up

That’s Clever: The design team selected Farrow & Ball’s “Railings” paint because of its blue undertones. “It is a little softer and less saturated than stark black, so it has more depth and dimension,” Kransen says.

“A black room may not be for everybody, but it can be really spectacular,” says Kransen, referencing the man’s office. Even wIth  black walls, the dark space is surprisingly inviting, cozy and not at all dull. “We introduced things that add warmth, including wood, greenery and organic materials,” Kransen explains. Each thoughtfully selected piece—from the custom wood desk and canvas-covered chairs to a hide rug and books covered in recycled white paper—helps prevent the daringly dark room from feeling dim or oppressive.

Pair with Color

“When you begin with black and white, any color you add becomes really noticeable,” says Kransen. “A little color goes a long way.”  Her client craved pink for her office, so the design team chose a blush tone to shape a soft, sophisticated look and featured it on only two chairs. The designers selected a leopard-print rug and black-and-white wallpaper to add pops of pattern. Then they delivered a shot of bling with a shimmering brass-based table. “Black is a great backdrop for all metallics,” Kransen explains. Black-framed doors help to ground the chic décor.

Keep it Simple

That’s Clever: Unlike a large, solid chandelier, the free-form, wire-and-bulb tentacle light fills the over-the-table space without adding bulk or blocking light.

“All black against all white” is how Kransen describes the eye-catching dining space. “Its super, super simple,” she says. The trick is to letting the lines and textures of the furnishings do the talking, she explains. The chairs’ quilted details, the tabletop’s glossy finish and the base’s wood grain all help give the everyday space a daring, dimensional look. An unruly, ultra-contemporary light fixture animates the room while bold, black window frames ground it with strong linear forms. “We didn’t add a rug or window coverings so the design’s simplicity could standout” Kransen says.

Black Beauties


Designers turn to textiles to capture the timeless, eye-catching beauty of black and white. 

From left to right: Cinema by Casamance; Talum by Christopher Farr/Cloth; Chesapeake by Peter Fasano; Nomadic Outdoor by Mokum; Nevins by Hinson by Donghia; Gentleman Pied de Poule by C&C Milano.



Black rails, glass panels, engineered white oak and gray-pinstripe carpeting come together to create a striking staircase, equal parts function and form.


Applied molding energizes a black wall, creating dimension and exaggerating the wall’s scale. “The molding expands the wall visually, making it look taller and wider,” Kransen says. What’s more, the molding creates shadows that are accentuated by sconces.


“I love this fabric,” says Kransen, who used a whimsical black-and-white bunny print to upholster the daughter’s daybed. The classic black-and-white combo allows this space to be lighthearted but prevents it from seeming silly.


The exterior’s carefully curated palette of materials defines the home’s design from the get-go. Black accents and white walls make a strong, somewhat graphic statement while elements of wood and gray tile help to warm and slightly soften the decidedly bold facade.


A wood hand chair and black fireplace orbs add surprising forms to the white-walled living room area.

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Brad Mee is the Editor-in-Chief of Utah Style & Design Magazine.