Help! My Kid Wants to Paint His Room Black

Black paint and accessories are a dark and scary thought for many parents. We faced our fears and mastered the art of black decor in this retro room.

Bold with Black

"Mom, I want to paint my room black." You can relax -- black bedrooms appeal because they're sophisticated and different. As self-expression becomes more important, kids -- especially tweens and teens -- search for ways to make a statement and stand out in a crowd. Help your noncomformist feel special (and make a statement everyone can live with by saying yes to black, at least in small doses. )

Everyone Will Love

Our kid- and parent-friendly bedroom pairs black chalkboard paint on the top portion of two walls with two bright colors, a zippy green and a serene sky blue. Other vibrant hues -- including pink, purple, and teal -- work equally well. Black paint and accessories pack lots of drama, while fresh, funky fabrics and a little heavy metal give the space plenty of punch.

Tone It Down

Use a wall in a contrasting color or two for visual relief when using black paint; think of it as a "power wall," working hard to bring color and light into a space. Here, one of the walls next to the bed is painted a cool-as-a-cucumber green. A stylish storage unit that allows the wall color to show through puts the "fun" in functional. Tying it all together are mod accessories, fun furniture, and an inexpensive metal chair rail that frames the space and provides a handy spot for posters, magnets, and other teen treasures.

Transition Peices

Sophisticated furniture, such as this three-tier glass table and metal bed, can later make an easy transition to dorm room, guest room, or first apartment.

Cool Accessories

Squiggles, stars, sunbursts, and other spunky patterns used on the bed and in the window treatments help the black paint and accessories lighten up.

Cozy Shades

Crisp Roman shades in a punchy green cotton fabric echo the color in the bedding an on the wall.

Updated Chair Rail

An inexpensive chair rail made from 4-foot metal strips we bought at a local home improvement store frames the room and serves as a display space when vintage or souvenir magnets are added to the mix. To make one yourself, simply screw the metal strip into the wall. The exposed screws add to the look.

Additional Seating

A slouchy yet stylish beanbag covered in washable fabric is a perfect fit for guitar practice or visiting friends.

Choosing and Using Black Paint

Going for the bold? We asked a pair of paint experts to weigh in on how to use black paint with success.

Don't Fence Me In: "Dark colors can feel confining," says Sheri Thompson, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. Lighten up in a small bedroom and skip black on a ceiling, as it will make it appear lower. Thompson likes black as an accent, especially when paired with silver in an outer-space or starry-night theme.

Less Is More: Can't bring yourself to use black on the walls? A coat of black paint is a good, thrifty way to update juvenile or hand-me-down furniture for a teen's room, says Karen Mantoen of Behr Paints. Black furniture is becoming as popular as white furniture in the juvenile market.

Sheen Shenanigans: And what's our favorite black-paint tip? Don't use shiny black paint. The shinier the paint, the more wall imperfections show. We learned this the hard way and had to repaint with a lower sheen. For both scrubbability and style, look for a satin finish or one of the washable flats on the market.

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