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IN PICS | Life's too short for boring décor: 10 bold black kitchen designs

Choosing black for an interior space adds an element of drama that few other shades can match — and selecting it for a kitchen adds to the atmosphere of originality that ensues

31 January 2021 - 00:02 By Robyn Alexander
The dining table is a seamless extension of the kitchen unit in this Cape cabin.
The dining table is a seamless extension of the kitchen unit in this Cape cabin.
Image: Bureaux

1. COUNTER PRODUCTIVE

Fittings and fixtures in black are effectively “framed” against raw wooden walls in this modern cabin on a guest farm outside Cape Town.

The dining table is a seamless extension of the kitchen unit, while the elegant countertop is made from blackened brass that has been heat treated to attain a specific level of blackness. This will oxidise over time, creating a unique patina.

TIP: Keep the lines of black pieces — such as the countertop and light fixtures seen here — slim and refined, and they will function like visual punctuation in a space rather than overwhelming it.


Painting the walls black is an easy and inexpensive way to add drama to a kitchen.
Painting the walls black is an easy and inexpensive way to add drama to a kitchen.
Image: Bureaux

2. DARK ROMANCE

This elegant and romantic kitchen has something of the feel of a Victorian greenhouse or conservatory with its high pressed-metal ceilings, cottage-pane windows and profusion of orchids.

It sets wooden joinery and countertops in a light, cement-based composite finish against bold black walls, which are, in turn, perfectly complemented by the owner's collection of copper pots and pans.

TIP: In a dark space, making the right choice of lighting is key. Here, a central chandelier adds a touch of vintage glamour, while brass wall sconces add gleaming retro accents against the black walls.


Wooden accents add warmth to this black kitchen.
Wooden accents add warmth to this black kitchen.
Image: Bureaux

3. CABIN FEVER

A master woodworker designed the streamlined galley-style kitchen area in this compact surf shack, which is situated in a beachside enclave within the bounds of a nature park close to Cape Town.

Here, black is used to create a framing backdrop, enabling parts of the décor to recede (and perhaps even disappear completely) so that the open display shelving and tactile wooden countertop stand out more clearly.

TIP: Contrast is key: the pale wooden bar stools in this kitchen (by Andrew Dominic Furniture) stand out almost like sculptures against the dark base of the island.


Matt black surfaces absorb light, so they work well in a bright space like this window-filled kitchen.
Matt black surfaces absorb light, so they work well in a bright space like this window-filled kitchen.
Image: Bureaux

4. SET THE SCENE

With seaside light pouring in from the picture windows along one side, this spacious galley-style kitchen offsets matt black fixtures and countertops with a concrete ceiling and grey stone floor.

Finished with an eye-catching extractor hood above the gas hob, this is a sexy kitchen space that's ideal for the sort of entertainer who likes to show off a little.

TIP: Matt black surfaces absorb light, so they work well in a bright space. Nevertheless, as seen here, combining them with lighter shades — grey, cream and white — is useful to prevent black elements from becoming too dominant.


The kitchen in this urban apartment is encased by a wall of steel and glass.
The kitchen in this urban apartment is encased by a wall of steel and glass.
Image: Bureaux

5. CHIAROSCURO COOL

The architect owner of this Parisian apartment installed a new kitchen in its centre, with a steel and glass facade dividing it from the rest of the open-plan space.

To accentuate the separation between the light-coloured living area and the kitchen, the latter is gorgeously dark — featuring matt black joinery, black-painted walls and black-veined Carrara marble countertops.

TIP: This space is all about exploiting the classic contrast between darkness and light, making it a perfect model for monochrome interiors.


This kitchen island is topped with dramatically veined Nero Marquina marble.
This kitchen island is topped with dramatically veined Nero Marquina marble.
Image: Bureaux

6. HOME INDUSTRY

Though it's all black, the open-plan kitchen in this urban apartment feels multidimensional due to a considered layering of materials.

A dramatically veined Nero Marquina marble kitchen island combines with matt black cabinets to create a feeling of depth, while finishing touches include copper-coloured Tom Dixon pendants, whose metallic detailing is echoed in the kitchen stools.

TIP: When it comes to kitchens in urban locations — especially in old industrial buildings — you can really go for broke with black, as it suits the architecture well. Layer it on, then add warmth with gleams of copper or brass.


This black kitchen design is all about celebrating rough edges.
This black kitchen design is all about celebrating rough edges.
Image: Bureaux

7. MATERIAL WORLD

The kitchen cabinetry in this loft apartment in inner-city Cape Town is clad with mild-steel plates.

The custom-made light fitting is crafted from plumber's piping, and the “prettiest” things in the space are rope-textured stools and a sleek, stainless-steel extractor hood.

The design is all about celebrating rough edges, but this is also a practical kitchen as its owner spends lots of time cooking and entertaining.

TIP:  While this kitchen has an industrial feel, it is not unfriendly — a result of the visual lift that comes from ensuring that its floor, walls and countertop feature natural materials and lighter shades.


Black painted bricks add texture to the kitchen in this suburban family home.
Black painted bricks add texture to the kitchen in this suburban family home.
Image: Bureaux

8. PERFECTLY FORMED

Looking for proof that an (almost) all-black kitchen can work well in a suburban family home?

That's precisely what's on view here, where the homeowner has cleverly combined the rich caramel tones of restored parquet floors with a kitchen prep unit made from black-stained pine and a countertop of dark grey Zimbabwean granite.

The black painted bricks add a further level of texture to the space.

TIP: Adding an element of personality and charm to the scheme is the set of matryoshka-inspired dolls (from Habitat) on the kitchen cabinet on the rear wall of the room.


Copper pendants pop against the black cabinetry in this sleek kitchen.
Copper pendants pop against the black cabinetry in this sleek kitchen.
Image: Bureaux

9. SHINE ON

In this urban bachelor pad, slick, glossy and very glamorous black surfaces are used throughout the Open-plan kitchen space — and further shine is added in the form of copper notes in the domed light fittings, as well as the polished wooden floor.

Appliances and storage are hidden behind a wall of integrated storage, which is finished in a matt black, forming a discreet backdrop to the drama. — Bureaux.co.za 

• Photos by Greg Cox and Warren Heath


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