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Interior Noir: An Interplay of Enigmatic Ambience & Understated Luxury Design

31 October 2022

In interior design, the choice of colours, or the lack thereof has the ability to arouse and evoke feelings about the space in which it is utilized. Black, in particular, is a dramatic choice that when used in the right context, lends a shroud of mystery, and introduces a sense of intimacy and privacy, while adding an air of elegance and sophistication all at the same time.

From an elegant home reminiscent of a hotel suite, a black and white style bachelor pad, to a contemporary luxury condo, this curated showcase of moody and understated luxury interiors by 5 different designers offers a great insight into how the colour black can be used to great effect to deliver different interior outcomes.

Project 371 by Joey K

In project 371, designer Joey K bucks convention by opting for a dark monochromatic colour scheme even within the tight layout of the 2-bedroom loft space.

The idea was to create an enigmatic, lavish, and private space for the homeowner to retreat from the chaos of daily life. As such the designer was deliberately heavy-handed with the choice of dark tones and hues for walls, carpentry, and furnishings alike.

From dark ebony wood for the cabinets and black-out curtains in the living space, the black laminates and quartz countertops in the kitchen, sliding door frames on the balcony to even the marble tiles in the bathroom, the monochromatic colour scheme is consistent throughout. Only the occasional pop of accent colours, like the red contemporary lounger, offers an unexpected visual surprise.

To complete the look, mood lighting was an integral part of the design offering calming and soft diffuse illumination to soften and counterbalance the darkness.

The Middle Room by CK Low

The unique layout of the shophouse property offered designer CK Low quite the creative liberty in designing this space. With the living and dining spaces located at the ends of the home, and the resting areas in the middle of the homes, the designer decided to use a stark contrast in colour schemes to demarcate the respective zones.

Due to the wide windows at both ends of the home, both the living and dining spaces are bathed in natural light during the day. As such, the designer opted for a light and airy colour palette of light greys, whites, and light wood while keeping to a minimalist design overall.

The middle zone of the home, however, is a stark juxtaposition from the other zones. The common corridor cutting through all the zones within the home is deliberately painted matte black, void of any colour – safe for a simple light strip along the wall to guide the homeowner through the pathway.

This dark theme further extends into the bedroom and bathroom, creating a private bubble where the homeowner can retreat for peace and quiet.

Dark Academia by Edward

This Dark Academia project by designer Edward is reminiscent of hospitality enclaves much like luxury hotel suites or even a high-end spa.

Entering the space, one is greeted by a dramatic overhead cladding that runs from wall to ceiling to wail with a dark grey cement textured finish giving off an air of sophistication that is both visual and tactile.  

This strong visual immediately sets the tone for the rest of the home where the dark theme is perpetuated cohesively with a consistent colour theme of different hues of greys, blacks, and dark browns – perfect for a home where one can seek quiet repose.

Aware that an overwhelmingly dark colour palette can end up too harsh, designer Edward made sure to soften the effect with soft furnishings like textiles, linen, and rugs and even by introducing some natural greenery to offset the monotony.

Clement Canopy by Darren & JC

This contemporary condo project by designer Darren & JC looks just like it came right from a page of a modern interior design magazine.

While the space does not boast of an overtly monochromatic design or heavy-handed use of a dark colour palette, designers Darren & JC cleverly incorporates the colour black subtly throughout as a complementary tone within a typical contemporary colour palette of browns, blacks, and greys.

From the blackout curtains, recessed spotlight troughs in the ceiling, dining tables on the balcony, and the overhanging lighting fixtures, to the window frames, black is incorporated as clean and sleek elements that elevate the overall design.

In pairing this colour with contemporary luxe features like a marble feature wall, glass coffee table, ceiling-to-floor mirror wall, ambient mood lighting, and more, the interplay of complementary materials further helps create depth and open up the space.

Concentric by Aloysius

Working within space constraints and a brief to create a relaxed luxurious hotel feel with a dark moody theme, designer Aloysius not only achieved his goal but went above and beyond – creating a dark space with the illusion of space.

Thoughtful designs to give the illusion of space in a small unit included using large-format tiles to trick the eye with a less busy design to make the room look bigger, as well as fluted vertical wooden stripes to give the illusion of height. The latter is replicated consistently across the home as a repeated design element from the feature wall in the dining room, and the wardrobe in the bedroom to the vanity in the bathroom, for a cohesive look and feel.

To complete the luxurious yet comfortable hotel vibe, the designer opted for a modern colour palette of blacks, whites, and browns, while choosing understated luxe materials like marble for the kitchen backsplash, textured fabric wallpapers, upholstered headboards, and marble tiling for the bathrooms.

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