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Thinking Black? our guide to getting it right….

I’ll kick this off by declaring our firm belief that trends and furniture do not mix, all the proof you need is to do a search on GumTree and see thousands of ads for dated furniture being given away left right and centre. 25+ years of cheap imports have created a whole culture shift amongst the last couple of generations where furniture is seen as a disposable fashion statement not a valued asset that can be handed down through the family, the key to that is timeless design, premium materials and skilled hands.

Concrete tops is the latest trend the import retailers want you to “buy” into along with faked ‘natural’ edges. Last couple of years it was copper and rose gold, before that it was marble and granite and before that it was “wenge” and on it goes… Wenge was a terrible name for a terrible colour which saw all ‘on trend’ furniture stained very dark brown and it was everywhere around 10-15 years ago. The only reason ‘wenge’ was so popular at the time was because of the influx of mass production, low grade timber furniture from Asia and the dark stain was used to hide the poor quality timbers and workmanship being used. The stores were flooded with it and naturally shoppers perceived this as “trend” so they filled their houses with it. Most now regret the choice, we take a call a week here for people wanting us to lighten up their furniture because they’ve just realised how drab it is… not to mention the dust, fingerprints and the way black can really highlight surface scratches.

This takes me to the point of this post… Black. We’re starting to see more interest in using black in furniture again, seems black is back with taps, bench-tops and kitchen cabinetry etc with dark grey tones definitely being the dominant fabric colour choice over the last 12 months. Enquiries lately are for black in parts of furniture or full black but only one or two minor pieces as a feature in the home i.e. coffee tables, lamp tables.

Black table bases are a popular choice right now for breaking up timber floors and timber table top, although we always resist black in furniture for the reasons above, we see no dating issues with a black table base as it spends most of its life unseen anyway. Here’s some very recent pics of customers using black in our furniture while still retaining the natural timber, much smarter ideas than using black everywhere, more black can be introduced with non-permanent materials like chair fabric, placemats, table runners etc..

Our Motto: Keep it timber, keep it simple and you’ll keep it timeless… Natural timber does not date (unless you stain it)

We’re not saying don’t use black at all in modern furniture, the advice here is to use it sparingly and sporadically.

Matt Mabarrack -furniture designer, cabinet maker.