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Colour explained: everything you need to know about black paint

Hallway scene decorated with Lick Black 02 paint

It’s time to head on over to the dark side.

Here’s how to tell whether you’re more of warm or cool black kinda person with our lowdown on Black 01 versus Black 02

Let’s talk undertones

Colours are more complicated recipes than we give them credit for. There’s a whole load bubbling away beneath the surface that deserves proper attention, because that end shade you’re looking at on the tin is anything but one-dimensional.

Cue the undertones.

If you’re going to get this colour thing right, you’ve got to, got to, bear in mind the undertones. Think of them as the base notes in the wine, that, once you’ve got them all figured out will help you appreciate the taste ten times more and give you a banging palate (or palette in this case).

Undertones are what will change up the temperature of a colour. At Lick, we pretty much use just two for our blacks –  blue and red – and they have two very different things going on. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect them to do a little something like this to your room:

  • Blue: crisp? Go on then. Our cool blue undertone will lower the colour temperature of the mass tone (aka, black) for a room that’s cool, calm, collected and, you guessed it, crisp as a beer from the fridge.
  • Red: it’s getting hot in here. That’s a slight exaggeration but the point is, a red undertone is all about warmth. So if you like the sound of giving your room a black beauty vibe, but are nervous that it’ll feel shadowed, a red undertone will put that worry straight to bed.

Drop a tint. Throw some shade.

Next up in this quick-fire colour theory class are (surprise) tints and shades. 

Once you’ve got your head around the undertones, remember that there’s also the intensity of colour to wrestle with. In other words, do you want the lighter shade of pale or to head over to the dark side?

Add white (yep, you can add more white to get a different kind of white) – colour buffs call that a tint. Add black, and they’ll say – now that’s a shade. So next time your protesting husband/wife/housemate/guinea pig claims that there’s no such thing as different shades of white, gladly refer them here as you prepare your best smug face and pick up a paintbrush. 

So next time your protesting husband / wife / house mate / guinea pig claims that there’s no such thing as different shades of black, gladly refer them here as you prepare your best smug face and pick up a paintbrush.

Colour compatibility and room direction

Okay, so my room is north-facing and gets buckets of natural light. So that obviously means I need a god-knows-what sort of white.

Sound familiar?

People throw around room direction statements rarely with a clear conclusion as to what compass point suits what sort of colour. 

Until now that is...

Here's what black paint we recommend for rooms with different directions:

North-facing rooms: warm red and velvet black paint

North-facing rooms: northern light is the coolest of the lot. It casts a blue hue. So if you go for our cooler of the two blacks (aka Black 01), expect your room to feel a touch frosty. Instead, a black that works with the crisp light, or very little natural light as the case may be, but has subtle warmth, thanks to it's red undertones, like Black 02, will be as nice as pie.

Dining room scene decorated with Lick Black 02 paint

Lick Black 02

East-facing rooms: warm or cool black paint

East-facing rooms: see a lot of change. Whichever black you choose will look very different whether it’s sunset or sunrise. But easterly spaces have a tendency to look a bit more blue, which means either of our blacks is a good shout on the whole. Bingo. Still struggling to pick? Remember your paint colour temperature needs to tie in with the other colours and temperatures in your room, so if you’re more of a warm-noted, traditional sort, head to Black 02. And if you’re the opposite, heigh-ho, it’s off to Black 01 you go.

South-facing rooms: blue and graphite black paint

South-facing rooms: have a golden glow going on and the good news is, they pretty much suit all blacks too – huzzah! Using cool-as-a-cucumber Black 01 doesn’t mean it will lose its crispness – no balmy beams will take away from that.

Living room scene decorated with Lick Black 01 paint

Lick Black 01

Wall showing Black 01 in varied natural light

Lick Black 01

West-facing rooms: warm and velvet black paint

West-facing rooms: just like rooms that look to the east, westerly rooms are the most changeable. They tend, to look all the better with a warmer black for company. So, swerve the coolish character of Black 01 and follow similar advice to north-facing rooms – aka a warmer black like our very own Black 02.

Dining room scene decorated with Lick Black 02 paint

Lick Black 02

Wall showing Black 02 in varied natural light

Lick Black 02

In love with black but can’t decide which one would look better in your home? Worry no more. We offer 1-on-1 virtual colour consultations from the comfort of your armchair. Whether you’re looking to just get a second opinion on a palette you have in mind, or simply don’t know where to start - our colour specialists - such as Tash - are here to help you.

Book your video colourist session now, or learn more about our video colour consultancy here

Thinking about painting your bathroom black? Here are 5 things to consider when opting for a black bathroom.

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