The Myth

After Prince Albert died suddenly in December 1861, Queen Victoria wore nothing but black for the rest of her life. Her loyal subjects, in sympathy and respect, called in the painters.

Victoria reigned for another forty years so the practice became a national habit and 90% of doors and railings remain black. Nice myth, but sadly not so say the architectural historians.

The Truth

Black did not become the default colour for railings until the late 1950s with the development and availability of fast-drying alkyd resin paints. Before that painters didn’t use black paint in public places, as it was the slowest of all paints to dry and instead grey was the most popular colour for such areas, predominantly because it was an inexpensive choice.

If you fancy integrating the colour black into your home but aren’t quite sure how or where then start with small steps. Darker colours can be used to accent a variety of different areas, from bannisters to window sills. You can also use dark coloured furniture and soft furnishings, combining with lighter, brighter colours to restore balance.

See our range of dark tones for further inspiration.