Charcoal – grey, graphite, or something else?
Few other colors are as confusing as charcoal. Here’s the primary issue – is charcoal grey or black? In fact, it’s a mixture of both colors. Most people would say it’s a very dark shade of grey. It closely resembles graphite.
Interestingly enough, the name of the color has its origins in a type of coal made of wood. The exact same shade is associated with another, the most calorific coal variety – anthracite. Regardless of the name, both substances display a similar, dark shade of grey with a bluish tint.
Due to its increasing popularity, charcoal is becoming a timeless classic. It’s used both in fashion and in interior design. But why exactly it’s consisdered so extraordinary and intriguing? It’s because of the vagueness. It captures the elegance of black, but it’s much brighter. Here’s a bonus: it looks different depending on when you look at it and what you combine it with! As a result, this color truly unique and highly versatile – it’s you who decides what it looks like.
From a technical point of view, charcoal in HEX has the number #36454f. In RAL it’s 7016, and it’s called anthracite grey.
Charcoal in interior design? Yes, but…
Whether you’re looking for a safe background color, a trendy tone to refresh the interior, or a spectacular shade to impress just about everyone, you can’t go wrong with charcoal. It’s one of the most adaptable colors – and it’s perfect for interior design.
But don’t get too excited just yet. Despite its flexibility, charcoal grey is not the easiest color to work with. Before designing an interior, you must carefully and answer the two important questions:
- where to use it,
- what to combine it with.
These two matters are crucial. Too much charcoal everywhere will easily overwhelm the room – which is not great, unless you’re a fan of gloomy and depressing interiors. A few random accessories in this color won’t do the job, either.
But don’t worry! You can still make your interior design shine. Just pay attention to certain details. For instance, note that charcoal is a dark color. For this reason, make sure to pair it with good lighting. If the room is spacious, you can use it on walls. If you’re decorating a tiny interior, opt for eye-catching charcoal accessories paired with a matching background color. Think everything through and find your perfect balance.
If you’re not sure how to use charcoal in your design, perhaps it’s time to ask a professional for help. You don’t have to hire a full-service interior designer – many places offer advice and consultations at a reasonable price. Thanks to this, you can make sure your charcoal-colored interior looks truly exceptional.
How to make charcoal walls look good?
For many, charcoal is probably not the first choice for a wall color. Too bad, because it can look great, and you don’t have to be a fan of gothic style. It’s an excellent base for a grey kitchen, living room, bedroom or bathroom – as long as you use it with taste and consideration.
Charcoal gray works perfect in modern interiors, but in fact, you can use it in any room you’d like. Vast, well illuminated interiors can benefit from it the most. Natural lighting is the best option, so you can decide to paint eastern, south-eastern and western rooms in this color. Be warned – northern rooms painted charcoal might look too dark and miserable. Combine the color with lighter shades to brighten the interior.
Is the room small, but you still wish to paint the walls charcoal? Make one wall darker and leave the rest of the room bright. This way, the interior won’t seem smaller. Don’t forget about good, strong ligthing!
Charcoal walls – which paint for a perfect finish?
Charcoal paint is the first thing that probably comes to your mind when thinking about charcoal walls. When deciding on a brand, pay your attention to the type of finish a particular product offers. Semi-gloss is probably the best option when it comes to painting walls such a dark grey. Thanks to this, the walls won’t “absorb” the light as a matte paint might do.
Hesitant about paint? Consider another option – charcoal wallpaper. You don’t have to pick a uniform color. There are plenty of interesting patterns and designs with charcoal – they might become an intriguing room decoration – instead of pictures. Just pick the one you like the most.
Accessories for charcoal walls
Contrast is a great option for colors such as charcoal. For instance, if the walls are dark, white or beige furniture looks perfect against them. Natural materials like wood also look excellent in such a combination. For uniform walls, seek interesting textures or patterns.
Do you like striking, yet elegant solutions? Pick one piece of furniture (e.g., a sofa) in a strong color – such as blue, red, or yellow – for an excellent contrast against dark walls. Thanks to this trick, the whole room looks more vivid, and the charcoal walls highlight the strong color of the sofa.
How to use charcoal as a highlight?
How to use charcoal in an interior with bright walls? White walls combined with charcoal elements is the simplest solution. Use charcoal as an accent in the room.
If you’re not ready for revolutionary changes, alter several accessories such as curtains and cushions. It’s an easy and cheap way to test how you feel with charcoal color in the room. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can work with more serious pieces – add charcoal chairs, coffee tables and lamps.
Looking for a subtle way to accentuate the interior design? Consider using charcoal color on elements such as doors, radiators and windows. Thanks to them, you can easily enliven the room and give it a remarkable look.
Charcoal grey – pick the best style for your interior
Thanks to the versatility of charcoal color, it can become an element of various interior design styles. You can apply it in your interior regardless whether you’re fascinated by Scandinavian, industrial, or minimalist style. In each case, it can make the room look unique and individual. We have presented several styles below. In our opinion, they get the most out of charcoal grey – take a look and get inspired!
Charcoal grey and Scandinavian style
Scandinavian style generally uses a very bright color palette consisting of various shades of white, beige and pastel colors. It’s not a strict rule, though. If you want to create something unique that won’t look like straight from a furniture catalogue, charcoal grey is your best friend. This dark shade is perfect to break the boring minimalism. It fits perfectly into the simplicity of the Nordic interiors.
We recommend complementing a bright Scandinavian design with charcoal accessories rather than using this color e.g., on walls. For instance: you can enliven a beige Scandinavian bedroom by adding a charcoal bedspread. Pick a chunky cable-knitted model for extra coziness and texture.
Are you designing a Scandinavian kitchen? Consider charcoal kitchen cabinets. Combine them with wooden worktops and flooring. While you’re at it, add some handcrafted accessories – such as carved cutting boards or wooden utensils. Keep them in moderation – one or two such pieces on display are just enough to decorate the space and maintain the spirit of minimalism.
Art Deco and charcoal color – a perfect combination
Are you a classy individual who values good taste and elegance above anything else? Then you’re probably a fan of 1920s aesthetic and Art Deco style. Good news – this style loves dark colors such as charcoal grey! Combined with glamourous ornamental lighting, geometric pattern and glass elements, it looks truly magnificent.
If you decided on Art Deco, you can go wild and use charcoal grey in many spots of the interior. Dark walls are typical for this style. In vast spaces, they can be combined with charcoal grey furniture. Just make sure to add some shiny elements to reflect the lighting and brighten the interior. Furniture with a glossy finish or glass panels are a perfect choice, in this case. Don’t forget about mirrors and decorations. As for accent colors, gold, silver, dark blue, or bottle green are excellent options. Thanks to them, the space will look lively and stylish.
Industrial style? Only with charcoal grey!
When thinking of a perfect style for charcoal grey, industrial is probably the one. It loves combinations of dark colors, especially shades of black, grey, and brown. It’s a particularly excellent choice for office spaces and loft apartments. Industrial style uses raw materials such as wood, metal, brick, and concrete. They are dark in they nature – for this reason, they can be easily matched with charcoal.
This style gives you many options. You can use charcoal on walls and match them with contrasting furniture, or design the entire interior in various shades of grey, including charcoal. Industrial style spaces are typically vast and well-illuminated. Thanks to this, you don’t have to worry about overwhelming the design with too much dark tones.
Charcoal furniture – the latest interior design trend
Charcoal furniture is a very trendy option. This universal color is becoming popular both among fans of timeless designs, and novelty-seekers. Are you looking for something to refresh your space? Perhaps a new charcoal sofa or a coffee table will do the trick.
Covering all walls in charcoal paint might be too much, especially if your space is limited. But a single piece of furniture can be a great highlight. Note that charcoal is a dark and rather strong color. For this reason, a simple design is usually a better option than an ornamental texture.
Are you dreaming of a charcoal sofa? Make sure to place it agains a light, neutral background, such as white or beige. This way, you can accentuate the strong color and create a pleasing result.
Charcoal as furniture color – general rules and ideas
To navigate among the rules of interior design, make sure to inspire yourself with certain rules and popular ideas.
Charcoal-colored furniture looks great if it’s simple. Instead of a complicated patterns on a sofa, opt for a uniform design. Any decorations should be subtle – an interesting shape or quilted texture are just enough. If you’re decorating in Art Deco style, move any patterns to the flooring. It’s a much more elegant solution.
If you want to make a particular piece of furniture a central element, you can achieve it by creating a contrast. A charcoal grey sofa and white armchairs are an interesting option.
Are you designing a modern kitchen? Dark kitchen cabinets are the latest trend, and charcoal is the most universal option. You don’t have to worry the color will become outdated with the next season – it’s highly universal. Match the cabinets with brighter accessories. If you’re not a fan of dark furniture, you can opt for dark worktops combined with white cabinets.
Be bold – design a charcoal grey living room!
Are you wondering how to design the living room? If you hate safe (and boring) projects, but also don’t want to risk any novelty that will probably become outdated after one season – consider using charcoal.
Thanks to it’s strong character, this color is bold enough to create a unique and surprising space. At the same time, it’s easily adjustable, so if you decide it’s time for a change, you can change only accessories. How to design a perfect charcoal living room? Find out below!
Use the sofa and armchairs as an elegant accent!
The sofa and armchairs are typical central elements of living rooms. Charcoal grey is a very elegant solution. A charcoal sofa adds sophistication to the interior. Bonus? It’s easy to keep clean! Any stains are much easier to remove from dark furniture.
Small, yet noteworthy – a charcoal coffe table
A charcoal coffee table is an excellent way to draw attention to the center of the room. It’s also a highly versatile piece of furniture. It looks perfect in front of a white or light-grey sofa. If you’re feeling adventurous, don’t hesitate to experiment with peculiar shapes, patterns, and textures. A coffee table can be either a just a highlight, or a fantastic decoration. Think what you value more: practicality or decor? This can help you decide between a set of double round tables, or an exotic triangular coffee table with white legs.
Consider interesting color combinations. For instance, you can pick a charcoal tabletop with wooden legs for Scandinavian style, or metal (golden or silver) legs for industrial style.
How to design a cozy charcoal bedroom
Perhaps you think that charcoal color is too dark for a bedroom. Wrong! If you use it with skill, you can create a cozy space with dark grey as the center of the design. Just stick to the same rule as always – moderation is key.
Upholstered charcoal bed – a perfect accent
How to accentuate the room and create a calm space at the same time? A charcoal-colored bed might be a perfect choice.
An upholstered model with a quilted headboard in charcoal color looks truly magnificent. The color won’t agitate you, but will perfectly highlight the style of your bedroom. Charcoal is a great option for elegant spaces, but also for modern teenage bedrooms. Complement the design with accessories to highlight your personality and create the coziest retreat.
Charcoal bed linen – subtle decoration
Are you a fan of strong colors but don’t want to use them everywhere? Use the simplest solution – use them in accessories. Charcoal pillowcases and bed sheets are a very subtle way to highlight the character of the room. They look perfect in a bedroom with a bright color palette. These elements are easily adjustable, so if you get bored with charcoal, you can change them without straining your budget.
If you want your bedroom to be always elegant, dark bed linen is always a good choice. You can rotate between dark blue, charcoal, bottle green, and other dark shades. This way, your bedroom won’t be monotonous.
A splash of charcoal grey in your bathroom
If you’re designing a modern bathroom, charcoal grey is an excellent idea. Plus, you have many options for where to use it. For instance, charcoal tiles look very classy. You can complement them with white appliances and bathroom furniture. Alternatively, pick charcoal-colored cabinets and place them against light walls and flooring. This way, you create an interesting contrast in the bathroom.
Are you thinking of something unusual? Install a charcoal sink, toilet, and bathtub in your bathroom. They will surely stand out from the well known white apppliances.
A dark charcoal kitchen? A fantastic option!
If you have a large kitchen, charcoal is a perfect option for its design. The color is practical and easy to clean. It works regardless whether you love natural textures like wood, or you’re a fan of industrialism.
Charcoal grey cabinets are the most popular option – but it’s not the only possibility. If you’re dreaming of wooden furniture, you can break the monotony by adding charcoal countertops or a dark grey backsplash.
How to design a charcoal kitchen? You don’t have to focus on the kitchen unit. Instead, you can add charcoal aaccessories – chairs, lamps, dining table. They look great if the rest of the interior is bright.
Are you a fan of taking notes and making lists in your kitchen? How about a charcoal-colored chalkboard paint on one of the walls? It’s a practical and aesthetic solution. If you have children, they will certainly love it!
Charcoal grey in a children’s room? Use it carefully
Perhaps charcoal grey is not the typical color that comes to mind when thinking of decorating a toddler’s room. It’s too dark and cold, so using it to create a supposedly cheerful interior is a difficult task. But it’s not impossible! A skillful combination of charcoal grey and delicate pastel colors might result in a fantastic-looking room.
When designing a child’s room, don’t use charcoal on large surfaces. Instead, use dark grey to accentuate bright pastel elements. A hint of dark grey here and there is a perfect way to balance the typical flashy colors of a children’s bedroom. If you don’t want to risk a failed project, you can ask a professional designer for help.
Charcoal grey – the best color combinations
Charcoaal grey is a very universal color. Thanks to this, it can be matched with basically any other shade. You can brighten it using pastel colors. A strong colorful accent results in a very elegant effect. If you’re aiming at something neutral, typical nature colors – brown, green, beige and white create a perfect balance with charcoal. It’s preferred especially in Scandinavian interiors.
You can experiment by matching your favorite colors and charcoal. If you’re looking for an inspiration, take a look at the list of colors below:
- baby blue,
- bottle green,
- cherry red,
- dusty pink,
- lemon yellow,
- pistacchio green,
- shades of black and grey.
Some color combinations might appear too dark in an interior. It’s acceptable in large interiors, but make sure to add a strong lighting and some brighter accents.
📍 What is charcoal grey?
Charcoal grey is a very dark shade of grey. It's almost black but a tone lighter. The name of the shade comes from a type of coal made of wood burnt at a high temperature with low access to oxygen. Charcoal grey is sometimes called anthracite – they are the same colors.
📍 What color goes well with charcoal gray?
Charcoal grey is very neutral and looks perfect with almost any color. It works great with contrasting colors such as white and lighter shades of grey. It's also an ideal backround for strong, highly saturated colors such as cobalt blue, canary yellow and emerald green.
📍 How to use chaarcoal grey in interior design
Charcoal grey is a perfect color for styles such as industrial and Art Deco. Thanks to its neutral character, it's great for offiice spaces. You can use it on large surfaces in large interiors, and as an accent (in accessories) in small rooms. It's a highly versatile shade.
📍 Charcoal grey paint – which one is the best?
Paint which gives a satin finish is the best option if you want to paint your walls charcoal. Thanks to this, the walls look elegant and don't absorb too much light. Make sure the paint is designed for the surface you want to cover.