When you think “neutral color,” what do you picture? Light shades of beige, taupe, white, or gray? What about black?

Today, a neutral color scheme in decorating is not only light and airy colors but includes deeply saturated and sometimes hard to distinguish blackish hues. Black is officially one of the newest neutrals embraced by professional designers.

This dramatic approach is an adventure that is not for the timid! Shades of black on all four walls is exciting and always receives accolades when done right. Most homeowners will say, “I would never have picked this out, but now that I see it, I love it!”

A room wrapped in an almost-black navy such as Benjamin Moore’s Polo Blue creates a moody vibe that favors high-contrast painted trim, sparkling glass accents, and polished metals. A room for entertaining, such as a lounge or home theater, are great examples of a room where this color palette would work.

A master bedroom painted in Benjamin Moore’s Midnight Dream, layered in crisp white linens and sheer filmy window coverings, invites a dreamy night’s sleep.

These dramatic environments require a thoughtful lighting plan that can be manipulated to set the tone for the room. This provides the ability to dim with lamps or full sunlight streaming in from a large window.

If you are fearful of painting all four walls in such a deep tone, then opt for painting only three, reserving the fourth wall as a featured focal point. Your lighter-colored feature wall could consist of a lightly colored wainscot paneling or a textured wallpaper.

On the horizon: After over a decade of gray being the favored neutral, we will see shades of beige emerging again. Of course, this trend will arrive in a fresh, new version reflective of our current times.

Whether using these exciting new dramatic hues or the more familiar light neutrals, the trend is monochromatic layering with strong accents of acid or neon colors strategically placed in the room. Think chartreuse, lime, bright lemon yellow, or turquoise!