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10/24/2014 06:23 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The One Shade Of Black Paint That Always Looks Good (VIDEO)

Few color combinations are as modern, elegant and timeless as black-and-white -- when it's done right, that is. A big part of achieving a flawless black-and-white aesthetic is picking the right shades. Paint retailers boast an array of blacks (from onyx to ebony to midnight) and whites (from snow to linen to ivory), but which ones really create the best look?

Will Taylor, an interior design expert and author, tells the web series #OWNSHOW that when it comes to black, he goes for a softer shade.

"I always try and go for a chalkboard black," Taylor says.

This particular black is soft enough to be versatile while still looking dramatic -- and it's easier to work with than glossier options. "It usually can be brought into many different spaces," Taylor says. "That matte finish means that it will seamlessly introduce to a scheme, whereas if you go for something gloss, it's going to be much more in-your-face."

black and white dining room

Paying close attention to the paint's finish is one of Taylor's biggest tips for anyone shopping for a shade of black.

"Just like lighter shades, dark shades also show knocks and bruises and those kinds of things," he explains. "When it comes to chalkboard paint, it has this matte finish that actually hides any scratches and fingerprint marks."

Bonus tip: To add an element of whimsy, use special chalkboard paint that allows people to write on it. Taylor says it's a great option for kids' rooms, especially. "I've seen great examples by people who have actually painted a kid's bedroom door in chalkboard black paint, which produces this really statement piece on the landing, but then when you go into the bedroom, the children can write all over it in chalk," he says. "It's really fun."

black chalkboard pain in kitchen

As for white, Taylor admits that it often comes down to individual taste, but shares a few tips to help guide those in the market for their ideal shade.

"Personally, I don't like to go for a stark, bright white because it can feel very clinical," he says. "So try and pick a white with a little more warmth in it -- perhaps an oatmeal or a stony white. It's just got a little more depth and texture to it."

black and white dining room

As with black, focus on the finish. "A matte finish will really help in keeping that white feel... fresh and not clinical," Taylor says.

But is there ever a good time to use that crisp, bright white? Absolutely, Taylor says, but you don't have to buy a single gallon of paint to do it.

"Pure white works really well in a modern and contemporary space when it comes to introducing furniture," he says. "So, you might want to go for a lacquered, high-gloss white desk in a contemporary office or perhaps you might want to bring in lacquered white units in a contemporary kitchen."

black and white modern kitchen

Are you a renter? Try these simple ways to add unexpected pops of color in your space without painting any walls.

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