I'm not a fan of Amy Winehouse, but her Grammy Award-winning song Back to Black could define the seemingly ubiquitous trend this season for all things jet or ebony. While I have no problem including the colour in my wardrobe, it's harder to rock at home. Or perhaps not. Like anything, the more you immerse the unknown into your life, the more familiar it becomes. And so after frequent trips to Zara Home and Harvey Nichols' homeware section, where I've mused over black dinner plates, black bed linen and black accessories, I've gradually come around to believing that black is the way forward. So much so that I'm thinking of having a room painted in the colour. I'm looking at colour charts of varying nuances of the shade - from charcoal to graphite - because I understand just how hard it is to find the right kind of glossy black. I want the finished look to be glam and sophisticated, entirely devoid of teenage bedroom overtones or goth-girl gloom.
Black is not for the faint-hearted, but it can work with a surprising number of combinations. Just look at the catwalk this year. If you are a Gucci girl, their interpretation of black is decidedly bohemian and folksy - carpet bags, paisley prints and a return to the New Romantic era is clearly the inspiration for Frida Giannini this season. Translated to the couch, this look can work well in a study where black can add to the sense of cosiness offset with kilim rugs and eclectic artwork.
If you're more in tune with Prada (or would like to be), Miuccia's take on the colour is very feminine. Lacy and sophisticated, black in this instance is pared with nearly-there beiges and nude pinks. It would make for a sophisticated bedroom if the hue were paired with butter-coloured sofas with latticework screens or Versace Home side tables. Pucci pairs black this season with jewel colours and it is a riot of exuberance and drama - a look that would work well in a family living room.
I'm going to opt for the classic black-and-white juxtaposition favoured by Ralph Lauren, with touches of pink for femininity. My study will look decidedly businesslike and I'm sure it will help to amplify the sense of purpose I feel when I sit down to work. Whatever your choice, you'll find that black is not as inscrutable as you thought. If you're into symbolism, you may see the trend as a reflection of the global recession. The return to tailoring on the catwalk and sombre colours is seen by many as a sign that we should tighten our belts and make-do-or-mend after the hedonistic Nineties. Likewise in homeware, flashy baroque-style interiors are being replaced by something akin to frugality of colour and design. Monochrome is in, as are responsible choices in furniture echoing the rise in sustainability issues.
I tend to see it as something more optimistic. This season's black this season epitomises clarity and focus - of saying no to wishy-washy shades of both opinion and decorating and coming back with a vengeance. However, if you're like me and a wannabe fashionista at heart, black is as perennial as the little black dress and comes in infinite varieties. Once you start, you'll never have enough of it.