Black or white best with brown
October 10, 2019 2:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm buying IKEA KALLAX shelving and the size that I want only comes in black & white. The room also has a large heavy teak-color bookshelf that has to stay. I don't think they will be sitting directly next to each other but I'm not sure either. There's going to be a lot of the Kallax shelving eventually. I know that none of this is going to be optimal but do you think the black or white Kallax would be the least ugly?

The room is long and narrow and has 3 walls, the 4th wall is a walkway from the front door to a staircase. Both long walls are white and there's a yellow short wall and a green short wall. There's a bed that I'm going to get a headboard for but I haven't chosen that yet, I'll get that to harmonize with whatever else I get. I also have some nice grey curtains up against the green wall but that could change too. Bonus question, what color should the headboard be?
posted by bleep to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd definitely go with white. Especially in a narrow room, I think black would make the space feel more closed-in. White keeps it open, and wood and white look great together.
posted by adastra at 2:36 PM on October 10, 2019 [19 favorites]

I have other IKEA shelving in white (I forget the name but it's a long, floating shelf), and it mixes well with other teak pieces in the room (an older wall-mounted Danish thing). Black and brown always look a little dark and clashy to me when it comes to furniture.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:42 PM on October 10, 2019 [7 favorites]

I'd base my preference on white or black shelves based on what's going to be on them and which you feel best compliments/shows off that. Whatever you think best shows off your yarn/books/depression glass since you said there's eventually going to be a lot of he KALLAX shelving.

Both white and black can work with the teak. I prefer black with wood because I tend to prefer a heavy and closed and opposed to airy and open. Do you want a morning room (white) or an evening room (black)?

I think you should paint the white walls regardless. If you're bringing a lot of white shelving into the room, some color behind it can tone down the brightness. If you're bringing in a bunch of black shelving, some color behind it makes the contrast to the walls less stark, though some prefer the stark contrast. I'd do the painting now, or after you get one shelf unit cause you're not gonna want to unload and move 5 shelving units later.

Once you have lots of the KALLAX in the room it will look better than one unit. One nice piece of furniture next to one cheap piece shows off how cheap that piece is. LOTS of cheap plain shelving next to one statement piece will fade into the background and highlight the nice piece.
posted by ixipkcams at 3:05 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

The perimeter of my living room is lined with Kallax. (The Drawers and doors are stupidly expensive, but they sure do make things look more finished. Putting a cover on half the openings makes a big difference.) On a very dark brown wood floor and against white/gray/oxblood walls, the black just disappears and is forgotten. Which is more or less what I want from shelving.

I've never seen white furniture that doesn't look dirty. But, maybe my friends are just filthy people.
posted by eotvos at 3:22 PM on October 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

I’d look for the older, better Expedits that came in dark, dark brown, but that’s not everyone’s thing.
White shelves on white walls
posted by Ideefixe at 4:00 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

White it is! Thanks all!
posted by bleep at 4:14 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Also, there's a whole world out there of decals that are sized/designed specifically for IKEA furniture

You could pick white and then make it EXTRA!
posted by mccxxiii at 5:45 PM on October 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

Hah I thought about inventing that years ago! However, at the end of the day I decided to use plain shelf-paper in a solid cornflower blue on the front of one of my Expedits.
posted by rhizome at 6:38 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Given your request I would go with the White. However I looked up that unit and it also come in "walnut effect light gray", which I think would look good with the teak unit.
posted by tman99 at 5:46 AM on October 11, 2019

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