Black is the new black when it comes to lighting.According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), many of the latest and most versatile light fixtures are trending towards black finishes, often mixed with other colors and metals. The right light enhances any home, and light fixtures that are black can add a new element of sophistication and function, which is why many homeowners are opting for black when choosing interior as well as exterior fixtures.”Throughout history, the color black has played an important role in architecture and interior design,” says Joe Rey-Barreau, AIA, IESNA, associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Interior Design.The neutral nature of black “has been a consistent design element that can blend and merge easily with traditional, transitional and modern styles,” says Rey-Barreau, who also serves as education consultant to the ALA.”Used as the primary color in interior or exterior lighting fixtures, black brings a sophistication that provides a timeless quality and transcends any specific style,” he adds.Replacing all existing light fixtures is not always feasible, but selecting several outdated fixtures to change and upgrade gives any room an instant lift.Using black fixtures is an easy way to ensure that old and new lighting elements meld together without creating a disjointed appearance. Consider the elements of your existing fixtures, and add a new one that is black or partly black in color, and that reflects elements of the current lighting scheme.Try a black fixture paired with metallic finishes such as polished brass, nickel or brushed pewter; or consider a two-tone look that combines black with another color to complement the room or outdoor space.Black fixtures continue to gain popularity in outdoor lighting as well.”There’s a slow shift from brown asphalt roofs to black,” says Jeff Dross, corporate director of education and industry trends for Kichler Lighting.”We’re moving from beige siding to dove gray or light gray siding, and the stone is going from a brown to a grayer tone. Because of that shift, the color black actually looks a lot nicer. It looks much more in concert with the rest of the architecture,” he says.A new video from the ALA features more design tips about how to make the most of black lighting fixtures. To view the video, go to LightingDesignVideos.com.Whether you want to give your interior a facelift, or just try something different, it’s a perfect time to take an old, outdated light fixture from drab to fab.For more information and to find a list of local ALA-member retail showrooms, go to AmericanLightingAssoc.com.