Decorating Your Home With Black and White – Part 1

Black and white turn up everywhere together – on china, fabrics, and wallpaper- so it’s impossible to ignore their stylish and charismatic effect.

The ultimate contrast between pure black and white is renowned for creating dramatic minimalist schemes, but it has an equally important part to play in softer, more traditional rooms as well. Throughout the centuries, black and white, probably more than any other colors, have remained popular.

At opposite ends of the tonal scale, black and white make a strong combination. When the two ends of the scale are brought together, they set up a visual seesaw that is both satisfying and fascinating: maximum visual contrast. The close juxtaposition of the colors works particularly strikingly in geometric designs and also throws into focus the lines of furniture and accessories. Although black and white is often associated with severe, hard-edged interiors, you’ll find it fits in to numerous situations. A profusion of fabrics, wallpapers, ceramics, and decorative objects are available to create a totally monochromatic scheme, or to add a dash of verve to other colors. Whether you are planning a whole room, or looking for a single article, there is bound to be a look that you like.

Black with White with Black

A black and white scheme is open to infinite interpretations, especially in the proportions used. On the one hand, you can favor the lightness of a mainly white room with dashes of black accents; on the other, you can focus on the drama of a largely black room with specks of white; not to mention the many, more balanced combinations in between.

While stark white and pure jet black give the strongest contrast, you can get a softer effect and the same elegance by using variations of the two shades. There are lots of broken whites, from just off white through ivory to rich creams and oatmeals. Charcoal gray, gunmetal, and dark-stained woods offer a variety of blackish tones. A range of these colors, combined with an assortment of textures, ensures a room retains warmth and character without sacrificing the startling simplicity of the effect.

Graphic Backgrounds

There are plenty of ways to set the stage for a symphony in black and white, besides a tin of white latex and a can of black gloss. Subtle white-on-white striped papers, fine graph-paper squares, or sponged-effect, nearly white wallpapers all give the right, cool sort of harmony. You can adopt quite a different tack and go for a clearer statement with jazzy checks, powerful black on white stripes, or scribbly designs.

On the floor, the elegance of a gleaming expanse of black and white marble is an extravagance, but it’s easy to create a similar effect by alternating less expensive vinyl, linoleum, or ceramic tiles. You can even paint bare floorboards with a black and white checkerboard pattern. These effects would be perfect for a hall, kitchen, or bathroom.