I love color! I have used bold shades of it in interior design for years. But there is just something so graphic and bold and handsome about black and white. It is crisp and dramatic and I find that I gravitate towards it time and again. Maybe it is the same excitement I get from using black and white in my wardrobe that translates into my interior design. There is nothing more appealing than a starched white tailored shirt. And black….do I even own anything to wear that is not black. It is the comfort color. It makes you look slim and sleek and sophisticated! And when you put these 2 colors together, it is just a combination that can’t be beat! It is timeless. It is glamorous. It is classic.
I think there is an art to making black and white comfortable in an interior application. There is always the risk of it coming off too stark, or harsh, or cold. So here are some tips for achieving drama and style without sacrificing comfort in your home
1. Layer in various tones of white with black so that the space is not too stark. I would err on the side of off-white or cream in many instances. It still reads “black and white” but it is a little softer.
2.Integrate other colors as an accent. Even if you want to keep the palette neutral, a little tan or charcoal can add depth to the palette and give it a little more interest than simply black and white. And if you are willing to go bold, pop in a bright yellow, hot pink, or apple green for an exciting twist!
3. Layer in pattern and texture. Since you are primarily working with 2 colors, it is important that you have a variety of pattern and texture to make the space both visually interesting and also comfortable and soothing to the touch. I prefer large-scale patterns in black and white to really play up the drama. And contrary to popular believe, I think large patterns work exceptionally well in small spaces!
4. Mix in metallic finishes to add another “color” dimension to the space. Both gold and silver work beautifully with black and white depending on the style you are trying to evoke. Silver leaf, chrome, or nickel finishes would give a more contemporary feel where gold and gold leaf put a traditional spin on the black and white palette.
5. Incorporating a variety of stained and painted wood tones into the space can certainly add warmth and interest. Again, depending on the style of the room, stained wood can be a fabulous addition. Using it with a sleek finish can make the space feel new and fresh. Combining black and white with more rustic stained and painted finishes can work beautifully for a more traditional and casual result.
Here are some photos of my own home, where I have incorporated the black and white color palette. They are actually some of my favorite spots in the whole house!
I also used black and white as an accent in my previous home. It was a 1950’s ranch style so the mod look of black and white was a great compliment!!
And this last space is a guest bathroom in a client’s home. I love the geometric pattern and banded shower curtain:
Here are some beautiful black and white products currently on the market! These Madeline Weinrib Rugs and Pillows are some of my favorite black and white finds!
Barbara Barry does a beautiful job with black and white!! Her Bracelet Chair is a classic!!
And Suzanne Kasler’s New Collection for Hickory Chair has some beautiful Black and White pieces!!
So I hope these photos have inspired you to give black and white a try!! It may be just the perfect addition to your home!