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How to Decorate Your Home with Black and White

Updated on July 1, 2017

I have always been a sucker for the timeless combination of black and white in fashion and interior design. Is black and white considered classic elegance or a nod to hip modernism? The merging of these two color extremes does seem to imply a split personality. On one hand, black and white design conveys drama and on the other, pure whimsy.


Walking into any furniture or clothing store, I feel an irresistible attraction to any black and white object, piece of furniture or fabric. Apparently, I am not the only one suffering from this affliction. The graphic intensity and versatility of black and white make it a popular design choice season after season.

In most circles, black and white style suggests chic simplicity for the home. This duo is equally comfortable in retro, eclectic, contemporary or traditional rooms. Whether you choose a little or a lot, black and white style will definitely make a design statement in your home.

For Your Walls

The next step when decorating with color typically involves vertical surfaces. Walls and windows are the perfect canvases. Make a trip to your local home center and check out the selections of black and white designer wall covering. Quality wallpaper can be expensive, so look for discontinued patterns and wait for sales. Black and white paint also allows you to achieve big impact inexpensively. Think about vertical or horizontal stripes, stencils or a daring solid black accent wall.

Photo courtesy Tetiana Shamenko via Dreamstime
Photo courtesy Tetiana Shamenko via Dreamstime

Make it easy on yourself with a paint or wallpaper project in the powder room. This will give you an opportunity to decide if the black and white look is right for you. If you really like it, you can move on to a larger room. A smaller space also translates into a smaller investment of time and money for the job.

Photo courtesy of Rob Bouwman via Dreamstime
Photo courtesy of Rob Bouwman via Dreamstime

Use Curtains to Create Drama

Not ready to fully commit? Try black and white curtains against stark white walls. This is the perfect solution for apartment dwellers. Choose from stripes, damasks and polka dots in a variety of fabrics and price points to create instant drama.

Quick Tip

A tip when decorating with black and white: consider injecting an accent color to create visual interest. For example, a small touch of yellow, red, fuchsia or lime green will give your eye a place to focus in a sea of black and white.

Photo courtesy Stephanie Swartz via Dreamstime
Photo courtesy Stephanie Swartz via Dreamstime

For Your Bedroom

The subtle introduction of black and white in the boudoir will give your ordinary room the ambiance of a chic boutique hotel. Picture your bed with crisp white sheets and pillowcases. How about adding black euro shams with white trim and a white throw pillow with a black monogram? Top off your bed with a comforter and coverlet to create layers of black and white. Dress your windows with black and white curtains to finish the look. Don’t forget to add that pop of color!

Think Outside Your House

Take black and white style outside. Nothing reads classic more than a white house with black shutters or awnings. Use a splash of contrasting color in the form of a red front door or vibrant flowers. Create the same feel for your patio or pool area. Replace the dingy upholstery on your outdoor furniture with striking black and white cushions and pillows. If your home has a pool, hang black and white striped cabana curtains (in a weather resistant fabric, of course) from your patio cover or pergola.

Photo courtesy Instinia Photography via Dreamstime
Photo courtesy Instinia Photography via Dreamstime
Photo courtesy Gina Smith via Dreamstime
Photo courtesy Gina Smith via Dreamstime

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

By now I’m sure you’re wondering, “Where in the heck do I get the money to do all of these things?” I feel your pain. I too, am on a budget—a very tight budget. Take advantage of sales and shop the big retail discounters. And remember, no one says you have to do everything in one weekend. Decorate as time and money allow. The true joy of design is in the inspiration and creation. If you consider your house an on-going project, you’ll appreciate the results that much more!

Check out this short video for more black and white style plus a few shopping tips:

Now it’s your turn! Leave a comment with your ideas and opinions about black and white style in the home. Also share your suggestions for using black and white in the kitchen, living room and dining room.

© 2010 lindacee


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    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 2 years ago from Arizona

      poetryman6969, I know what you mean, the combination of black and white can seem very impersonal. You can minimize its stark nature by incorporating small doses of other colors and lots of texture to make it more approachable.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      It's a very cool and stylish look. As for myself, it would be a little stark. I just like to look.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      A touch of black and it can do so much. Such an of elegance and sophistication. I always have at least one black piece in the room.

      Thanks for such a stylish hub! Rated up!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 7 years ago from Arizona

      Om, thanks for the rating! Yeah, B&W is not for everyone and certainly an entire house would be overkill. Used sparingly it makes a huge impact. Glad you enjoyed the hub!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

      Awesome. I like all the pictures. Although I love bright colors, I think black-and-white decoration is very classy. Rated this beautiful. :)

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 7 years ago from Arizona

      Hub_01, thanks for the comment! Glad you are following my hubs. Stay tuned for more interior design and fashion ideas!

    • profile image

      Hub_01 7 years ago

      nice hub, i like it, thanks for your sharing.

      good designer of black and white.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 7 years ago from Arizona

      Been there, done that (too many times to admit!) It's funny, you start out with a relatively simple plan that always ends up being much more involved (expensive) than you anticipate. I have to say that painting is my favorite decorating trick--it instantly changes the look of a room.

      Ooooh! I think that would be a great room to wake up to every morning! The sheets are an important first step, now you can gradually find the other bedding and room components.

      Let me know if you have any questions along the way. I'd love to help!

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      This information on black and white style is great lindacee, having just painted (which turned into a mini reno!) our house I'm going to use some of these tips. Oh to have a bedroom like the pic, well I have crisp white sheets, I guess that's a start.