7 Simple Ways to Decorate with Black and White
Do you have the guts to do an entire room in black and white? Decorating with this bold combination is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it might be best to start small—maybe with an accent like a vase, decorative box or lamp.
In most design circles, black and white style suggests timeless drama for the home. This duo is equally comfortable in retro, eclectic, contemporary or traditional homes. Whether you choose a little or a lot, black and white style will definitely make a design statement.
As you feel more confident, gradually incorporate an ottoman, rug or even a grouping of black and white prints into the space. For some, this level of saturation may be enough to satisfy. However, you may find yourself obsessed and wanting more. If so, try these simple ideas to up the black-and-white quotient in your home.
1. Sleek Elegance
Use black and white in the kitchen or bathroom to create classic elegance. Nothing looks more sophisticated than white subway tile paired with black honed granite or oiled, soapstone countertops. Break up an expanse of white shower tiles with a band of black mosaic glass tiles to add some sparkle. In the kitchen, Carrara marble floors provide a chic counterpoint to ebony kitchen cabinets.
Make it easy on yourself with a paint or wallpaper project in the powder room. This will give you an opportunity to decide if black and white is right for you. A small space translates into a smaller investment of time and money for the job. If you really love the look you can move on to a larger room.
2. Graphic Walls
Transform your walls into artful canvases with the addition of black-and-white wall coverings or paint techniques. Start with an accent wall or a small room and decide if you like the look. Check out wallpaper samples at paint stores and design centers. Once you’ve decided on a particular manufacturer and pattern go home and buy it online.
You can achieve a similar effect with paint for a fraction of the cost of wall coverings. If you like the graphic nature of black-and-white chevrons or stripes, simply measure, tape off the wall and paint away. You can even replicate an elaborate wallpaper pattern by using large-scale stencils and paint.
3. Curtain Call
Not quite ready to cover the walls in black and white? Do a test run by hanging black-and-white curtains in your room to create similar impact. This is also a great solution for apartment dwellers who can't paint the walls. Choose a pattern that suits your design personality whether it's modern stripe, traditional damask or exotic paisley. Curtains are the perfect way to experiment with black and white on a larger scale.
4. Accessory Ideas
Don’t forget to include accessories in your black-and-white design scheme. Keep it simple by looking for decorative items in either black or white. That way you can use them in future design incarnations. If you feel the need to include accessories with a black-and-white pattern, include in a couple of black-and-white throw pillows, a single vase or decorative box to spice it up a bit.
As hard as it might be, try not to get too carried away. Temper your black-and-white accessories with an accent color to offset the graphic contrast. A third color like yellow, red, chartreuse, turquoise, purple or blue will not detract—it creates visual interest giving your eye a place to rest in a sea of black and white.
5. Bedroom Drama
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. A theatrical black chandelier will look stunning set against the shimmering white ceiling.
6. Exterior Design
Take black and white style outside. Nothing reads traditional more than a white house with a black front door, shutters or awnings. Create the same feel for your patio.
Replace the dingy upholstery on your outdoor furniture with black and white striped cushions and pillows. Hang black-and-white curtains from your patio cover or pergola. Just like the interior, break things up by adding a splash of contrasting color in the form of a red front door or vibrant flower beds.
7. Creative Shopping
By now you’re wondering, “How can I budget for all of these great black-and-white design ideas?" Take advantage of online 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 allows. The true joy of design is in the inspiration and creation. If you consider your house as an on-going project you’ll appreciate the results that much more.
© 2010 Linda Chechar