By Amanda Shields
As a designer, I love working with black and white and as a homeowner, I love living it. Black and white are polar opposites, but as they say, opposites attract. This high-contrast motif brings the best of both worlds – dark and light, moody and fresh, complexity and simplicity. There’s a good reason this colour combination has been trending through the decades. Actually, there are a few.
Scrolling interior influencers in your social media feeds makes the job of decorating look easy, but for many it can be a real challenge. Black and white are the ultimate neutrals, making them super versatile and thus, easy to work with. Black and white go with every other colour scheme, from bold, vibrant hues to soft pastels, any material and metal. Aside form its easy-going nature, black and white pieces are also easy to source on the market, with almost every product and option available in these standard hues.
Black and white translate into any aesthetic style, whether classic, contemporary, minimalist or over-the-top. And while certain decorating trends can show their age as fashions come and go, black and white is essentially timeless, giving your décor longevity in the rapidly changing world of interior design. Then, as new trends take hold, it’s easy to give your home a quick and cost-efficient refresh with some accessories in the trending colour of the year.
Against a white backdrop, black accents really stand out. The neutrality of black and white makes them an ideal backdrop for other hues and patterns, too, such as a black-and-white living area with small but impactful hits of blue or yellow. Whether you are working with just black and white, or you’re adding other hues into the mix, consider the 60-30-10 ratio, which dictates that 60 per cent of the room to the dominant colour like white, 30 per cent to a secondary colour like black, and the remaining 10 per cent to the accent colour.
It makes a statement
Black and white can be used strategically to effectively highlight notable features and focal points in the home. Picture a white room with a bold, black fireplace, black-painted window casings and trim. If you’re not sold on this level of commitment, consider wallpapering a black feature wall behind your headboard, or invest in some large-scale paintings featuring black. Then, tie the motif back to the room with some black accessories and a lighting fixture, to create a cohesive look.
Tips for choosing a focal point: What is the first thing you see when you enter a room? It could be an architectural feature, such as a fireplace or a big bay window with a great view. Alternatively, the focal point might be the main piece of furniture, like the dining table and chairs. Identify the main focus in the room, and then add some oomph with a hit of black.
Putting principles into practice: Adding black to a white room can be as simple as swapping out cabinet hardware and plumbing fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom, painting your trim and doors, and adding lighting and accessories.
While white has always been a mainstay on the home décor scene and especially so throughout the last decade, black is often overlooked when choosing interior colour palettes – but frankly, it’s one of my favourite go-to’s. While some people are initially intimidated by this bold motif, working in black and white is easier than you might think. It just takes a little know-how!