Today, we are going to explore the realm of black and white in interior design; a dynamic combination that transcends the boundaries of time and trends. As an interior designer with a passion for creating spaces that resonate with sophistication, I find the interplay of these two shades to be an endless source of inspiration.
The Monochrome Symphony
To fully appreciate the magic of black and white in interior design, one must first acknowledge their depth as shades. Monochrome, a definition, is ‘a photograph or picture developed or executed in black and white or in varying tones of only one colour.’
Black, far from being a singular, harsh entity, reveals a spectrum that extends from the deepest charcoal to softer, muted greys. Similarly, the world of white is a canvas painted with myriad tones: off-whites, cool whites, and a collection of warm or antiqued whites. It’s a monochrome symphony where each shade plays a crucial role in orchestrating the visual narrative of a space.
Using Black & White Together in Interior Design
The high contrast when using black and white together in interior design can create drama and elegance in a space. Despite the two colours being distinctly different (black often being associated with sophistication and professionalism, white on the other hand is symbolic of purity, cleanliness and a sense of peace), the clashing of the two worlds creates a unique combination.
This is a timeless merger of colour that can be seen throughout interior design through the ages – from classical designs (B&W was particularly popular during the art-deco period) continuing through to the modern contemporary home of today.
A great example of this is black and white floor tiling, a design choice that stands the test of time. Black and white floor tiles are a deliberate nod to the grandeur of classical design, grounding the entire narrative of a room. But they work equally well in a contemporary home design if executed correctly within the aesthetic of the space.
Black as the Accent
As an interior designer, I’ve come to appreciate black not just as a colour but as an accent – a design punctuation mark that adds a touch of timeless sophistication. Consider using black in the form of metal doors, window frames, or the structural elements of furniture; black emerges as an accent that elevates the entire aesthetic. The finish of black is an important consideration, dictated by the desired visual effect. Whether replicating the appearance of metal on timber frames or creating a matte yet subtly shiny surface, the finish becomes part of the overall effect that black can bring to a space.
Contrary to its reputation for harshness, black can be a study of softness. The key lies in the thoughtful introduction of shades of black, like grey or charcoal. Or consider the tones within the black; a black that has a blue or a green hue is much softer than a pure black colour. A well-balanced black becomes an artful design element, adding drama without overwhelming the senses.
I often like to use these darker tones for elements of the home such as a pillar in the middle of a room. If it can’t be removed (as it is required structurally), painting it in a darker tone or shade of black helps to disguise it, rather than draw attention to it. It’s a useful colour for railings, allowing the eye to be drawn to the pattern, rather than the quickly appearing imperfections of a shade of white.
Mixing & Matching Colours
When I meet with a client during our first consultation, I will always ask what colours they like, and what colours they dislike. Black and white aren’t always colours that come to mind, but they work effortlessly aside any colour of the spectrum, in their vast array of tones and shades.
My personal favourite colour to pair with black and white is tan. Not just tan, but the different variations of that particular shade, something about it works so well whether that be in interior design, outfit choices or the desert on your plate. Black and white are complimentary colours to any colour palette.
Black & White Backdrops
Black and white are also useful when dressing a room, as they make excellent colours for framing photographs or art, and they effortlessly work with any colour or shade. Black or white frames can enhance the visual appeal of the artwork they hold.
Black and white is a timeless combination that will work well within any design style, with any colour scheme and you will find these colours, in some shade or another, in all designs. If you are a fan of black and white and want to introduce it into your home and would like to work with an interior designer, please reach out to our studio.