This classic color combination in Catherine Zeta-Jones' living room 'transcends trends' – say design experts

The actress embodies 'the very essence of contrast' with the most sophisticated of all palettes – here's why it endures

Catherine Zeta-Jones
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Catherine Zeta-Jones is synonymous with her sophisticated style, and, of course, her interiors follow suit. The actress's Westchester County, New York, home is a trove of timeless design choices, led, not least, by the most sociable room of her home. 

'When my Welsh friends get together at my house, we always end up here. Singing Welsh songs to Americans who can't understand but love it all the same. Flashback to Thanksgiving chez moi,' Catherine says. The space in question is her living room, where her elegant taste in decor truly comes into play – starting with its monochromatic color scheme.

Catherine's living room follows a black-and-white palette, from the light walls to the statement black piano that juxtaposes against the soft furnishings. It's a combination that has already impressed in the most regal of homes for centuries – but design experts say its popularity is unlikely ever to waver. 

'Black and white color schemes have a classic appeal that transcends trends and styles. They embody the very essence of contrast, which is a fundamental principle in art and design, making them forever relevant,' comments Andrea Hundley, the founder of Design Morsels.

'I've worked on several homes over the years where a black and white [scheme] has seamlessly evolved with changing decor trends while maintaining its sophistication and allure.' What do we need to know when following Catherine's lead?

Firstly, Andrea says we should start with a white base, just as the actress demonstrates. 'Starting with a white background makes the space feel open and airy. In a recent project, I used white paint on the walls and ceiling, which served as a blank canvas, allowing the black furniture and decor elements to take center stage,' she says. 

Interior Design Expert
Andrea Hundley
Interior Design Expert
Andrea Hundley

Andrea Hundley is a Texas-based interior expert and founder of the home decor platform Design Morsels. She launched the design business after completing the New York School of Art & Design’s Interior Design Program, and her advice often frequents international design publications. 

After creating a backdrop with white paint, we should look to introduce black in various forms. Catherine has done so with her grand piano, lighting, and side tables, but the opportunities are vast. 

'It could be a sleek black console table, a statement-making black mirror, or even a black door. A black and white patterned rug or wallpaper can also add interest and texture to the space,' she says.

Black and white living room with a fireplace

(Image credit: Michael Sinclair / Future)

Lastly, as Andrea reminds us (in all its timelessness), decorating with black and white can sometimes feel cold. Therefore, incorporating some subtle pockets of color is often welcome. Lush indoor plants are a way to accentuate our room, and of course, these, too, continue to transcend any passing trends. 

'A touch of green can breathe life into a black-and-white room. Whether it's a large potted plant or a small arrangement on a console table, greenery can add a splash of color without detracting from the monochrome look,' she comments.

'For one of my clients, a tall fiddle leaf fig in a black pot against a white wall became a striking focal point in the space.'

We're tapping into the look with these monochromatic picks (some of which are inspired by Catherine Zeta-Jones) below. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.