Black and white room ideas – 12 inspiring two-tone schemes
These black and white room ideas prove how monochrome needn't be mundane
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Black and white room ideas my be regarded by some as a plain choice, but with the right treatment this classic two-tone pairing can make a real impact and used to create myriad styles and looks.
Used together in their pure forms, black and white can really turn heads and are perfect for creating a dramatic and sophisticated feel, or, when softened with an array of grey tones, black and white can be used to create a laid-back monochrome scheme. Alternatively, a black and white room can be a great neutral base for layering colorful furniture, pattern accessories and artwork.
If you're thinking of decorating with black and white then you're in the right place, as we've rounded up a host of stunning room ideas to help get you inspired, along with some handy tips from interiors experts.
Black and white room ideas – 12 two-tone schemes
Designing black and white room ideas can be tricky, as black is a dominant and powerful shade. However, used in the right way it can really transform interiors, whether used wall-to-wall as part of a striking black living room idea, as an accent in a white room, or as part of a perfectly balanced scheme.
'We feel the color adds drama, strength and solidity to a space. It can either be used to create a bold feature wall, or if that isn’t your style it can be incorporated in more subtle ways via accessories and furniture,' says Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown.
'Black works well with white and soft greys to create a classic or monochrome look, it also surprisingly works with soft muted pastels for a calmer take on this dramatic trend,' she adds.
1. Use black and white to bring wow-factor to a kitchen
A black kitchen is a bold decision, but it can look extremely effective, especially when teamed with white veined marble and brass.
'Black is our new love, we introduced it a few years ago here at deVOL and I think people were a bit scared, but it’s in full flow now,' says Helen Parker, deVOL (opens in new tab)'s creative director. 'Think late night bars, speakeasies and restaurants in New York City for the look, big grand kitchen cupboards and especially big islands painted black with some brass for the foot rails or aged copper for the worktops and certainly a splash of softly rounded Carrara marble, which just isn’t ever going to go out of fashion.'
2. Make a statement with black living room walls
It can be daunting using dark living room paint ideas wall-to-wall, however blacks and charcoals can be perfect for creating intimate and cocooning environments.
'The paler the tone, the more it will reflect the available light, the darker the tone, the more light it will absorb. At the extremes, white will make a room look more spacious, and black will bring the walls visually inwards,' says Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown (opens in new tab).
In this black and white living room idea the white mirror, white architrave and white artwork help lighten the space, while the introduction of wood through the drawers and frames helps to soften the stark contrasts.
3. Try a black feature wall
If you're cautious about an all-black scheme then why not try using black on a single feature wall? This can be a great way to make a statement as well as being a clever zoning device.
'Painting the wall behind your room’s focal point, be it a sofa or desk, is a great and easy way of creating separate zones within a space,' says Justyna Korczynska.
Adding living room mirrors, as done here, will help maximize the light while a light grey rug will calm the two-tone black and white scheme and bring softness underfoot.
4. Take a cue from the architecture
A pared-back palette of white, black and soft neutral tones can be a wonderful way to showcase beautiful architectural features, as demonstrated in this stunning open plan living room designed by Sean Anderson (opens in new tab).
Walls in off-white let the natural stone of the chimney breast and architectural black arched doors take centre stage, while the weathered beams make a beautiful focal point overhead.
The muted palette is the perfect base for showcasing sculptural furniture and accessories including contemporary stick back chairs that cleverly echo the design of the doors, as well as a statement living room ceiling light.
5. Go for a white sofa in a black living room
Used together in their pure forms black and white can be jarring, so if you're looking to use it in a living room then it's important to make sure the tones are balanced by introducing equal amounts of both, as well as layering plenty of cozy textures.
In this space the white sofa, white living room flooring and white artwork all combine to temper the strong black walls. Opting for a textured black fabric over cushions and furniture, such as the black velvet here, will help to bring softness and coziness to a black and white scheme.
6. Introduce black through furniture
If wall-to-wall black is too much for you, consider using it as an accent in a white living room over furniture and accessories as done here in this space by Corine Maggio. This black painted bookshelf idea helps bring a sophisticated feel as well as structure and depth to the neutral space.
'This is one of my favorite living rooms we've done because it's so stately without being stuffy. The built-ins were existing but we painted them and added the gold wallpaper to strengthen that wall and separate them from the fireplace,' says interior designer Corine Maggio of CM Natural Designs (opens in new tab).
'The rest of the furnishings we kept neutral with just a slight hint of orange here and there. The neutral elements, which play on both modern and traditional forms are meant to feel as though they were acquired over time and the slight bit of orange was meant to help add a youthful and unexpected element.'
7. Create a chic home office with black and white
Home office ideas need to be practical, but they should also be inspiring and stylish spaces where you enjoy spending time. In this space interior designer Corine Maggio used a palette of black and white alongside streamlined furniture to create a sophisticated two-tone space.
'We wanted this office to have a stately, masculine feel and the dark built-in gave that sense of confidence and strength while also being very sophisticated,' says Corine Maggio.
8. Make a statement with a black and white floor
Hallways are a great place to be bold with decor as they're the first space visitors see when entering your home, plus their transient nature means you can afford to be a bit more daring.
A high gloss black and white tiled hallway flooring idea is guaranteed to turn heads and is a fabulous way to set the tone for a classic yet luxurious look. finishing the space with metallic accessories and a statement mirror will help add to the glamorous feel.
9. Soften black and white with warm accents
Black and white bedrooms can have a tendency to feel cold, especially those with dark walls which is becoming increasingly popular, but adding in warm metallics as well as softer grey tones will help the space feel more inviting.
'While in previous years cool greys alongside silver and high gloss tones were fashionable, we are using deeper, darker greys or even near-blacks in some of our bedrooms,' says Charu Gandhi, founder and director of Elicyon (opens in new tab).
'These richer tones envelop you as you enter the room and add coziness. To avoid the room feeling sombre, it’s important to pair grey with pops of color and texture in accessories such as pillows or throws or artwork.’
10. Pair marble with black for a luxurious bathroom
Due to their transient nature, bathrooms are a fantastic place to be daring with decor and a high contrast black and white scheme with pops of gold is guaranteed to bring wow factor.
In this black and white bathroom by Meyer Davis the black walls and ceiling idea contrast beautifully with the luxurious veined marble helping to really show it off.
'We tried to search for the darkest vein in the stone and match that,' says William Meyer, one of the principals of Meyer Davis (opens in new tab), of the process behind choosing the wall color.
'The walls complement the blackened steel at the leg of the vanity, and at the same time the coolness in the black adds contrast to the warmth and fiery qualities of the brass.'
11. Add a statement rug
For a monochrome living room that's easier to live with than a space with strong contrasts, consider decorating with grey and introducing black and white through homewares and accessories such as a statement rug.
'Similar to how dark walls can transform a small room or a patterned wallpaper can bring interest to otherwise dull space, a patterned carpet is an inspired way to make a feature of a smaller room,' says Jodie Hatton, design manager at Brintons (opens in new tab).
While wall color is difficult to change, a rug can easily be rolled up and switched should tastes evolve.
12. Use black and white for an urban look
When designing this high rise apartment, black and white was the palette of choice for creating an urban, contemporary look.
'This living room was done for a busy family living in a beautiful high rise building. While they live in the suburbs of NY, living in the high rise offered us the ability to really embrace city living and capitalize on the views of the building,' says Malka Helft, principal designer at Think Chic Interiors (opens in new tab).
'Opting for a clean color palette of black and white in this living space not only works with the crisp & modern design of high rise living, it also lays a neutral backdrop for bringing the beautiful outside view in.'
How do you soften a black and white room?
There are many ways to soften a black and white room from the addition of warm accent colors to ambient lighting.
If you're looking to maintain a monochrome mood, then try layering different tones of grey to help soften stark black and white, alternatively soft pastel shades can work well, particularly blush pink for a chic and elegant look.
Black and white bedrooms and living rooms can have a tendency to feel cold, but adding in plenty of texture through fabrics, cushions, throws and finishes will bring instant coziness and softness.
The power of a well-planned lighting scheme should not be underestimated and can instantly make cold, monochrome spaces feel warm and welcoming. ‘Shaded or dimmable lighting is always best for creating mood lighting. The color of the bulb is equally important and so our LED bulbs are all dimmable and all in a warm white color,' says Scarlett Hampton, also Founder of Lights & Lamps (opens in new tab).
Is black and white good for bedroom?
Black and white can make a great foundation for decorating a bedroom as they are both neutral shades meaning they can be paired with many other colors, materials and textures to create layered and unique looks.
If you're after a luxurious look then you can't go wrong with high contrast black and white schemes, alternatively, for a space that's more tranquil consider switching black for softer grey shades and introducing textural natural materials such as wood, rattan and linen to channel the calming influence of nature.
Pippa is Content Editor on Homes & Gardens online contributing to Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors print issues. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.
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