Monday, 16 January 2017

Black and White Never Fails to Impress

Photography - Mark Pinkerton

Black and white is a powerful combination but how much is too much and how can it be softened to create a beautiful interior space...

Black and white looks fabulous because of the dramatic contrast, however, the combination of these two tones can be overpowering. Selecting the right furniture, lighting, tiles, carpets, rugs and fabrics can make the difference to creating a softer space, or going all out bold. Muted tones of grey introduced to a black and white bedroom can soften the overall look. Alternatively it can be used for a bold effect such as the hallway above.

If you follow 'The Block' (Australia), you may have recently seen Dan and Carleen feature black and white in their two art deco inspired bathrooms (below). Their first bathroom received criticism from the judges, however, the second bathroom was absolutely stunning and the space achieved the first 10 this season.

Above: Dan and Carleen's first bathroom appears top heavy and not at all relaxing. In my eyes there is too many heavy blocks of black as in the bath, corner cabinet and the art deco inspired tiling on the shower. However, I did love the floor tiles and I am glad they continued the theme in their second bathroom but in a more subtle and stylish way.
Above: Carleen and Dan's second bathroom shows a much more balanced space. The black and white theme doesn't dominate. The beautiful floor tiles are balanced by the simplicity of the white subway tiles on the walls. The room was finished off with a narrow trim of black along the top of the tiles, typical of the art deco period. Modern, art deco was what they were trying to achieve and I feel they most definitely hit the mark here. If you compare the two spaces you will see what I mean about the softer use of black and white (2nd bathroom) versus the bolder look (first bathroom).
Image via Sarah & Bendrix 
The Farmhouse
 image via Magnolia Homes, aka 'The Fixer Upper'
Kingsway Home
Above Black painted walls beside a white bookshelf and fire surround set the tone for this bold living room. A light grey (possibly silk) carpet, reflects light and softens the dark floorboards, brightening the overall look of this space - Image - Lisa Petrole Photography
Above: Black and white has always been a popular combination for bathrooms, but before you go all out, remember you will have to live with it a long time as bathrooms are expensive renovations - Image Olga Chetova
Above: A combination of a white table and black chairs with black and white cabinets gives this breakfast space a traditional look - Lisa Petrole Photography
Crisp Architects
Above: Black floor boards spiralling up a staircase make a grand entrance which is topped off by a simple but elegant black iron chandelier. Design by Crisp Architects
Inverness Circle
Above: Patterned wallpaper can be enhance any area and black and white is always striking - Design by Tobi Fairley Interior Design
Image via - Whiting Architects
Cape Dutch House
Above: An exterior showing how striking black and white can be - Image by Cure & Penabad you can see a previous post on this Cape Dutch House in Florida (previously posted).

I hope these images have given you some inspiration on using black and white. I personally like this combination and used it in my bedroom last year but have found that I do tend to tire of it after a while, so do think carefully before you dive into using it so as not to make costly mistakes.

Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world.


  1. Happy new year Lee. I like these black and white rooms and yet i've never been game enough to try. But they are definitely stylish.


    1. Happy New Year Jane, it has been a really hectic one with friends and relatives from overseas visiting New Zealand. I did a black and white bedroom last winter for myself with a black and white checked quilt but found it felt quite masculine and have abandoned it for this winter in favour of a soft, grey linen duvet which suits the relaxed coastal feel of what my bedroom was meant to depict.

      I must pop over to your blog and see what you have been up to.


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