A Designer’s No-Fail Secrets to One of the Most Powerful Color Palettes

published Aug 23, 2016
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(Image credit: Glen Allsop)

A black and white color palette is a powerful one, no matter what style of home it’s used in. Its potency lies in the contrast between two such distinct opposites. Its success depends on how you balance those two opposites. In this post, designer Stephanie Michaan of The Interior shares a few simple secrets about black and white color palettes.

It can work with just about any decor style

Stephanie Michaan: I love using neutrals, especially black and white. Using mainly white is somewhat my signature. I love how it enables a room to change so easily using accents in small things like flowers, throw pillows, a new bed spread. Black is so classic and combining the two works in most scenarios like a casual beach house or a more formal New York apartment. What appeals to me the most using black and white is how timeless it is. I don’t like to be too trendy and am always drawn to things that will last.

(Image credit: Tim Williams Photography)

You should warm it up with wood

Stephanie Michaan: One of the easiest ways to cozy up a black and white palette is to add warm tones through wood. I love using a variety of woods but keeping it all very simple and subtle. A quality oak floor with white walls and black details reads very classic to me. One of my favorite chairs are the Wishbone chairs by Hans Wegner in ash or the natural wood. They add a touch of wood without overpowering a minimal design.

(Image credit: Glen Allsop)

Less is more

Stephanie Michaan: Less does attain more in this case. I think it is actually easier to create a bold home without too much color and focusing on one main piece of furniture or art that makes a room pop. By using black and white you create a blank canvas that will set the stage for a piece with a wow factor. I have an over-sized, soft blue water print hanging in a room that is all white. Most of the smaller furniture is black (the lamp, coffee table, accessories) but what everyone notices is the blue print because it stands out in a neutral palette.

(Image credit: Glen Allsop)

Start with white

Stephanie Michaan: My advice for those who don’t use a lot of black and white is try using more white then black. I love black but white is easier to work with and using black as an accent creates a more subtle look to begin with, then you can have fun adding personality with smaller items.

→ Stephanie shared both a previous home she lived in for six years and the current home she lives in now with Apartment Therapy. You can find her at The Interior website and Instagram.