Proof This Color Combo Is the Most Versatile Palette of All

published Sep 14, 2017
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(Image credit: Federico Paul)

Did you catch this rad house tour from Buenos Aires? Each room was bursting with bold design elements balanced and mixed to perfection. But something about the living room really stuck out to me: it’s an excellent example of the versatility of a black and white color palette. In other words, if you’re someone who gets tired of the same look after awhile and you like to mix it up, take some notes from this home. It’s a room with design ideas that work with any style and make it easier to change up the look on a whim.

So it’s not just that this living room features a lot of black and white that makes it such a successful base for mixing up looks. It’s how black and white was used.

Black and white builds a strong visual base for the room:

  • An energetic, geometric black and white rug anchors the room and sets the scene for a bold black and white color palette punctuated by vibrant accents.
  • A solid black sofa in a striking shape partnered with a comfy black side chair solidifies the design’s direction.
  • Black accessories in different “visual weights” — a modern black lamp and lampshade on the left and a small black side table on the right — emphasize the drama.
  • Black frames on neutral art is a graphic choice.
  • The final (brilliant) cherry on the palette’s top is the array of black and white patterned/graphic pillows. By choosing pillows with busy patterns as well and placing them in the same room as the already visually strong geometric striped rug, there’s a contrast and an energy brought into the room’s look. It now feels so vibrant and spirited.
  • The rest of the room features either white (in the coffee table), wood (in other furniture) or metal (like the other side chair).

In other words, it’s a beautiful room even before any color is added. BUT, by adding in a few other colorful accessories (in this case, all yellow accents), another interesting layer is created in the room. It’s an example of how easily you can change the way a room feels just by changing the color of your accents!

Click through the gallery of photo-manipulated room images below. I’ve turned the yellow accents in the original room — a yellow poster, a small chair, a side table, a throw pillow — different colors. You’ll be able to see that while the bold black and white base doesn’t go anywhere, different accent colors give a different feel to the room. See how warmer colors affect the space versus cooler colors. What if there are no accent colors at all?

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Pink accents (Image credit: Federico Paul)

Use this beautiful living room’s design as inspiration for how to build your own bold black and white design “base.” And then, choose some accents in a color that resonate with you Remember: with a strong base, you’ll be able to easily change out a few colorful accents and forcibly affect the room’s look — no matter how often you change your mind.