Tricks of the Trade: How Designers Warm Up Black & White Rooms

published Nov 19, 2014
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(Image credit: Viv Yapp)

Black and white is a great color combination: it’s classic, it’s sophisticated, you don’t have to worry about whether things match. But sometimes the combo of black and white can be a bit stark. How do you create a monochromatic interior that feels elegant without being forbidding? Here are some ideas to make your rooms look sophisticated with this classic color scheme, but still livable and comfortable.

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(Image credit: Victor Hoffman)

Above: this room, from a Hong Kong home, has warm wood elements and various finishes (like metallics) to keep the black and white interior from feeling too stark.

(Image credit: Maca Atencio)

Pops of bright yellow make this Montreal kitchen with stunning black-and-white tiles look so much more fresh and fun.

(Image credit: Julia Steele)

Another way to make black + white work: add a little shine. Spotted in this Memphis bungalow.

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

This black and white New York City studio apartment has a certain richness to it, thanks to patterned pillows and lots of interesting textures.

(Image credit: Elaine Musiwa)

Colorful accents (like this color-coded bookshelf) can help ground a black and white interior, like in this Brooklyn rental.

(Image credit: Victor Hoffman)

Plants can make a black-and-white room (or any room for that matter) feel so much warmer and cozy, like in this California home.