igh-contrast but low risk, it’s hard to go wrong with a modern black-and-white room. The payoff far outweighs the stakes, and black-and-white décor is easy to pull off, easy to update, and easy on the eyes.
From modern farmhouse to midcentury modern, loud prints to small flourishes, you can interpret the two-note scheme a billion ways. Simple yet striking, we rounded up 10 rooms that hit a perfect balance of dark and light, with a tip for each to help you recreate the effect in your own home.
Think Top to Bottom
Black kitchens have been creeping up on the omnipresence of all-white kitchens, but the two colors work beautifully in harmony, too. The eye travels up and down the horizontal lines and planes in this kitchen, which stays streamline but grounded by its darker half.
If you love white cabinets but don’t want to your home to feel overly traditional, a black kitchen island adds both toughness and a sense of levit
Pick a Focal Point
Painting a door is an easy way to refresh a room, and this trick looks particularly stunning on a larger-scale entrance, like these sliding farm doors. It’s a functional statement that allows for added privacy if you want to close off the living room after someone’s bedtime.
Play With Patterns
There are countless opportunities and ways to weave in fun, monochromatic patterns. This tiled hallway is both lively and minimal, and the dark floor, the window paning, and the black pillows balance out the bright shiplap
Highlight Your Trim
“I am forever a fan of dark paint colors, especially in older homes. Adding black paint to a stately home really highlights the craftsmanship and beautiful trim work that should take center stage” Boston-based designer Liz Caan says. Plus, black paint can add a modern tie-in if you want to skew from traditional when furniture shopping.
Layer Different Sheens and Glosses
Black on black won’t look monotonous if you mix undertones and glosses. These sculptural sconces still pop against the more charcoal-leaning black wall, and the paint’s gloss helps reflect light in the small room.
Coordinate Your Art Frames
Mixing a combination of black and white frames with alternating matting looks cool yet casual, and you don’t need to spend hours on Pinterest to recreate this room, painted in Off-Black by Farrow & Ball. Plus, you’ll have an easier time finding affordable frames.
Keep it Simple
“Using dark paint colors has a big impact for a minimal amount of effort,” designer Kevin Dumais, founder of Dumais, says. “Spaces that have dark walls tend to need less decoration as well.” This bathroom uses Kitty Gray by Benjamin Moore to make the most out of a little.
When done well, shiplap and farmhouse décor can be far from cutesy and twee. Black vertical woodwork paired with white brick looks unexpected and sexy, combining textures and depths in a modern take on the classics.
Mix Shades of Black
Sticking to black and white décor is by no means limiting. Finishes, application styles, mediums, and so much more will impact the way a color reads in a room. Even at first glance, you can pick out five different shades of black in this modern living room. Similarly, you can take the same approach with shades of white and off-white.
Add a Metal Accent
Black cabinetry and aged, industrial brass hardware are a match made in design heaven, thanks to the increasing darkness as the alloy oxidizes. A marble countertop and geometric statement mirror keep this subway tile bathroom from looking overly retro, too.