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Black And White Decor (Part 2): Choosing The Right Room

Bright, bold colors have been trending in the home, from assertive reds and oranges to emerald greens and this year’s radiant orchid from Pantone. So you might be surprised to learn that one of this year’s top color trends doesn’t actually use any color at all. A striking black and white decor is becoming a popular choice for just about every room in the home. If gem tones aren’t up your alley, consider opting instead for a high contrast, dramatic black and white palette.

Bathroom

A Guest Bathroom Is The Perfect Petite Canvas To Try Out A Really Daring, Glamorous Black And White Decor (by Martha O'Hara Interiors, photo by Troy Thies)
A Guest Bathroom Is The Perfect Petite Canvas To Try Out A Really Daring, Glamorous Black And White Decor (by Martha O’Hara Interiors, photo by Troy Thies)

If there’s one room that’s really getting the black and white treatment a lot this year, it’s the bathroom. Black counter tops are just as in vogue in the bathroom as they are in the kitchen, but right now the trend is to actually go for a slightly more daring look. I’m talking patterned black and white wallpaper, black grout on white tile, and even patterned upholstery and shower curtains – the more intricate the better. Because bathrooms are typically rather small spaces, they tend to be some thing of a splurge room, where homeowners and designers opt for that really daring look they love, but maybe not enough to put in the living room. If you’re just testing the waters, consider hanging black and white linens and installing a black toilet seat (another very popular trend this year).

Hallway

A Black And White Hallway Has A Striking, Artistic Quality That's Incredibly Easy To Attain And Won't Spill Over Into The Rest Of Your House (by Dumican Mosey Architects)
A Black And White Hallway Has A Striking, Artistic Quality That’s Incredibly Easy To Attain And Won’t Spill Over Into The Rest Of Your House (by Dumican Mosey Architects)

Hallways are probably the easiest place to try out a black and white decor. Hallways are transitional areas that are limited both in scope and visibility, so if you wind up not liking the look, you won’t be at a huge loss. But a black and white hallway can have a great payoff, too. Hanging black and white photos or artwork in black frames creates a gorgeous display with inherent visual unity, and painting the outsides of doors or cabinets along the hallway can beautifully punctuate the space, creating a lovely sense of contrast that won’t intrude on any of the surrounding rooms.

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Entryway

Black And White Entryways Have A Stunning, Grand Apearance That Will Set An Elegant Tone For The Rest Of Your Home (LDa Architecture & Interiors, photo by Sam Gray Photography)
Black And White Entryways Have A Stunning, Grand Apearance That Will Set An Elegant Tone For The Rest Of Your Home (LDa Architecture & Interiors, photo by Sam Gray Photography)

Entryways are another ideal place to try out this look for a couple reasons. Like a hall or bathroom, it’s a relatively small space, meaning it isn’t quite as big an endeavor to pull off as it would be in a larger space like the kitchen or living room. It’s also a great choice because what you do in the entryway sets the tone for the rest of the house. A white staircase with black railing and steps, paired with dramatic accents like a black chandelier has a grand, elegant appearance that will immediately cue guests in to the designer style of your home, even if the rest of it isn’t done in black and white.

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Kitchen

Adding Even A Little Bit Of Black To A White Kitchen Can Really Freshen Up The Look (by Historical Concepts, photo by Laurey W. Glenn of Southern Living)
Adding Even A Little Bit Of Black To A White Kitchen Can Really Freshen Up The Look (by Historical Concepts, photo by Laurey W. Glenn of Southern Living)

Last year, white kitchens were all the rage. But with the growing popularity of  bolder, more colorful kitchens, the classic white kitchen needs a little extra something to keep pace. That’s one of the reasons black counter tops are so popular this year: without changing anything else, it adds a stunning pop of contrast that will breathe new life into the whole kitchen. Add in black bar stools at the kitchen island, dark finished industrial lighting fixtures (which are also quite popular this year), and maybe a few other dark accents for a slightly more dramatic look that will keep your white kitchen on trend.

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Dining Room

Black And White Dining Rooms Have A Glamorous, Formal Feel That Makes Them Perfect For Entertaining (by Kristin Drohan Collection and Interior Design)
Black And White Dining Rooms Have A Glamorous, Formal Feel That Makes Them Perfect For Entertaining (by Kristin Drohan Collection and Interior Design)

Despite the trend toward bigger, more open kitchen floor plans, recently there’s been a lot of renewed interest in the formal dining room – with a strong emphasis on formal. Unlike very casual kitchen tables used for family dining, dining rooms are getting the full designer treatment – high backed upholstered chairs, chandeliers, and lots of glitz and glam for the guests. Black and white dining rooms are one of my favorite ways to get this look, as the contrast immediately establishes a very chic, glamorous look. Plus, because these are rooms that are used a little less frequently, it’s a great place for a look that’s a little more dramatic or daring than you might choose for a primary living space.

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Living Room

A Black And White Decor That's Predominantly White With Smaller Black Accents Will Have A Fresh, Minimalist Look And Feel Reminiscent Of Nordic Design (by Studio Revolution, photo by Thomas Kuoh )
A Black And White Decor That’s Predominantly White With Smaller Black Accents Will Have A Fresh, Minimalist Look And Feel Reminiscent Of Nordic Design (by Studio Revolution, photo by Thomas Kuoh )

That said, while a black and white decor can be very dramatic, it can also create a very clean, minimalist style. Rooms that are predominantly white but punctuated with fine black detailing have a very simple, open look and feel that’s strongly reminiscent of Nordic design. While a more avant-garde look emphasizes bold patterns and striking, unusual objects, a black and white living room with a European flair focus more on simple lines and more subtly eye-catching details. For any room, the proportion of black and white  you use will have a huge impact on the final look of the space, but this is especially true in a living room. Be sure to give some thought to whether you want a black sofa or a white one, and which color to paint the walls, as these two major features can really tip the balance.

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What do you think of a black and white decor? Do you prefer a look that’s more dramatic or more minimalist? What room are you considering giving a black and white treatment? For more ideas, check out part one of this article here.