Eijffinger Precious wallpaper from Verve Designer Collections

A complete contrast

Eijffinger Precious wallpaper from Verve Designer Collections

What could be more of a contrast than black and white?  These colours are at either end of the tonal scale and you really make a statement in your interior decorating when you partner these two colours, particularly if you do not use another accent hue.  When choosing colours, designers will think about mood first and foremost and nothing is quite as dramatic as the introduction of black into a decorating scheme.  Black is seductive, mysterious, elegant and sophisticated.  At the opposite end of the tonal scale is white.  Fresh, pure and clean it has been the mainstay of neutral decorating schemes for decades.

Black and White in history

Stunning lighting from H&H Collection

The pairing of black and white can be seen throughout the last century in fashion and textile design.  Chanel’s innovative design of the little black dress paired with creamy white pearls has been an enduring classic, epitomised by Audrey Hepburn in the 1950s as the height of style.

Black and white used together produces designs which have great definition.  Used often during the Art Nouveau period at the beginning of the 20th century, these colours placed together produced dramatic examples of geometric and linear designs which have been revived during the 1960s and again recently.

The Art Deco period which spanned from 1910 through to the 1930s was a natural extension of the Art Nouveau period.  Black and white floor tiles were used extensively in Art Deco interior design and black and white striped animal skins were also very popular.  Sofas were veneered or lacquered in black.

Black and White in Interior Decorating

This range of black and white paints from Dulux shows how many variations there are to black and white colours.  Don’t assume that you have to just use absolute black or white for your colour selections.  A colour will appear black but it may have a green or blue or even a red base and this can be quite useful to soften the colour slightly.  Whites can be slightly grey or have a different colour base and again this makes them easier to use in interior decorating projects.

Marimekko wallpaper from Inhabit Wallcoverings

A colour combination used so successfully in fashion and in textile designs to provide elegant, sophisticated and dramatic appeal will also work well in broader decorating terms.  Although ambitious and to many quite daunting the use of black for painting surfaces can create the ultimate in luxurious, contemporary style. The use of black in interior design can manipulate a space more than any other colour. Corners of rooms can be almost lost when painted black and this is then a striking contrast for an elegant white chair or lamp.  If you paint the wall at the end of a long corridor in black you will visually shorten the space which can be very effective.  It can also be very effective in commercial enviroments to paint ceilings black as this lowers the ceiling height considerably ensuring that the space is more closed in and cosy.

Black and White Wallpapers

As the wallpaper trend is firmly entrenched in interior design today there are a myriad of different designs to choose from.  This is a great way to introduce black and white into an interior decorating scheme and can be very effective, even for just a feature wall.

Black and White Fabrics

Of course, you can introduce black and white into your design with fabric too. Simple white bed linen and white bedspreads always work well in bedrooms as the effect is crisp and clean.  Cushions with hints of black really lift this look or a bedhead covered in a good quality black linen will look very effective.  Black and white linen is also a good choice for lampshades too.  Simple black curtains in a good quality fabric left to pool on the floor look great against a crisp white wall.

 

 

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