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Black and White – How Modernize This Classic Color Combination

What images come to mind when you think of black and white? The glamour of old Hollywood films, a classic Chanel suit, the iconic Vans checkers, the Michael Jackson song? No matter the era, "black and white" has been a mainstay in our global culture. It is considered one of the most iconic color combinations in interior design history for its timelessness and versatility. From bohemian and natural to whimsical and bold using a black and white base can cater comfortably to many design sensibilities.

Ironically, both black and white are noted as having a "lack of color," yet with this combination, the color certainly does matter. Making the right paint choice can determine the total look and feel of the room.

"Many people are intimidated by a black and white color combination for fear it will come off too modern and minimalist, but in reality, its crisp palette provides the perfect backdrop to express your personal style." - Philippa Radon

Click here to read more about choosing the right white and click here to learn about our favorite black (and near-black) paint colors!

What's your black and white style? 


This look is for you for those who appreciate the glamour of old Hollywood and black and white movies. Think gold light fixtures, art deco patterns, and classic regency furniture styles. You can really express your inner diva when choosing accessories for this look. From luxurious velvet and bold accents to shimmering brass details and geometric patterns, the elegant Hollywood Regency decor became popular in the 1930s and 40s (in Hollywood, natural). Known for embracing art deco style and eye-catching pieces, this style will undoubtedly take center stage!


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As life outside our four walls gets more complicated and overwhelming, many of us are embracing the art of simplicity. A black and white color palette seems custom made for this design style, which is often used to accent the beauty of structures and architectural accents. Using a monochromatic color scheme can advance the minimalism theme by focusing on clean lines and pure, uncluttered beauty--and of course, an amazing view!


Bohemian Outdoors

Black and white color schemes play well with others, even those that covet lush surroundings, lots of foliage, texture, and a bohemian, lived-in vibe. Especially when paired with natural elements, you'll find that black and white adds a sophisticated air to this laid-back look.


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When thinking of a kids' room color scheme, black and white are not typically what comes to mind. However, it provides an unexpected canvas for various colors and patterns when paired with the right accents. You can go monochrome with greys, add subtle softness with pastels or add bright splashes of color for a dose of whimsy. Etsy has an abundance of creative kid's room accessories! Check out the unique black and white artwork from Kubem Studio. Adding lots of texture and playful elements helps warm up the room and complete the look.


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It seems like everywhere you look, home exteriors are touting this black and white combo on the outside. This transitional/traditional look exudes a classic, contemporary vibe and looks stunning when surrounded by nature.

Black and white definitely seems to be a new trend these days with monochromatic exterior builds. Transitional traditional style or even the contemporary barn style tends to be more dominant in black than white. It seem to confirm the psychology of this color pairing standing for decisiveness. Add some landscape greenery to accent either direction and its a match made in heaven.  - Philippa Radon

Our Favorite Black and White Accent Colors 

Emerald Green = Chic & Confident

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Wood and Natural Tones = Grounded & Earthy 

Blush and Mid-tone Greys = Clean, Nordic-inspired palette 

 Click here for more mood boards and inspiration!

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