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Publication Date: 2015-07-11

Design Insights

How To Decorate With Black-and-White

The classic color combination makes any room — from bathrooms to bedrooms — sophisticated, chic, and timeless. From horizontal stripes to graphic floor tile, designers share their favorite black-and-white decorating ideas.

Photography: Francesco Lagnese

Bold Bedroom. The bold horizontal stripes in the guest room in a San Francisco Victorian are "playful and modern," designer Ken Fulk says. What he calls "Rorschach inkblots" on the furry stools and rug loosen up the geometry. French silhouettes of children hang behind the Pottery Barn daybed.

Photography: Eric Piasecki

Graphic Patterns. Graphic patterns extend from the foyer in a Washington, D.C. town house through to the kitchen. "We both like snappy architectural solutions — like the patterned floor and striped wallpaper — that give black-tie panache to small spaces," designer Jeff Lincoln says of the house he designed with Hillary Thomas. The black and white of Montgomery 1 marble floor tiles by Ann Sacks and Block Print Stripe wallpaper by Farrow & Ball is reminiscent of Dorothy Draper.

Photography: Victoria Pearson

Glazed Tiles. In a Los Angeles, California, kitchen designed by Chris Barrett, glazed tile from Compas Stone makes a graphic backsplash.

Photography: Jeremy Samuelson

Bathroom Stripes. For a client who "wears lots of colors, and even more black and white," designer Stephen Shubel painted the walls of the master bath in bold black-and-white stripes. They complement the black-and-white master bedroom in the San Francisco house.

Photography: James Baigrie

Dramatic Details. For the 2014 Kitchen of the Year in San Francisco, designer Steven Miller creates a dramatic space for entertaining.

Photography: Jonny Valiant

Graphic Walls. In the 2013 Designer Visions Showhouse, Jamie Drake took cues from the geometric patterns and bold spirit of the building's lobby, covering foyer walls in Clarence House's Neisha Crosland Zebra. Rose console, Hudson Furniture. Nairobi mirror, Flair Home Collection. Bai jade vases, Robert Kuo.

Photography: Tim Street-Porter

Outdoor Stripes. The starting point for a 1939 Regency-style brick house in Beverly Hills was black and white. "In the original Regency period and in its Hollywood revival, black and white was de rigueur," says designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard. "It defines the architecture and creates the foundation for the rest of the color palettes." He covered roll-arm sofas and chairs in Perennials fabrics for a black-and-white outdoor living room.

Photography: Mikkel Vang

Dorothy Draper-Inspired. Designer Carleton Varney created a "young and snappy" kitchen in a 1929 Wisconsin cottage by using a black-and-white color scheme. Walls painted Benjamin Moore's Decorator's White set off by Unity and Embrace baskets made in Rwanda, The table was made by H.J. Martin and Son, the nationwide interior contracting company owned by the homeowners, Edward and Terri Martin. Catalina chairs from Ficks Reed. Through the doorway is an African wall-hanging from Hemingway Gallery. Striped bowl and pitcher, Crate & Barrel.

Photography: Tim Street-Porter

Tent-Like Terrace. "I love a tent room. The black and white stripes are a simple play on the look," says designer Mary McDonald says about the back terrace of this Los Angeles house. She carried the theme onto the porch's walls and trim with Ralph Lauren Paint's Bone Black and Atlantic Winter. Cabana Stripe Lagoon by Editions. Rug by Ballard Designs.

Photography: Jeremy Samuelson

Edwardian Kitchen. Dark cabinetry painted Benjamin Moore's Midsummer Night creates a classic Edwardian feeling in a San Francisco kitchen designed by Stephen Shubel. Spin barstools fromCrate & Barrel; light fixtures from Summer House; faucets by Waterworks.

Photography: Francesco Lagnese

Interesting Wallpaper. Lindsey Coral Harper papered the walls of a Charlotte, North Carolina, guest bathroom in a faux- stone pattern: Lee Jofa's Malachite. Sink fixtures by Waterworks. Mirror, Jonathan Adler.

Photography: Victoria Pearson

Traditionalist Foyer. "I'm a traditionalist at heart, and this is my David Adler foyer," says Windsor Smith, who chose statuary marble and Bateig Blue limestone for the floor of her Los Angeles house. The Entry Round Settee, from Windsor Smith Home, is upholstered in a Rogers & Goffigon silk. An old Venetian lantern and a new Venetian mirror add a glint of silver. The paint on the walls is Benjamin Moore's Titanium.

Photography: Karyn R. Millet

Black and White and Natural. Antique French twin beds and Ralph Lauren Home's Marlowe Floral wallpaper give a period look to a guest room in Tobi Tobin's Hollywood Hills farmhouse.

Photography: Victoria Pearson

Lacquered Walls. In a Houston house with Georgian bones and siren allure, the drama begins in a foyer swathed in Phillip Jeffries's Lacquered Walls in Eyeliner — a long-lasting vinyl that mimics lacquer and "fools everyone," designer Rob Southern says. For theatrical contrast, the shield-back English hall chairs are painted Benjamin Moore's White Dove. "If you're living in a neutral house and you have one black room, that room can anchor everything," he says. "Here, the black foyer and white stairwell allow you to live with all this color, all this pattern, without it feeling like a big confetti box."

Photography: Nathan Schroder

Black and White on a Budget. Designers and owners Craig Schumacher and Philip Kirk avoided an extensive kitchen remodel by painting existing cabinets Benjamin Moore Brilliant White and installing inexpensive black and white tile on counters and backsplashes. An extensive iron stone collection overflows from shelves to walls. Schumacher and Kirk collected enough quarters in the three ginger gars to buy a new flat-screen TV.


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