JENNIFER BACKSTEIN INTERIORS

Living in Black & White

I love working with black and white. This is a shape-shifting motif that’s capable of portraying a variety of personalities, while always serving up a hefty dose of drama. This is particularly true when black and white are the only ones in the room. When deciding on a black-and-white motif, the stark contrast between bright white and bottomless black is breathtaking when done correctly. Here are some tips when designing a black and white space.

Mix It Up!

Since your colour choices for this motif are limited to just two (and technically black and white aren’t even “colours”) we must seek out other ways to deliver some visual interest. Vary your materials, finishes/sheen, pattern and texture, to add variety. Natural wood and metals are a sort of colourless neutral element that is a good complement to this palette, since it won’t detract from the black and white, but adds depth.

Let It Evolve.

What makes black-and-white a timeless style is not necessarily that it is independent of time, but perhaps rather that it adapts and evolves with it. Luckily, this particular palette is very versatile and easy to update with the latest in textures and patterns – without ever sacrificing that “black and white” aesthetic. When your tastes change, wallpaper, paint, upholstery and pillows are a relatively easy and cost-effective update.

Let The Motif Do The Talking.

A black and white look is innately bold, and usually needs very little else to make the space “pop.” This palette commands the eye to certain punctuation points throughout the space, so choose them carefully. Where would you like to draw attention? If your room is predominantly white, consider adding black window coverings to highlight a great view, or a dark and dramatic piece of artwork perched over the fireplace. Offset this strong character with simplicity elsewhere in the room. Opt for clean lines and a measured use of pattern to keep it simple.

Get Lit.

Lighting is an incredibly important element in any interior, but even more so where black is a predominant colour. Black, and especially matte black, is like a black hole for low light and reflections, absorbing it and running the risk of going “flat.” Illuminate a black room with ample ambient lighting and light up dark corners with some focussed light sources, to showcase its size and shape. If your space is graced with great natural light, let it shine and amplify it with a large, strategically positioned mirror.

There’s an unmistakeable elegance and classic appeal that accompanies a black-and-white interior. The high-contrast look intrigues and invites, and let’s be honest – with people spending more time indoors, couldn’t we all use a little added drama at home?

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