It’s a dramatic pairing, and has long been a popular scheme for the home. Some designers have built their entire career from recommending variations on black & white colour schemes for their clients. But why is it such a popular pairing?
To begin, we need to go right back to 7thgrade science, and look at light refraction. White light is made from the presence of all colours, while black is an absence of all colour… not exactly what you’d expect!

White’s Attributes

White is a blank canvas; perfect, whole and pure… basically the entire reason why western brides wear white. It’s also symbolic of new beginnings, peace and freedom, which is why some cultures associate white with death… the end of one life and the beginning of another.
Being pure light, white creates glare and can over stimulate the senses… Some people who opt for an all-white décor in their home report interrupted sleep, increased stress and migraines. A soft white or coloured white may be better in this case.
White symbolises cleanliness and is the uniform of doctors, dentists and chef’s for this very reason. However because of these associations, large quantities of white can give the feeling of coldness, sterility, isolation & emptiness. 

Black’s Attributes

Black as the absolute opposite of white, is mysterious and secretive, often used to keep things disguised… we’ve all been told about the ‘slimming nature’ of black clothing, for instance. As black absorbs light it recedes allowing other features to stand out.
In western culture black symbolises death and mourning. Interestingly many teenagers go through a phase where they will wear and surround themselves with only black, perhaps symbolising the ‘death’ of their childhood.
Black has a strong link to authority and power, sophistication and elegance.
Prone to depression? In large amounts it may cause depression… especially in teenagers.

Black & White in the Home

What black hides, white will uncover. Remember this when combining black and white in your home. You’ll find like the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang, equal proportions of black and white will bring balance to one another. However each can be used in a lesser amount as a feature, standing out from its opposite.

The effect of the pairing can be extremely dramatic and so is not suited to every design style. It lends itself to Art Deco, Mid Century Modern/Scandi, Contemporary and Hollywood Glam décor styles.

If you want to go really bold:

* Introduce graphic patterns – herringbone, trellis, chevron, checkerboard, etc.

* Add metals – gold tones look very luxe with a black & white colour scheme and are so on-trend! Silver also looks fab.
* Include mirrors – mirrors and mirrored furniture add an element of Hollywood Glam as well as making any space appear larger.

* Mix different textures & finishes – combine glossy with matt, textural with sleek, pattern with plain… the combinations are endless!

If you find a black and white palette a little too bold, try introducing a third colour. Adding a pop of colour can take the edge off the drama of a black and white scheme. Rich colours such as wine, emerald green, peacock blue, plum and olive as well as bright colours from a gelato palette will work fabulously. You can also add timber to give the scheme a more earthy feel.

Love the look of a black and white colour scheme, but don’t know how to make it work in your home? Give Creative Colour Solutions a call on 0416 190 792 or email [email protected] to book an appointment with Jenny.



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