Decorating with Black & White

By Kate Riley March 9, 2012

I’ve had black and white interiors on my mind for months now, every time I see one it jumps out at me, not for lack of color obviously but for the way the well thought out black and white space is both classic and modern all at once and with little or no color to assist.  Like the classic black and white film or photograph, I find these spaces so sophisticated, elegant and divine!  It’s the high contrast that I’m so drawn to – how the whites deepen the blacks, and the blacks brighten the whites. 

I’m fascinated how much personality exists in these multilayered spaces both casual and formal.  Here are some of my most favorites to inspire, punctuated by a few fun objects for your home.

black and white staircase style at home

Style at Home


eddie ross black and white bedroom

Eddie Ross


vase and dominoes

Raya vase; Bone dominoes


celerie kemble black and white book

Celerie Kemble’s Black & White on Amazon


black and white storage center house to home

House to Home


keith scott morton black walls

Keith Scott Morton 


black and white endtables ottoman

Ottoman; Lacquer End Tables


beta plus publishing black dresser

Beta Plus


lily fi blog bedroom



black and white pillows

Bukhara pillow; Greek Key pillow; Ikat pillow


black and white lily fi blog


black and white contrast lonny mag nov dec 2011



likainen parketti bedroom via the veda house

the veda house


black and white room

Vaalean Punainen Hirsitalo


ikea and adler rug

Nixon rug; Stockholm rug


black and white kitchen bella mancini

Bella Mancini Design


jamie laubin houzz

Jamie Laubhan-Oliver on Houzz


lonny black and white office



outdoor black and white tablescape eddie ross

Eddie Ross

black and white place settings

Labyrinth Dinnerware; Nixon Place Setting


mary macdonald dining nook

Mary McDonald


black and white from style at home

Style At Home

If you’re looking for a great collection of interiors highlighting this chic combo, pick up Celerie Kemble’s Black & White (and a Bit in Between) – it’s also filled with 350+ pages of timeless interiors where Celerie offers her best tips on pulling off this sophisticated palette, it’s on my bookshelf and I love it.

black and white celerie kemble


What about you?  Do you love black and white spaces too?  Ever decorated with just this palette in your own home? 


*Please pin to original source – click on image for source.



  1. I love black and white in my wardrobe. Not so much in decor but to each his own. It is pretty and clean looking just not my taste.

  2. Mmmm I love it! I especially adore the use of plants in black and white spaces – even a small, simple plant looks so vibrant and lush in a black and white room.

    Jessica Helgerson designed one of my favorite houses on the planet – the living spaces are all black and white and personally, the plants and cut flowers help make each room.

  3. The one that stuck out to me as the most impressive is the one outdoors with the bright green grass.. so it appears I am a color person haha :)

  4. You know, I haven’t necessarily stuck with black and white, but inadvertently, I have decorated with an entirely brown pallet. Beige carpets, darker brown sofas, latte walls, and this horrid linoleum speckled with various shades of, you guessed it, brown. I bought a red rug the other day and it added a nice pop of color, so I’m hoping to find ways to do that in the other rooms. These black and whites are beautiful! Not sure I could maintain it, but I sure do love looking at it!

  5. I was not expecting so much personality in black and white spaces but all the different textures and layers make these spaces powerful. These images are lovely, thanks for challenging me!

  6. I have B & W on the mind this season too. I find more that I like the textures that neutrals bring to a home. You can create amazing interest and depth with metallics and all kinds of shades of black and white. Lovely round up of photos.

    I also have the desire to paint a wall black but don’t think hubs will go for it :-)

  7. I love b&w patterns, textiles and art, and black and white is the one color combination I can think of that’s considered classic for a traditional interior as well as classic for a modern space … so if you fall somewhere in between the two styles {like I do}, I think b&w is a great to work with. I’m currently working on my dining room using a lot of b&w such as my DIY “chandy fans” {}

  8. I would love to have in a black and white kitchen in my next home. There is something so stylish about black and white interiors.

  9. I love, love, love black and white rooms, especially with a pop of color like apple green or lavender. Black and white is a major theme in my home but I use color with it also. These are great pics, thanks for posting them.

  10. I do love the simplicity of black and white. Such a classic and striking combination. I did attempt our livingroom in our last home in all black and white but found I veered off with pops of color. How clever that Eddie Ross outdoor tablecloth is! I may have to try that! Happy weekend, Kate.

  11. I love the simplicity of black and white and how color pops off of the graphic background. Gorgeous images! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Kate,

    I hope you don’t mind, but I wanted to let you know that I listed Centsational Girl as one of my go to inspirational blogs. Thanks for being so inspiring.


  13. I love decoratinjg with black and white. I am on a mission to use black and white in every room in my house then adding pops of color if the mood strikes or as the seasons change. It’s so classic and timeless! ~ Barbara

  14. I’m a huge fan of black and white. You are right, it is classic and allows a well-designed space to shine. Plus, a bit of color can always be added in and changed up at any time without much trouble. Lots of inspiring photos here.

  15. Stunning. I adore black and white. It is classic, elegant, clean and really packs a punch. In my previous home, my living area I turned into black and white. In this house we have black and white family pictures on our stairs. Its just so timeless. Great site, so pleased I found it.

  16. I have always, always loved black and white however in recent years have been heading toward adding far more colour. I think this is such a classic look that I will always revert back to in the end!

  17. I’m currently doing my dining room and living room over into cream and bronzy beige with black. This way I can get my constant fix for change and color by changing my accents. I love cream and black, not so stark for me as white. I believe black and white are truly the only timeless colors together, because the hue never changes unlike other classic combinations.

  18. I adore that book and used it for inspiration of my master bedroom update. I also have a black and white guestroom that I decorated and is my favorite room in the house. This combo really appeals to me on a huge level for whatever reason!

  19. Just when I think I should start adding color…you find and post the most inspiring photos of black and white decor! Love them all…so crisp, clean, and classic.
    Guess I could still add my Tangerine Tango colored Zebra print pillow in there too!

  20. Kate I am a lover of black and white, I have one room that was all black and white, my guest bath. I just this month added a fun new piece to hold towels in bright Kelly green. The pop of green makes me smile. I have black and white marble floors in my entry and my guest bath. Black and white has always been in my home and is a classic staple. I do infuse color with it, but this girl loves, loves black and white!! Lots of wonderful eye candy in your post!! If you want to see my black and white bathroom it is on my blog with its new addition!! Make it black and white stripes and I am so there!!! Happy Weekend,

  21. Have you seen the new show Once Upon a Time? The wicked witch / mayor has THE most beautiful black and white office. It’s a great show, but I can not get enough of that office!

  22. I alwaus thought my black and white room looked a bit bland, but I’m inspired by this and now know just what finishing touches I need to add!

    Thanks :)

    Emma x

  23. I’m not sure if I would go with black and white in my own home; however I think it looks so clean and elegant. My powder room is actually painted black. I have the same mirror as you do, your new one, and silk curtains with black and tan stripes. It actually looks really great but I was very skeptical at first. Hope you’re off drinking wine in a beautiful vineyard today!

  24. SOOO pretty! It’s funny, I just posted about our little powder room yesterday. It has yellow tiles, and had a yellow linoleum floor too. I detested it until we just added black and white tiles on the floor and pulled the black and white throughout the entire (little) space.

    The POWER that black and white has to transform a space is amazing!

    BTW: I have that Ikea Stolkholm rug and LOVE it. I’ll have to do a post about that soon! :)

  25. Oh you can’t believe how happy I was when I saw your post on black and white! I am building a new home and just decided last week to commit to all white walls and black trim. I have been very nervous about it and I have pinned a gazillion pictures about it but then when I saw that Kate of Centsational Girl thought it was a good look, I knew I was on the right track! You have such a great design sense. Thanks for making my weekend!

  26. What a great selection of images! I had been holding onto a couple magazine clippings of black and white rooms for awhile before finally using them as inspiration for a black and white palette in our home office. The room centered around a set of three graphic floral b&w “prints” (wrapping paper!) I had framed, as well as a great b&w Moroccan style rug from CB2. The walls in the office were a powdery blue which I loved paired with the b&w, and I threw in a few splashes of orange as well. You can check out the room here:

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