When it comes to selecting a color palette for your home, many homeowners don’t want to be limited to just black and white. While this simple palette might not be the most exciting for some, it doesn’t get more classic than black and white. The high-contrast combination of black and white interiors is a low-maintenance way to make a statement and it’s incredibly versatile! Not only does this dynamic duo look great in any space, whether it’s minimalist, maximalist, or modern, it can also withstand the test of time and provide that timeless appeal so many love. 

So, the million-dollar question is: How do you create a black-and-white space that’s timeless, yet exciting? We spoke with interior designers Robin Rains and Nina Magon to get their expert thoughts on the best ways to use black and white to create a timeless space. Read on to find out more!

How do you use black and white to create timeless interiors?

Robin says, When it comes to choosing a color palette, it doesn’t get much better than black and white. This dynamic duo combination is classic and chic, modern and timeless! It stands the test to time and is dramatic and unforgettable. We love to use classic black and white material as major elements in a space…such as natural stones (ie: soapstone, marble, limestone) wrought iron, and plaster. This helps to create a timeless “envelope” for a room.

Robin Rains

For Nina, white and black colors are classy. Their contrast alone makes them a timeless pair, so it’s all about balancing the two colors through elements that complement one another. For example, incorporating bold black furniture pieces into a space that has stark white walls is a great way to create balance, help ground the space, and prevent it from feeling cold.

Nina Magon Studio. Photography by Julie Soefer

What are some of your favorite styling strategies when using black and white?

We love classic designs and elegant shapes, mixed with more modern unexpected elements, says Robin. This creates an interesting and memorable space… We start with a calm neutral base….white walls, and light upholstery. Don’t be afraid to mix whites….it’s much more interesting to have shades and tints of white in a room vs. all the same hue. Add bold contrasting elements or drama, such as black painted window mullions, a black marble cocktail table or an abstract piece of black/ white art! It’s all about mixing textures and materials…both new and old.

Robin Rains

Nina says, “I like incorporating bold black elements such as furniture pieces, decor accents, and flooring in a space that has white walls to create interest with the dramatic contrast from dark and light.”

Nina Magon Studio. Photography by Julie Soefer

How do you ensure strong depth and character while preserving high contrast?

According to Robin, pairing antiques and vintage pieces with a black and white color story adds a sense of depth, character, and interest to a space. The warmth of an old wooden chest or an old stone artifact doesn’t take away from the high contrast design, but instead, helps ground it and ensures a more inviting space. Opposing elements are assertive, yet subdued so select your pieces carefully and keep restraint in mind.

While Nina says, using different textures of black and white in a space with fabric, wallpapers, and textiles is a great way to give a space character and depth, while still showcasing the bold contrast. 

Nina Magon Studio. Photography by Julie Soefer

What are your tips for utilizing texture and pattern to bring warmth to black and white

It’s all about balance and the interesting “mix” of the contrast, says Robin. In a living space, an old Morrocan rug with its warmth and texture is a great place to start a room’s story. Pair it with a white linen sofa, heavy textured boucle’s pillow fabrics, and layer in juxtaposition with a sleek black marble cocktail table.

Robin Rains

I always suggest using textured wallpapers and fabrics to create coziness and warmth, says Nina. Textured wallpapers create a subtle interest to the walls and prevent them from being cold and bland, while textured fabrics will bring in softness and promote comfort.

What are some of your favorite materials and furnishings to use in black an and white

One of the favorite items to use in black and white space is a worn zebra rug or patterned
floor covering, says Robin. This immediately sets the tone of a high contrast space with visual interest. It marries well with other textures and patterns. In bathrooms, black and white geometric marble designs are classic and timeless. They pop with white walls and even black high gloss walls can be striking. Don’t be afraid to add a contrasting pop of color in the art, vanity, or accents to ground and soften any space.

Robin Rains

I really love to feature bold black wood floors in a space that has white walls to create a beautiful sea of contrast, says Nina. White or light wallpapers are an amazing way to have the “white” look on the walls without them being bland and flat. In primary bedroom suites, incorporating beautiful black canopy beds is a great way to make a dramatic statement against a white background. 

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