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What is black and white interior design called?

What is black and white interior design called?

Black and white interior design, also known as monochromatic interior design, refers to the use of different shades of black, white, and gray within a space. This style creates a bold, dramatic, and sophisticated look that stands out from other color schemes. Black and white interiors have been popular for decades and continue to be a timeless and classic design choice for many homes and businesses.

Key Characteristics

Some key characteristics of black and white interior design include:

– Focuses on different tones of black, white, and gray rather than incorporating color. This includes using light grays, dark grays, off-whites, and deep blacks.

– Creates strong visual contrast through the use of dark and light shades. This contrast adds depth and dimension.

– Often incorporates clean lines and minimal ornamentation. The simple color scheme creates plenty of visual interest on its own.

– Looks modern, elegant, and luxurious. Black and white evoke feelings of sophistication and style.

– Provides a striking and artistic look when used in an interior space. It makes decor stand out.

– Works well in a variety of design aesthetics, including modern, contemporary, minimalist, and glam styles.

Different Types of Black and White Design

There are a few main types and styles of black and white interior design:

Classic Black and White

Classic black and white features clean, crisp shades of true black and true white. This high-contrast look is timeless and works especially well in modern spaces.


A monochromatic black and white interior relies solely on different tones, tints, and shades of black and white. This creates a vibrant, bold, but refined look.

Graphic Black and White

Graphic black and white interiors incorporate striking patterns through the use of paint, wallpaper, tile, furniture upholstery, rugs, and accessories. Geometric patterns work particularly well.

Eclectic Black and White

An eclectic black and white interior mixes and matches various black and white patterns, textures, and decor elements. This approach has an artistic, creative vibe.

Benefits of a Black and White Interior

There are many benefits to choosing a black and white color scheme for interior spaces:

– Timeless and classic. Black and white stand the test of time and have been popular for generations. This scheme doesn’t appear dated.

– Visually striking. The high contrast between light and dark makes a bold visual statement and grabs attention.

– Easy to change and update. Since black and white are neutrals, you can freshen up the look with new patterns or accessories.

– Sleek and sophisticated. Black and white look refined, elegant, and luxurious. This color scheme has an upscale feel.

– Cohesive look. The limited color palette naturally creates a cohesive and harmonious design.

– Spaciousness. Black and white can make rooms feel open and airy due to the simplicity and lack of color competition.

– Goes with anything. Black and white pair nicely with all materials and styles. This flexibility makes decorating easier.

Tips for Designing with Black and White

Here are some useful tips for stylishly decorating with black and white:

– Choose one color to dominate. Allow either black or white to take center stage in the room with the other shade serving as an accent.

– Use texture to add interest. Think velvet, leather, natural wood grains, smooth stones, and distressed metals.

– Repeat patterns throughout the space. Use the same geometric or graphic print on pillows, art, rugs, and other accessories.

– Mix in neutral metals like stainless steel, chrome, nickel, and brass. Metallics complement black and white.

– Add pops of color thoughtfully. A little bit of an accent color like red or gold goes a long way.

– Incorporate dramatic lighting. Try black lighting fixtures against white walls or modern pendant lights over a black dining table.

– Choose sleek, contemporary furniture. Clean lines work best rather than heavy traditional styles.

– Play with shape and silhouette. Pair angular furniture and decor with soft, curved elements.

How to Use Black and White in Specific Rooms

Certain rooms lend themselves particularly well to black and white interior design. Some ideas include:

Black and White Kitchens

– Black and white checkered floor
– White cabinets with black countertops and backsplash
– Monochromatic subway tile backsplash
– Stainless steel appliances as a metallic accent
– Bold black and white graphic art or wallpaper feature wall

Black and White Bathrooms

– Black and white geometric tile floors and walls
– White tub, sink basin, and toilet
– Black accents like towel racks, shower caddy, soap dispenser
– White subway tile shower surround with black grout
– Black framed mirrors

Black and White Bedrooms

– Black painted accent wall behind white headboard
– White bedding with black and gray throw pillows
– Black nightstands on either side of a white bed
– Light gray area rug
– Black and white photography wall art

Black and White Home Offices

– White desk paired with a black office chair and desk lamp
– Black open shelving unit to display accessories
– White bookshelves filled with colorful book spines
– Gallery wall of black and white art prints
– Black computer monitors on a white desk

Where to Find Black and White Furniture and Decor

Many retailers carry home decor, furniture, textiles, and art in classic black and white:

– Crate & Barrel
– Pottery Barn
– West Elm
– CB2
– Joybird
– Article
– World Market
– Amazon
– Etsy

Look for black and white area rugs, pillows, throws, artwork, vases, lamps, and accessories. For furniture, you can find sofas, chairs, tables, beds, and shelving in black and white color schemes or finishes.


Black and white interior design is a timeless, classic, and sophisticated style perfect for modern, elegant spaces. Relying on shades of black and white along with neutrals and metallics creates a bold, dramatic look with plenty of contrast. Black and white works well in any room and pairs nicely with minimalist, contemporary, and glam decor themes. With the right furniture, lighting, textures, and patterns, black and white interiors make a stylish design statement. This enduring color scheme provides the perfect background for displaying other pops of color throughout a home or business.