Property - it’s more than black and white

If you’re confused by colour charts, wavering over wallpaper, and dithering over decor, there’s a solution which could bring your home into fashionable focus.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 4th May 2013, 5:00 pm
Ben de Lisi, Barcode Cushion, £22, Debenhams. PA Photo/Handout.
Ben de Lisi, Barcode Cushion, £22, Debenhams. PA Photo/Handout.

Monochrome - the classic combination of black and white - can take on a variety of personalities to suit your home and taste.

Think sharp, chic and elegant, mean and moody with inky black walls and gothic accessories, or the perfect backdrop allowing you to flirt with vibrant splashes of colour.

Just as the LBD (little black dress) is a wardrobe staple, increasingly interiors designers are relying on LBD (lots of black decor) to create successful settings.

“Monochrome will always endure in fashion and interiors because it’s classic, simple and instantly alluring,” says Marianne Shillingford, head of Dulux Design Service, a network of interior design experts across the UK.

“This year monochrome interiors are becoming less about the stark contrast between black and white and more about a subtle amalgamation of tones that create tranquil restful spaces in which to slow down.

“Smoky warm shades of black and grey combine with greyed off-whites are silent colours that speak of still waters, starry nights and the transient hours of dusk and dawn.”

So view your home in black and white and let monochrome work its magic on your rooms.

Mono chic

There’s a timeless elegance in the pairing of black and white which suits the current trend for fashionable pared-back ‘less is more’ contemporary settings.

“Black and white looks effortlessly chic and will give a home an instant contemporary edge,” says Massino Cian, head of design at Calligaris.

“Simply painting walls white and adding black furniture instantly lifts your home style decor and gives it a modern monochrome look.”

Strategically placed accessories, from vases and cushions to lamps and monochrome prints, are all that’s needed as sophisticated, finishing touches, he suggests.

Tip: Consider the lighting scheme carefully as it needs to be warm so you avoid a stark, unforgiving effect.

Black & white buys: Give yourself the freedom to experiment with fabrics and delve into JAB’s Black & White collection with its innovative and subtle patterns, from £42.50 a metre.

One piece of furniture can be a starting point for a scheme, and two bold examples are a Landsdowne Sofa, £2,650, Sofa Design, or an ultra-smart Fan Chair with a beautifully sculpted black back and pure white seat, £1,839, Christopher Guy. Alternatively, divide a space with a black and white Trees divider, £90, from Arthouse.

Ben de Lisi’s witty accessories range for Debenhams includes an on-trend white canvas barcode cushion, £22, and a newsprint lamp, £45, with his trademark French bulldog swathed in newspaper design.

Moody monochrome

Dare to be different and choose dark walls which will bring a sensual, soothing atmosphere to a room.

“Updated monochrome room uses softer colours such as shades of grey and off-white, which is less harsh than a black and white palette,” says Angela Whittaker, at fabric specialists JAB Anstoetz.

“For luxury and opulence combine with other shades such as deep plum or purple. I also love the look of texture in the room, try adding white leather cushions, plush velvet drapes or even wallpaper with embroidered patterns.

“All this will add interest - essential if you’re allowing black to dominate, so that the effect is dramatic rather than dense.”

Tip: Fabrics with a pattern and texture will create a more playful effect, while glossy black-painted walls evoke full-on drama.

Black & white buys: Stripes and animal prints combine in Easy Tiger wallpaper, £60 a roll, by designer Julien Macdonald, while Tattoo by Kelly Hoppen features graphic floral design, £26 per roll. Both from Graham & Brown.

Alternatively, lounge back and enjoy the soothing serenity of a paper featuring white swans floating on a black background: Wallpaper by Lindholm, £35 a roll, Wallpaper Direct.

Give a subtle nod to the animal print trend with the Bite Maxi Plain Sofa enlivened by zebra print cushions, £699, DFS.

Feature a black Harmony Ribboned table lamp, £45, John Lewis, and display its Rob Ryan decorated plates, set of four £39.95.

Black & white vision

Graphic patterns can work well in a monochrome scheme but make them a feature otherwise they could overwhelm.

“Monochrome has been a key trend on the catwalk this season, and this trend is strongly influencing home furnishings,” says David Snazel, buyer at Carpetright.

“Black and white checked flooring is perfect for creating a distinctive style statement in your home, and sharp patterns will revitalise a setting.”

Tip: Keep spaces uncluttered for a calm, orderly atmosphere and if you prefer a less formal effect, or want to key into an existing palette, add bright pops of colour such as red, yellow or lime green.