The black and white living room: key elements to nail this interior design staple
Keep your living room classic with black and white décor for a sophisticated monochrome scheme that always makes a strong statement
Effortlessly chic, uncluttered and refined: a black and white interior boasts style without being too ordered. The stark contrast between the two shades is a great base for setting the mood in your living room – keep the room bright with white walls and floors and a few black accents, or create a brooding, dramatic scheme by dialling up the noir.
‘It’s easy to assume that you need to use colour to make a statement in your home, but a monochrome scheme can be just as striking,’ advises Abby Hesketh, Colour Specialist at Graham & Brown. ‘The absence of colour in black-and-white interiors takes away the stress of finding colours that complement each other while also guaranteeing a flawless, pulled-together look. Use a bold monochrome pattern for a feature wall with your choice of co-ordinating accessories. This creates a chic and sophisticated room with minimal effort.’
Add personality with pattern, from chequerboard and stripes to ditsy polka dot, then introduce pops of colour with furniture and accessories to make your monochrome efforts truly zing.
Black and white living room ideas
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Black and white furniture
Introduce elegance to your living spaces with furniture in black and white. The beauty of pairing these opposite shades together is you can create totally different moods by dialling up or down either colour. Keep the look feeling light with a white sofa, glossy white surfaces and a couple of punchy black accessories, or lean towards a much more dramatic, brooding scheme with a black sofa, rug and wall art, with white lighting and accessories to prevent the room feeling too oppressive.
Black and white are stark shades and have a tendency to feel quite flat, so experiment with texture on your furniture choices to introduce interest and perspective to the room. Soften the scheme with natural textures like linen, woven knit and painted wood, or step boldly into modernity with glossy surfaces, marble and chrome elements on tables, sideboards and picture frames.
More like this
Baltimore white leather sofa and Roma coffee table
Up the luxury levels with marble and metallic accents, which will help bounce light around the room
- Sofa £649.99 and coffee table £249.99
Black and white striped antique wingback chair
Peruse your favourite magazine in this antique wingback chair, which is sure to add some playfulness to a reading corner. While this chair is a one-off, you could reupholster an existing armchair or a wingback from a charity shop in a striking striped fabric for the same impact
Hudson four-seater dining table in Black Marble
Add flair to dinnertime with this sculptural dining table with an eye-catching hourglass base and luxurious marble top
Fandango chest of drawers in Black
Heighten the dramatic impact of a black and white scheme with gold and silver accents; gold adds warmth while silver brightness. This sideboard is available in White, too
Black and white wallpaper
Ramp up the drama in your scheme with patterned wallpaper. Go modern with geometric shapes and abstract figures; add eclectic edge with a botanical print or retro curves; keep it classic with polka dots or a simple pinstripe; or go all-out maximalist with animal print and florals that have been given the greyscale treatment.
Test your chosen pattern in your space with a swatch before you commit to covering your whole room. Let the design breathe by keeping some of the walls white or pairing it with white curtains or blinds.
Bottles wallpaper in Black and White
Add a touch of whimsy to a chimney breast or hallway with an unusual geometric design – break up the impact with wooden furniture to add depth to the room
- £81 per roll
Monochrome Stripe wallpaper
Keep things simple with stripes; vertical stripes will draw the eye upwards to make the ceiling feel higher whereas horizontal will make the room feel longer
- £16.49 per roll
Kingdom Zebra wallpaper
Add a sense of fun with patterned paper in greyscale tones
- £65 per roll
Tropical Palm wallpaper mural
Transform your living space into a calming oasis with a palm-print wall mural. Complete the scene with faux or real leafy plants, textured ceramic vases and a Berber rug or two
- £100 for 10m roll
Best back and white cushions
Add instant wow factor to a sofa, rattan dining chair or cosy armchair with a black and white cushion or three. Complete a monochrome scheme, dial back the colour of a bright sofa or add playfulness to the scheme with our top picks below.
Make it personal with a print close to your heart; your favourite flower, animal or a pattern that conjures sweet memories will all add a sense of self to the space. Choose washed linen and cotton cushion covers for character and softness, whereas satin or velvet will enhance the sense of luxury.
William Morris Larkspur cushion
You can never go wrong with a design from the iconic print designer, William Morris
Add dynamism and movement to the scheme with a zigzag print – we love the etched details of this pattern
Linen-blend cushion cover in Dark Grey
Lift the look of a single-colour cushion and choose linen or a woven material and tassels or frayed fringing
White Tufted Diamonds cushion
Pom poms, frayed edges and curved corners tick all the comfort and texture boxes
Scandi Little Trees Monochrome cushion
Take inspiration from the natural world with a botanical, leaf or floral print
Black and white rugs
Flood your floors with monochrome style for top-to-tail black and white decor. The general style rule when choosing your rug size is to pick the latest rug that will fit in the space, as this will draw the eye outwards and make the room feel bigger. Tuck the rug under sofas to not only prevent the corners curling but also to provide warmth for your toes while watching your favourite Netflix box set. Add warmth to the scheme by opting for cream rather than white, or go full-on juxtaposition with a polar-white and black design.
Liven a neutral scheme with a geometric rug – cream and ivory tones prevent the look from feeling too cold
Talamantez hooked rug
Go rustic with your floor covering choices with a Berber or Berber-effect rug; pair with rattan furniture and natural materials to complete the look
Set a dark base for your living room with a black rug, then add relief with white accessories and gold and brass details
Contour Abstract rug
Brushstroke and abstract patterns will give the look movement and prevent it from feeling flat
- Gigi light fitting in Gold, £109; Arlo boucle two-seater sofa, £399; Arlo distressed faux leather chair in Grey, £249; Tufted Face cushion, £10; Half Moon velour cushion, £14; Clara piped cushion, £12; Sole floor lamp in Blac, £99; Enzo cage coffee table, £109; Contour abstract rug, from £109
Section Editor, Your Home