Decorating with black and white is on designers radar these days. We’re taking our cue from the fashion industry where black and white has always been a way of life and not a passing trend. Just like the little black dress or black slacks paired with a crisp white shirt, black and white are time-honoured classics.

Recently on Cityline (above), I had fun with host Tracy Moore sharing my tips on decorating with black and white and how to get it right. To achieve an inviting – not jarring – black and white aesthetic, it’s all about creating a balance. 

Above: If you want to create high drama in a space, a black wall (Benjamin Moore Black 2132-10) is the perfect backdrop to white furniture and accessories as shown above. Crisp, eye-popping contrast isn’t for everyone. Tone down the contrast by introducing charcoal in rugs, chairs, art or patterned wallpaper. Bring in pops of a favourite colour with cushions, rugs, florals or other accents to help balance the palette and give your eye a place to land in a monochromatic space. Alternately, the same applies to a white space. Black furniture accented with neutral accents – gold, pastels, beige, will warm up the look without sacrificing the dramatic look you want to achieve in a space with a striking black and white palette.  Ikea

Tip: Stay true to the classic black and white aesthetic and maintain a simple and clean look by adding accents and colours in small doses. Balance is the key!

Above: An accent chair or toss cushions in these bold Kate Spade linen fabrics from Kravet through Jackie Glass Inc (trade only) is all you need to catch the eye in a black and white space.

Above: Timeless and of the moment, this monochromatic aesthetic delivers sophisticated style, drama and practicality to any room including the kitchen. Today’s spaces decorated in black and white will have a lasting impact for homeowners and will stand the test of time. Kitchen by Ikea 

Tip: Accents in wood, gold metallic, stainless steel, soft black/charcoal and fresh or faux greenery are particularly helpful in banishing the starkness often attributed to a black and white space. Blue, yellow, fucshia hues will always look great in a black and white room and can instantly and inexpensively change to look.

Above: Add interest and texture to a black and white decor with a touch of pretty graphic fabrics. Mosaic marble scallop tiles, Ceragres. Fabric, Kravet

Above: Introduce modern black and white patterns with wallpaper like these Kelly Wearstler beauties from Kravet through Jackie Glass Inc. (trade only) into an all-black or all-white kitchen, guest room or powder room.

Above: How fun are these Futura graphic enamelled porcelain tiles available in 5 designs and colours. Create your own unique floor or wall pattern by combining and configuring the tile patterns just the way you like them. From Ceragres through Jackie Glass Inc (trade only).

Tip: There are literally hundreds of blacks and whites to choose from. I’m always asked for my favourites. Below, you’ll find my go-to list that never lets me down. They range from warm to cool so there’s something for everyone. Save time and money and grab a sample pot or large paint chip of the colours you’re considering and test them out on your walls, in the space where you’ll be painting, at different times of the day to be sure you’re choosing the correct colour. Keep in mind that your light sources (natural and room lighting) will alter any colour so it’s a good idea to test before buying and painting to avoid disappointment and added expense. Always take tiles, flooring, fabrics, rugs etc into consideration when choosing colour.

Jackie’s 5 Fave Benjamin Moore Blacks

  • Soot                 2129-20
  • Black                2132-10
  • Carbon Copy   2117-10
  • Universal Black 2118-10
  • Black Satin       2131-10

Jackie’s 5 Fave Benjamin Moore Whites

  • Chantilly Lace 2121-70
  • White Dove      OC-17
  • Simply White    OC-117
  • Decorators White OC 152
  • Super White   OC117

Happy decorating!  -Jackie