Living room design ideas in black & white

Written by leah james
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Living room design ideas in black & white
Try black-and-white patterned fabric for throw pillows or window treatments. (Black and white background image by Bluebird from

Black and white is always a good colour combination for living room decor. It's simple, classic and looks good with a variety of decorating styles. Whether you favour stark contemporary, casual cottage or traditional elegance, update your home with a few black and white decorating ideas.


Paint a badly damaged wood floor with glossy white paint, and then add a scrolling black border around the edges. Or, paint the planks in alternating black and white stripes. For hardwood in good condition, add a geometric black-and-white area rug, or create one by arranging black and white carpet squares in a checkerboard pattern.

If you have wall-to-wall carpet over concrete, rip it out. Score your concrete floor into large squares, and faux paint it to look like alternating black and white marble tiles.


Try painting your walls inky black with glossy white trim. For casual living rooms, use black chalkboard paint instead. Keep plenty of white chalk on hand, and use the walls to sketch or write poetry. If you're overwhelmed by the idea of black walls, try just an accent wall or keep them stark white with white trim. You can add the black with your furnishings.

Upholstered Furniture

Crisp white slipcovers look stunning against black walls. Against a white wall, add definition by piping your white upholstery with black welt cord. Upholster an accent chair in wide black and white stripes. Toss a pair of black-and-white toile or geometric pillows on the sofa. Better still, use both.

Wood, Metal and Other Furniture

Paint a piece or two in black or white, but resist the urge to paint all of your furniture. Temper the black and white with natural wood and metallic finishes. Mirrored and Lucite furniture also complement black-and-white decor, while still adding a visual break to the colour scheme.

Window Treatments

Simple white Roman shades work great in any black-and-white living room, no matter how casual or formal. Add black grosgrain ribbon detail to the edges for a designer touch. If you prefer panels, try simple white draperies against dark walls. Enhance white walls with panels made of black velvet. Use black-and-white toile, stripes or damask if your room needs some pattern. Hang your drapery panels over natural woven shades for a casual look.


Choose your artwork because you love it, not because it matches. Colourful paintings won't detract from your black-and-white colour scheme. The contrast will only enhance it. But if you want to stay with stark black and white, hang black-and-white photographs, antique engravings or a collection of white ironstone plates.

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