Here's a quick look at how versatile, restful AND dramatic decorating with black and white can be. First, some favorite shades:
White - it rests the eye and widens the space. My favorite white for interior moldings in a traditional space is Ben Moore's Decorators White in a high gloss finish. More modern decors get Sherwin Williams Alabaster. It has a hint of gray in it. Want a tad more warmth? Sherwin's Dover White has the slightest golden undertone.
My favorite shades of black are among my favorite colors- period. Use them with a matte finish and they're almost suede. Gloss them up and they'll bring down the house (in a good way). "Almost black" is more of a charcoal because I think a true black is harsh. This one is fab on a kitchen table--I know, because mine is. "Black Bean" is actually deepest, darkest brown. Yum. I've got an accent wall this color. It sparkles in a sunny room. And "Hale Navy" is a great choice because in art classes I learned that illustrators don't really use black, they use a dark navy, like this one. It reads as black but in a much more interesting way. Try it. You will LOVE it.
A black and white palette can be very soothing, as the board above shows. The white sofa is a creamy shade, the black leather chair is sharp, but warm. And I added some glass to keep the room visually light and add some sparkle. The rug marries warm and cool tones, that little accent table adds texture and white linen drapery panels with a black ribbon trim add intimacy and height--and they frame the view.
Then I went darker. Don't you just love this monochromatic look? I put drapes made with our Links pattern in Warm Grey on the window to keep the drama going, but they also take the edge off any cold vibe that could result. I mixed in some warm wood tones to temper the steely grays and I mixed metals--the coffee table has a brushed chrome base while the floor lamp has gold accents.
Here I took the same dark look, but added a strong splash of color--our Vreeland panels in Dandelion. Almost any color can be added to this palette. I coordinated the accent pillows to draw the yellow around. Looks glamorous and pulled together!
A couple of weeks ago my favorite Duralee rep sent me a bunch of new fabrics to look over. These black and whites were in the pile: