A Dose of Black & White

  |  May 18, 2015

Derek Sanders, Modern Black Farm House, CT

There is no combination more graphic than black and white. Using polar opposites creates maximum contrast, which translates into drama. Whether dealing with an interior or exterior, the absence of any other hue puts emphasis on pattern and that creates focus on form. Just the slightest addition of another color changes the whole equation. Three colors bring a different kind of balance to a space and more possibilities for complex color relationships. Black house exteriors have come into vogue and for good reason. They make a very big, grand statement. Black and white interiors are trickier.


Steven Whiting B+W Bathroom


Steven Whiting Black + White Bathroom


Emerick Architects

Bathrooms and kitchens seem to lend themselves to this choice. Perhaps the graphic edges created by the interplay of black and white is best assigned to hard surfaces which make up the majority of these kind of spaces. Once upholstery, textiles and rugs come into play, the room cries out for more color and some softness. If the palette remains just black and white the room feels cold, lacking the convivial atmosphere most want in a room where people socialize, communicate or relax. Using patterns in black and white help add dynamism. Tiles, especially those with curves in their pattern help soften the look.


Black & White Nursery


Dawn A. Jones Design

Black and white is also a very adult combination and doesn’t lend itself well to nurseries or children’s rooms. Enough studies have been done to prove children need bright and varied color to aid their development. The living room above exemplifies how austere this palette can appear. Without more color or the intricacy of some kind of pattern, the large color blocks of black and white hold no warmth. If you find yourself committed to using black and white in a room, use pattern to add complexity. This helps create personality though the addition of color adds much, much more.


GEORGE Interior Design


Look how adding just the warmth of natural wood or the pop of an accent color changes everything. It creates a much more approachable space.


Emma Wessels

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About Amy Krane

Amy Krane is an Architectural Color Consultant and founder of Amy Krane Color where she creates customized color plans, advising residential and commercial property owners on paint colors. She is also a Realtor at Anderson Agency Real Estate in Kinderhook, NY. Transplanted from New York City to Columbia County, Amy is trained by the International Association of Color Consultant/Designers. Her expertise goes well beyond design aesthetics to integrate the science and art of applying color to space. Amy Krane Color services clients nationally with virtual consultations and locally in NYC, Dutchess, Ulster, Greene, Columbia, Litchfield, Berkshire, Rensselaer and Albany Counties.

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