Living Space: Add pizzazz to your bathroom with black, white

By Kathryn Weber
May 31, 2012 at 12:31 a.m.

Mixing black, white and gray tile with metal accents adds zing.

Mixing black, white and gray tile with metal accents adds zing.

It's classic and traditional, contemporary and cutting-edge. It works with any accent color and makes it look even bolder and more vibrant. A black-and-white color palette is also perfect for the decoraphobic who can't quite commit to richer hues. Black and white decor is especially striking in the bathroom, opening up a wide range of design possibilities.

Create balance

Like yin and yang, black and white do a decorative dance and pair beautifully together, never making a misstep. Using black and white in the bathroom brings a calming influence and keeps it there with the addition of gray or metal accents and linens. Or you can rev things up with a punchy accent color like red, turquoise or bright yellow.

While the combination of black and white is always daring and stylishly fresh, adding a third color can take your bath from stunning to truly eye-popping.

An unexpected color like teal, deep taupe or chartreuse will bring added surprise. You can also tone down the look by using jewel tones like deep forest green or navy for a more serious, grownup edge.

Black out

With all the white fixtures in a typical bathroom, resist adding more white. Black walls or floors make a stunning backdrop for a pair of white pedestal sinks or oversized bowls. The black will visually balance the room and add a calming influence.

If your budget allows, use black tile or stone, such as black granite or marble. A wall made of engineered stone (a composite material made of crushed stone bound together by a polymer resin) in deep graphite or black can also add depth and texture.

Use patterns

To create a really fresh and imaginative bathroom, try a bold pattern in black and white - and don't be afraid to make it your focal point. For a Victorian look, go for the traditional honeycombed shaped tiles interspersed with black to create a pattern.

If you're looking for a contemporary look, leave the accent color out and the black and white together will do the work and keep the room stylishly modern and cool. Or, try towels in a black-and-white graphic pattern like herringbone, hounds tooth, or damask to introduce pattern and some visual interest.

Touch of black

The old design saw is that all rooms need a touch of black. An easy way to get that is to paint cabinets, doors and trim in rich, shiny black, high-gloss paint. Even the ceiling can look stunning with a coat of lustrous black paint. For an elegant effect, add crown molding with a coat of ebony.

Add small gold medallions in the corners of the room and you'll have a designer bathroom that looks like it belongs in a glam restaurant. Add a high-gloss white or black framed mirror or artwork, and your black-and-white bath will pack more punch than it's brightly-colored brothers and sisters.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website,



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