'Play with bold contrasting colours, mix distinct geometric shapes to create a dramatic look or add mirrored item.'

Belfast - Razzle-dazzle colour may be having its day in interiors, but do you really want to wear sunglasses to avoid the glare whenever you enter your home? For those secretly yearning for calm, peaceful spaces and soothing neutral schemes, a little monochrome magic could be the answer.

Black and white's always been a classic decor choice - it's the equivalent of that wardrobe staple the Little Black Dress - and can be similarly dressed up or down to suit your mood.

“Monochrome continues to stand the test of time, for black and white is a simplistic pallet but can be combined with dashes of colour for a dramatic effect,” says Sally Chamley, founder of Black Orchid Interiors.

“You just have to plan extremely well to achieve the correct balance of black and white. I prefer a smart, tailored, modern look, allowing white or neutrals to dominate.”

That said, there are many more interpretations, including a Rococo style with elaborate pattern and detail, creating a moody Gothic feel by allowing black to dominate, or a glamorous Art Deco style featuring light-reflecting mirrored surfaces and glossy black finishes.

“Capturing a 1920s look using monochrome can be a smart way to achieve affordable eye-catching opulence,” says Chamley.

“Mirrored finishes were popular in the Twenties and these combine so well with black. Also, classic Art Deco shapes are all about interesting silhouettes and black depicts this perfectly. Use symmetry to enhance a feeling of order and calm.”

Black and white, by their forceful contrast, tend to lean towards a smart, formal atmosphere, so consider interesting fabrics with a pattern and texture to create a more playful effect, advises Simon Cavelle, interior designer of fabric specialists, JAB Anstoetz.

“The scale of a room or piece of furniture should also be considered when choosing the size of patterns,” he says.

“Often it's safer to use the boldest monochrome patterns on things like cushions, as these can be removed or replaced at the least cost.”

Warming colours used in accessories can ensure a black and white scheme doesn't look too cool, and he suggests creating a punchy contrast with colours such as lime green, sharp pink, hot red and orange.

So view your home in black and white, snap up monochrome home buys, and you could find everything comes into a fashionable new focus!


Diffident decorators can play it safe with all-white walls, but make them come alive with black and white photographic prints, which are an on-trend choice for wall art.

Alternatively, make a statement with a feature wall in a glossy black finish. In a bedroom choose the one behind a bed for impact.

Small rooms or dining spaces can be enhanced with black walls, conjuring an enclosed sanctuary feel, but good lighting and mirrors will be essentials so that the atmosphere is moody but not overpowering. - Belfast Telegraph