Black and white bedroom ideas for contemporary, cosmopolitan and country bedrooms that really work. It's all about graphic design!
↑ What makes this bedroom so irresistibly elegant? It's the clarity of the color scheme, the perfect balance of black and white color fields.
There is no pattern, just basic black shapes (cushion, nightstand, carpet) standing out against the white.
Compare that to another black and white bedroom, this time in a refined, Gustavian-inspired 'country' style:
↑ This black and white bedroom (with added blond floorboards) is much more difficult to pull off. It's not just the wildly different styles/shapes - Gustavian chair, Baroque mirror frame, Empire/Directoire revival dresser, contemporary canopy bed & lamp - the fabric patterns influence this composition of black lines and shapes as well.
Rule of Thumb #1:
Anything in black, whether picture frame, rug or armoire, stands out as a shape or a pattern against a light/white background. It forms part of the black-and-white 'picture' that is the entire room.
So how do you keep a black and white bedroom from becoming a visual mess of black blobs and squiggles? Read on for tips, tricks & examples!
Here are three black and white bedroom examples, from very white to rather dark. They all look great, but there's a distinct atmospheric shift as the black/white ratio changes toward darker rooms:
↑ No one rocks white homes like the Skandinavians. This is a beautiful example of (mostly) empty walls, pictures in lieu of a headboard (another example of this further down on this page), and quirky lighting.
↑ My favorite room on this page, a well edited 'zen' bedroom with limed floorboards and very little pattern overall. The solid dark areas work well in the space because they are close to the floor, which is how we tend to 'see' our natural world. Restful for the soul!
↑ Finally, a rather dark & stark bedroom example. When you draw those black curtains they will cover the entire window wall. Black bedroom walls are not for the faint of heart - some say the color black sucks your energy out of you. Before committing to large amounts of black color in the bedroom, make sure you know you can handle it!
A little black color goes a long way!
Because black stands out so strongly against white, it doesn't take much black color to give a room a specific style or feel. Here is an example of how different wall designs can change the entire look & feel of a black and white bedroom:
1 For a cool contemporary look, paint a horizontally striped 'headboard' on the wall. You could even extend the stripes along the entire length of the wall, to give it more visual weight. The effect is quite different from that of vertically black striped walls in a bedroom (which can look awful, like the bars of a cage).
2 For a whimsical 'baroque headboard', buy an ornate wrought-iron headboard - or paint an oversized ornament on the wall behind the bed. Because of the black/white contrast, the visual effect will be pretty much the same! Any scrolled, gorgeous shape will do the trick. (This particular design was inspired by an antique iron gate).
3 Create instant 'Frenchness' by covering one wall (or just part of it) in black toile wallpaper. An entire black toile bedroom would overpower the senses, but with that elegant crystal chandelier already in place, a single wall of toile de jouy can evoke enough 'Paris' to convince anyone :-)
4 Add a personal touch by hanging a tightly packed picture gallery above the bed. Use small black frames, maybe add a glint of gold for luxury. Fill them with black-and-white pictures - photos, drawings, etchings, woodblock prints. Very artsy yet easy to do ... and not expensive at all!
Traditional country bedrooms are rarely black-and-white; there's always some brown wood in it. Usually a lot of brown wood. And color, too.
↑ The beautiful headboards - screenprinted by hand - are the main black ingredients in these sparse, relaxed bedrooms. They're complemented by a few charcoal colored items to ensure a repetition of the color black around the room. The highly textured grey bedspread and the warm wood hues (both in flooring and vintage leather accessories) soften the stark black/white edge of the color scheme.
↑ This 'desaturated' country bedroom under the eaves looks sophisticated and seriously rustic at the same time. The owners took a very urban, oversized headboard to meet antique terra cotta floor tiles, and added a lot of raw wood and simple linen. A gorgeous example of austerity chic - and easy to copy!
↑ Here's a black and white bedroom smack bang in the middle of ... Hong Kong, of all places. It shows beautifully how you can 'countrify' even a small urban space in black and white - wrought-iron bed, plain bedlinen, unfussy linen curtains, and some very few, very choice accessories. This could be somewhere in Italy. Almost fooled me, until I saw the air conditioning unit :-)
↑ Lastly, here's a very sweet retro black and white bedroom. The color palette has been supplemented with a warm brownish gray (gorgeous knitted bed coverlet!), pale grayed blue (anglepoise lamp) and a few tiny red blossoms in an antique eggcup. In a black-and-white environment, even a little color makes a big impression! (More about color combinations with neutrals here!)
So, back to the question about the black blobs and squiggles. How do you keep a black and white bedroom from becoming a visual mess?
Rule of Thumb #2:
If in doubt, leave it out.