Whether on their own or together, these two contrasting colors make a bold statement. Browse our gallery to see more than 30 combinations.
In this bedroom, futuristic meets organic.
Black-and-White Living Room
A black leather couch offsets the airy white walls of this Chicago row house.
Paint It White
This cabinet is painted with varying shades of white and ivory to create contouring.
Clean white bedding contrasts a dark wooden bed frame and classic mirrors for a traditional, country-inspired feel.
If you thought chalkboards were just for schoolrooms, think again. These wipe-off writing surfaces make handy helpers around the home, too.
Country Cottage Summer House
This summer house, once an artist's studio, serves as a breezeway with a Noguchi paper shade, a nineteenth-century painted-iron garden chair, and a bluestone floor edged with river rocks.
Country Cottage Guest Bath
Crystal-and-wire sculptures by Bob Russell are displayed in this guest bath; the apothecary cabinet displays shells collected in the West Indies.
To achieve a feeling of openness, this kitchen was washed in a clean, pale palette.
In this bathroom, an ornate French chandelier that this homeowner won on eBay (for a mere $200) both matches and mocks the space's serious design. "I went with a black-and-white color scheme because it's true to the period of the house," she says, "but it's all done with a wink." Hot pink accents further jazz up the bathroom's look, but they could easily be changed out for yellow or green, she notes. "When I'm decorating, I do whatever makes me smile."
The pine floors and brick walls of this loft were coated with white paint to brighten a space dominated by wooden columns and beams that are original to the structure.
A marble-topped island and three Thonet bentwood stools are comfortable for quick meals or homework.
Black-and-White Kitchen (Part 2)
In the home of Bill and Andrea, the kitchen is the center of activity. Andrea uses the refrigerator's chalkboard front to greet the kids with a daily word, brainteaser, or math problem.
In this pale-gray-and-white living room, furniture from Martha Stewart's signature line sits beneath reproductions of old New York City subway signs.
Black-and-White Master Bathroom
This master bath evokes a black-and-white color scheme. The center of the room is dominated by an ornate marble-topped table whose mate is in the living room.
White and Bright Kitchen
Cabinets from a laboratory supply company hold white tableware and an array of glass compotes and cake plates. The island is topped with a practical butcher block.
The floor-to-ceiling bookcases are original to this house; woven baskets hold family photos. Wide thrift-store chairs are slip-covered in sturdy cotton.
Sunlit Dining Room
A pale palette ensures bright interiors all year. These Gustavian-style chairs are vintage. The homeowners' German shepherd, Okie, presides in the dining area.
Martha's Kitchen Storage
In the kitchen at Skylands, Martha created her own Great Wall of China by taking every white dish she could find out of the cupboards and putting them on display. A porcelain fishmonger's table blends in perfectly to create an intriguing composition in an unexpected place.
Long curtains surrounding the tub add drama to this bathroom.
White Mirrored Kitchen
Mirrors are timeless and work in traditional and contemporary interiors. And vast expanses aren't necessary to have an effect. Lining the backsplash of a sleek galley kitchen in a modern high-rise expands the narrow space and magnifies the light from adjacent windows. Because large sheets are used, there are few seams to disrupt the clean lines and minimal details.
Study in Contrasts
The living room of a cottage becomes a study in contrast, with a pale rug and lampshade playing off the dark paneled walls and sofa cushions. The sofa cushions have been covered in a bright-on-dark crewelwork pattern of fanciful flowers and tendrils that amplifies the theme.
Martha's Coat of Black
When redecorating the guest apartment at Turkey Hill, her Connecticut home, Martha gave it several coats of black paint. The rooms, though bright and cheerful, were cluttered with a jumble of furniture, some of which had been painted white over the years. "It was the popular thing to do -- dressing up shabby furniture with a coat of paint," says Martha." And I thought, if it works with white, why not try it with black?"
Shown here is Martha's collection of Aesthetic Movement hardware, which was ideal for this project: Drawer handles made sleek shade pulls, and hooks replaced Shaker-style wooden pegs along the horizontal wall trim.
Martha's Dining Room
The unique proportions of the dining room allow for this oversize table, a great place for spreading out work after guests have left. Complementing the galvanized-steel tabletop are black-painted grange chairs and horsehair table mats in lieu of a conventional cloth. "Black" foods, including blueberries, black raspberries, grapes, and cherries, are set out on black-patterned English china. Bundles of black scabiosas complete the table setting. The large cupboard was unremarkable when Martha found it, but when painted in two similar dusky shades -- inside, an almost-aubergine stone brown, and outside, a slightly darker deep caviar -- and filled with clear glassware, it became a handsome and useful focal point. Black window shades help keep the glaring afternoon sunlight in check.
Its wooden frame revitalized with a finish of deep, caviar-gray paint, this worn marble-top table desk occupies a corner of the living room. The wooden chair is painted in a paler, stone-brown shade; the bottom few inches of the chair legs are a darker, true black. A cushion upholstered in glazed black linen and edged in brown satin ribbon makes for a luxurious chair seat. The lamp is topped with a black-silk shade lined with metallic gauze fabric. Even small details -- the cast-bronze chow chow and the black-patterned English china meant to catch keys and loose change, for example -- continue the color scheme.
This lead-colored wire workstand holds a collection of pewter, tin, and steel cooking molds. Lounging on the tile floor, Martha's black chow ZuZu coordinates beautifully with the decor.
Black soapstone countertops replaced white Corian in Martha's kitchen; black glass drawer pulls replaced wood.
Martha's Kitchen Rack
A flea-market wire rack, updated with a new coat of paint, keeps kitchen staples at hand.
Bathroom at Martha's
In a bathroom with bright-white tile and porcelain fixtures, few accessories are required. The carved wooden wall mirror was painted a dark gray-black; the standing adjustable mirror and the wire wastebasket did not need painting. Neither did the tall, wirework towel stand, one of a pair that Martha found at an antiques show.
Get the look with Martha Stewart Living Larsson Carbon Black Mirror at the Home Depot.
Martha's Living Room
An embroidered chocolate-brown silk-velvet tapestry hangs between living-room windows; its lively pattern sets off the graceful lines of an eighteenth-century camelback sofa. The black-horsehair fabric on the sofa, though a splurge, was a good investment -- it is virtually indestructible. The coffee table, originally a galvanized freezer rack, is the ultimate in functionality.
Bedroom at Martha's
In the bedroom, a trim bedside table (found at auction) has the same rich, true-black ebonized finish as the bed. The reading lamp was painted a stone brown.
Get the look with Martha Stewart Living Larsson Carbon Black Side Table at the Home Depot.
Martha's Plant Stand
Also painted in stone brown, this newly refinished plant stand sits demurely in the corner of the living room, a base for a towering topiary.