Mixing black, white and gray tile with metal accents makes...

Mixing black, white and gray tile with metal accents makes a bathroom both trendy and timeless. Credit: Fotolia.com

Black-and-white decor can be especially striking in a bathroom, opening up a wide range of design possibilities. The palette is classic and traditional as well as contemporary and cutting-edge. It can work with any accent color and can even make it look bolder and more vibrant. The combination is perfect for the decoraphobe who can't quite commit to richer hues.


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. It also can be revved up with a punchy accent color, such as red, turquoise or bright yellow. While the combination of black and white can be daring and stylishly fresh, adding a third color can take a bath from stunning to eye-popping. An unexpected color, such as teal, deep taupe or chartreuse brings an added surprise. You can tone down the look by using jewel tones, such as deep forest green or navy for a more serious, grown-up edge.


With all the white fixtures in a typical bathroom, resist adding even more. Instead, install black walls or floors as a wonderful 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 adds depth and texture.


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 honeycomb-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, such as herringbone, houndstooth or damask to introduce pattern and some visual interest.


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 great 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.

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