Black, white redo

Whether it’s prints and checks, polka dots or zebra stripes, infusing the classic timelessness of black and white into accessories and furnishings has long been a staple of interior designers, but this season black and white has made a startling emergence.

The striking contrasts play well against each other as witnessed on the Web pages of Better Homes and Gardens, Ethan Allen, HGTV and in furniture showrooms and kitchen collections.

After all, a black-and-white palette is a striking interior design tool that can be used to create a standout space, designers say.

“The starkness of both colors plays off each other to create an elegant, contemporary look,” says Lisa Rittierodt, interior designer at Ethan Allen.

“Homeowners are often afraid to commit to a certain color. The combination of black and white can be used as a base in a room or by itself. Black and white creates a clean look and is very striking,” says Victoria Veiock, owner of Wicker and the Works in Valley Junction, Iowa.

“Be careful when using different black and white patterns, though,” says Rittierodt. “You need to balance different size and scale patterns within plain black and white.”

To create a more traditional classic or country setting with black and white, the designers suggest using gingham check or toile patterns. For something wild, do turn to zebra or cow prints.

Zebra stripes are “the hot print in furnishings and accessories this season,” says Daleton Patterson, who co-owns Guava, a furniture and home accessory store in Pensacola, Fla.

“Use it sparingly” however, says Patterson’s business partner Michael Weiss. “A little zebra can go a long way.”

The contrast of black and white in a room can be heightened with addition of colorful accents, Rittierodt says.

“I like to mix hot pink in with the black and white in the summer; and then red and lime green in the winter,” Veiock says. “It is easy to create a new look for each season.”