Style & Design

Designing with Black and White Tile

Black-and-white checkerboard laundry room floor

Photo courtesy of West Bay Homes

The phrase “black and white” in and of itself evokes an image, maybe an old movie or a poignant photograph. It conjures a pared down aesthetic, a classic look.

Ever since technology allowed films, television and photographs to be shown in color, a nostalgia for black and white has persisted. Even with the technology that is available at our fingertips, we still savor having the option of filtering our photos into black and white. The black-and-white color palette gives an undeniable air of sophistication to mediums from photography to fashion.

Nature photo in black-and-white tones.

Photo by John Westrock on Unsplash

“Black and white always looks modern, whatever that word means.” – Karl Lagerfeld

Modern, just like a black-and-white color palette, is open to interpretation. Lagerfeld’s go-to look (all black and white, naturally) defined this aesthetic, appearing thoroughly modern and unique and at the same time with a hint of vintage and classic. Because black and white is versatile. That’s why an image of an effortlessly chic fashionista is usually wearing a black-and-white outfit. It’s an easy uniform to build upon and customize.

A chic black dress.

The same principle applies to interior design. Black-and-white home decor might seem like a modern construct, but this color palette has been utilized for hundreds of years. There’s a black-and-white marble tiled floor at the Palace of Versailles, dating back to the 1680s. Applying this palette to the design of a space allows you to invoke some of the same attributes that have made the black-and-white combination popular for centuries—classic, chic and timeless style.

As it is said in fashion, when in doubt, wear black and white. We say, when in doubt, tile in black and white. A testament to its versatility, you can achieve many different looks and feels with this high-impact color combination. By thoughtfully considering the accessories, furniture, fixtures and art that you add to your black-and-white space, you’ll have the opportunity to create any atmosphere or mood, making your home uniquely yours.

Black and White + Gold

Unique shapes are accentuated in black and white.

Featured: Icefall White, Black Hex

Regal, rich and glamorous—the triple threat of black, white and gold checks each box. Whether you incorporate it directly into your tile design (with gold tiles or stunning Dural metallic trims) or add a nod to it with gilded fixtures, like the brushed-gold faucet above, the addition of gold to your black-and-white design makes this already impactful color combination come alive. Using a contrasting white grout with a black floor tile adds further interest and highlights pattern and shape.

Black and White + Color

Black-and-white bathroom with pops of green and pink.

Featured: Bulevar White, Charcoal Blend Gatsby, Noir Engraved Travertine

Color and whimsy do not have to be sacrificed when you opt for a black-and-white tile design. In fact, each curated pop of color you choose will have even more impact when it is contrasted with black and white. Selecting very few bright colors, like in the image above, means that each one will pack a stylistic punch, contrasting with the black-and-white patterned floor tile. One color repeated throughout a room creates a look of bold but simple cohesion. Show off your creative, eclectic and playful side with endless possibilities of combinations that show your true colors.

Black and White + Brown

A black-and-white bathroom with an encaustic patterned floor.

Featured: Liria Negro Encaustic, Imperial Bone Gloss, Noir Polished Arabesque Travertine

To avoid a look that is overly modern or stark, warm up a black-and-white design with shades of brown and tan. Natural elements, like this woven basket that is also functional, are an easy trick for giving a space warmth and life. Plants, natural fibers, linens and warm wood tones all subtly help foster a cozy, relaxed environment and tone down the austerity. To soften the overall look, incorporate shades of brown into the paint choices or tile design, like the subtle hints of tan in this otherwise black-and-white pattern tile. The floor and space instantly become much more inviting.

Black and White + Grey

Grey is a natural addition to a black-and-white color scheme. Already a popular color in interior design, grey-scale tones seamlessly coordinate with both shades and act as a softer neutral, producing a calming effect. Even small hints of grey, such as the veining in this white marble tile or softer tones in a wood-look tile, can beautifully tie the whole design together and facilitate the transition between black and white.

Black and White Only

An all black-and-white color scheme favors the bold. Yet this simple design is surprising classic at the same time. Despite the high contrast, it’s still as versatile as any other color combination. The juxtaposition is the reason we love black and white—it can toe the line between masculine and feminine, modern and nostalgic, bold and subtle. Graphic patterns and designs tend towards more modern style while a black-and-white minimalistic space is a classic look. In the example above, using black-and-white hexagon tiles to create a large-scale design results in a statement-making wall that is a work of art.

The overall feeling of your black-and-white tiled space is all about the thoughtful touches. Styling a space with an elegant touch of gold, a playful pop of color, a warm hint of tan, a soothing grey element or black and white alone brings life and a unique spin to the space you love. Considering the various patterns, shapes and styles of tiles available, from mosaics to hexagons to wood look, the possibilities are endless. When you begin with a classic color combination that stands the test of time, you can’t go wrong. Schedule your design consultation today to start creating your black-and-white tile design.

4 Ways to Incorporate Black and White Into Your Space

4 ways to tile with black and white.

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