Black and White Design Made Easy – With Futons!

Black and White Living Room

Decorating a room in black and white can definitely simplify a design project while also adding a level of sophistication without a whole lot of effort. Furthermore, there is no shortage of black and white furniture (and gray for that matter).

All that said, photos of professionally-designed black and white interiors may look stunning and impressive, but an exact match can be difficult to replicate. Often, the result can end up looking rather boring and sterile.

So how do you add style, character and, ahem, life to an otherwise colorless space? I have an easy solution. Choose a bright accent color or bold patterned furniture to make the space fun and playful.

3 Black and White Design FutonsSome people do this with pillows, wall hangings, tabletop accessories, throw blankets, etc.. Achieve this with larger furnishings such as sofas, tables and chairs – as long as you don’t shay away from making a bold statement.

You can use black and white patterns in combination with each other without worry of clashing colors. Typically, patterns that contrast each other work better together than ones that have similar patterns.

When decorating with contrasting patterns, limit the amount used, as you don’t want to clutter up the room. Unless you are decorating a large space, use only 1-2 pieces when working with larger furniture like a black and white futon, couch or chair.

Also keep in mind the floor and wall colors. Contrasting furniture colors can work well if you want them to stand out (for example a white sofa with black print alongside a dark gray rug). On the other hand, a dark gray sofa can blend in nicely with a black wall behind it. At this point, it becomes a personal preference.

Tips for Black and White Design:

These are some basic guidelines to follow assuming you don’t have any furniture yet and are working with a “blank slate”.

    Black and White Striped Wallpaper
    courtesy of

  1. Start with your wall and floor colors. For instance, do you want to keep the walls white to add height to the room and use a darker carpet that doesn’t show dirt?

    How about striped wallpaper? (Keep in mind that all walls don’t have to be the same color and you may want a hardwood floor that is neither white nor black). 

  2. Next, think about any cabinetry or shelving that will be in the room. Typically, these will be the same color as the wall they are attached to, but you don’t want to forget them nonetheless. 
  3. Choose the larger pieces of furniture. Think about what I mentioned above: do you want the furniture to contrast the walls and floor or match it? Do you want patterned furniture with solid-color accessories or vice versa? Do you want matching furniture or not?  
  4. Lastly, incorporate your accessory items like sofa pillows, throw blankets, lamps, coffee table decor, etc.. These pieces can be a great way to add a personal touch to the room, and they don’t necessarily need to be black or white, as they will be small enough to not detract from the color scheme of the room.