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Zebras, penguins, pandas: sometimes I can't help but wonder if the black and white animals of the world know best when it comes to timeless style. There's something to be said for keeping it simple, and it doesn't get more straightforward than the high contrast of black against white. Plus, each of these two opposing shades has high impact when used alone, so paired together they can't help but make a dynamic, and memorable statement in your home decor, furnishings, and lighting.
There's no secret to successful black and white decor, but a few tips can take the look from so-so to stupendous. When you're working with a limited palette, texture and pattern become key players in the task of creating a multi-dimensional space.
Incorporate several materials—metal, wool, stone, lacquer—for a range of surface and finish effects. Mix prints like stripes, checks, or abstract graphics to keep the eyes moving.
Once you lay a black and white decor foundation, you can add warmth with one or two additional neutrals such as brass, silver, rattan, or wood. Or try for easy and inexpensive seasonal updates with a splash of color as the seasons change. Given the seemingly limitless possibilities, who says black-and-white thinking is bad?
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Anne Sage is a design and lifestyle editor based in San Francisco. Her daily interiors and fashion blog The City Sage was named a must-read by Martha Stewart Living, and she was featured in the New York Times for her co-founding of the online shelter publication Rue Magazine. She also works as a stylist and art director for brands such as Target and Anthropologie.
In her spare time, Anne is most likely to be found color coding the books on her vintage Paul McCobb shelving unit.
Follow Anne on Google+