Sara Essex Bradley
They say opposites attract, but the jury’s still out on whether those who reside on polar ends of the spectrum actually reside together for long. One exception? Black and white. A designer favorite that dates all the way back to America’s first “official” interior decorator, Dorothy Draper, black and white is both classic and avant-garde. Designers adore using the combo anywhere, but especially the bathroom, where hard surfaces reign supreme and opportunities for textiles are limited. Whether used in exclusivity or as a statement color sidekick, a black and white palette makes a dramatic impact in the bathroom.
From classic black and white penny tile to all-over black and white Arabescato marble, black and white can skew pragmatic or hyper-luxe. Part of the appeal of a black and white bath, of course, is that the majority of residential bathrooms come equipped with white porcelain fixtures, making any palette that incorporates the shade a natural shoo-in. In a construction-grade bath, even a move as seemingly simple as painting your walls black can have a stunning effect. For the less reserved among us, a black and white theme delivers as well. Going-for-broke design moves (i.e. all-over wallpaper, all-over marble, or striped tile shower walls) have their risk factor significantly downgraded when rendered in classic black and white.
Mulling over the merits of a black and white bath, but need a little more inspiration before you give it the green light? Ahead, we’ve collected timeless black and white bathroom ideas from top interior designers that make a compelling case for putting this power palette into play.
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Black and white surrounds are enhanced by a jewel-tone green vanity in this sophisticated bath designed by KitchenLab Interiors.
Designer Wesley Moon illustrates the unrivaled chic-ness of an all-black bath underscored with just a hint of white in this Upper East Side retreat.
Nothing is as classic as a black and white cabana stripe, as displayed in this marvelous bath designed by Maureen Stevens Designs.
Set in Stone
White-veined black marble and a high-grain wood vanity strike up a stunning contrast in this alluring bath cued up by J. Fisher Interiors.
Chalk it Up
To lend a main-floor powder room a bit of irreverence, designer Allison Garcy elected to contrast white fixtures with black chalkboard walls.
Black and white has a reputation for skewing formal, but as the firm Anne Decker Architects illustrates in this zen-as-can-be bath, opting for rustic finishes can make the combo feel casually chic.
Mad About Plaid
Take the lead from Ayromloo Design and spring for a black and white tile in a classic pattern like plaid to add verve to a powder room.
Fronds with Benefits
Wallpaper never fails in a powder room, so why not make it black and white wallpaper in a mesmerizing pattern? For this stately bath, Brio Interior Design used a captivating frond-flocked paper.
The Luxe Stuff
Black and white is the zenith of sophistication, so why not opt for an abundance of show-stopping elements in black and white, as the firm Denise McGaha Interiors does in this ultra-luxe bath?
White fixtures stand in dramatic contrast to custom, black-framed bottle glass windows in this show-piece bath designed by the firm Chris Barrett Design.
A hyper-luxe tub crafted of black and white marble makes this bath designed by the firm Denise McGaha Interiors an avant-garde affair.
Playful white trompe l’oeil pieces backed by an exuberant black-and-white butterfly-flocked wallpaper make this powder room designed by Eclectic Home New Orleans feel wonderfully whimsical.
To make white orb pendants appear like glowing planets, firm Jasmin Reese Interiors made the genius call to back them with a gridded black backdrop.
A romantic French armoire feels like perfection when contrasted with classic black and white elements in this beautiful bath designed by the firm Kathryn Ivey Interiors.
Ken Tate Architect shows the unrivaled risk-taking potential of black and white in this next-level bath clad almost entirely in black and white marble.
In this bath designed by KitchenLab Interiors, shades of taupe are energized by a graphic tile floor featuring pops of black and white.
A predominantly black and white palette can be a low-risk way to incorporate an all-over floral wallpaper, as illustrated in this charming bath designed by KitchenLab Interiors.
For this intriguing bath, KitchenLab Interiors adopted a black and white palette to make a variety of shapes, textures, and global influences go off without a hitch.
Home on the Range
For a bath located in a Montana ranch home, firm Koo de Kir Architectural Interiors uses a black and white statement tile in the shower surround to cultivate a mood that feels both sophisticated and rustic.
A convivial shade of magenta provides a high-wattage contrast to black and white marble statement marble in this ultra-chic bath by designer Lisa Gilmore.
Writing’s on the Wall
Limiting your palette to black and white allows you the rare opportunity to merge contrasting wallcoverings with little risk. For this vibrant bath, firm Liz Caan & Co. cleverly juxtaposes latticed marble with print-covered wallpaper.
When it comes to black and white, Fornasetti is always a good idea—as put on full display in this standout bath designed by Liz Caan & Co.
A dreamy black and white mural wallpaper, Rococo mirror, clawfoot tub, and black-and-white penny tile makes this bath designed by Maureen Stevens Design look positively enchanted.
Black and white can be an excellent way to integrate eccentric statement pieces into a bath, as illustrated by this evocative bath designed by Michael Del Piero Good Design.
When working with black walls and white fixtures, consider light sources that cast a gaslamp-like glow. As Michael K. Chen Architecture shows in this handsome bath, the effect can be downright bewitching.
A black-and-white Escher-style wallpaper and powder blue vanity make this bathroom designed by the firm Pappas Miron feel playfully posh.
A modernist blue mirror speaks volumes in this otherwise strictly black and white bath designed by Pappas Miron.
Cool & Collected
In this classic bath designed by Paul Corrie, black and white provide a neutral backdrop for a menagerie of collected treasures.
Gold proves to be a powerful accent color in this arresting black and white bathroom designed by the firm Sherwood Kypreos.
Make it Art
This elegant hideaway designed by Spencer & Wedekind makes a strong case for using black and white photography as a springboard for a primary bath.
Black and white is the perfect complement to industrial accents in this Denver loft bath designed by the firm Studio Gild.
Back to Basics
From the showerhead to the sink plumbing, everything in this bath designed by studio CAK adheres to a striking black and white palette.
For a modernist bath, designer Scott Sanders elected to use black and white color blocking to cue up a dramatic effect.
Now and Zen
Designer Sean Anderson decided to contrast modern finishes with antique elements in this compelling bath.
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