This Classic Color Combination Never Goes Out of Style

Chapel Hill House White Exterior with Black Shutters
Photo: Ngoc Minh Ngo; Styling: Ed Gallagher

From marble checkerboard floors in a grand entry to a traditional white house with black shutters, there's no color combination that's more classic than black and white. White paint has the uncanny ability to freshen the look of anything—tired exteriors, dingy interiors, or old furniture – while a dash of black paint gives anything a bit of graphic edge. You can also flip the traditional recipe and use mostly black to modernize an exterior, cozy up an interior room, or transform a tired antique, but keep the pop of white to add some lightness and contrast. The graphic combo can be high contrast with a stark white and a deep black or you can soften the color contradictions with creamy whites and dark graphite or navy. Changing up the finish of the paints also makes a huge difference. Going for a glamorous look? Try high gloss finishes (they also last longer). Striving for something softer and more organic? Opt for matte finishes. Here are three of our favorite black and white paint color combinations:

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Back to Basics

Paige Morse Black and White Bohemian Living Room
Photo: Cody Ulrich; Styling: Paige Morse

"This room is made of all recycled materials. We used a satin finish on the walls to hide their imperfections—but not their history—and a basic black porch paint on the floor."

—Paige Morse, interior designer and stylist, Dallas;

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Classic Combination

Paige Morse's Black and White Paint Choices
Southern Living

Decorator's White (CC-20);

Iron Ore (SW 7069);

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Black and White Done Right

Doug Davis Black and White Color Picks
Southern Living

"A home's architecture should inform its palette. Traditional Colonial houses look best painted white with black accents, but go for full black with white trim on a modern style."

—Doug Davis, interior designer, Birmingham;

Palais White (GR-W15);

Tricorn Black (SW 6258);

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Perfect Pair

Amie Corley Black and White Picks
Southern Living

"I like to soften the contrast by pairing a white shade that has a little bit of age to it with a black hue that's actually closer to midnight navy."

—Amie Corley, interior designer, St. Louis;

Swiss Coffee (OC-45);

Black Blue (No. 95);

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