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Monochrome is [still] in. Black, White remain timeless
Posted on Friday, October 2, 2009

Playing it safe with neutrals? You’re just like a lot of us. There is, say the color pundits, always a place for classic white. Think touches of brilliance, literally.

What we’re seeing is a modern color story — a level of continuity that is never ending in home décor and on the runways. That’s right, the fashion color palette (more often than not), correlates directly to what’s happening in the home. So … think refined and classic. Elegant colors with longevity are white, black and gray. It’s all about slight nuances in shading, pristine and not quite white and deep, rich tones of black with hints of shining silver (along the lines of faucet finishes). Yes, it is actually that simple.

As for that runway analogy, it really is true. The Pantone Color Institute reports, “Pairing a bold color with a basic piece or freshening up a look with bright accents addresses the need for practicality, as well as fun.” And, “thoughtful, cautious neutrals provide a dependable backbone.” Now, think about color options in terms of bath sinks, toilets, vanities and more.

Even “biscuit” and “black black” continue to be the choice for plumbing fixtures, according to major bath fixture manufacturers, who once relied only on classic white as the mainstay. These hues have now been recast for vanities too. Add drama to neutrals through accessories, wall color and decorative objects, say the color experts.

To utilize black and white in your bath design, here are a few points to consider:

  • Black and white are dramatic on their own, but if you are itching for more hues, add in a textural floor rug in a vivid shade or even a lighting fixture.
  • Color shy? Don’t despair. Add color in a small dose (let’s say in the powder room, for instance). You’ll definitely make an elegant modern statement by pairing a vessel sink in powder puff pink (for example) with a black or white toilet.
  • Go for a pairing that meshes the color story with ease and sophistication by incorporating sinks with patterns, such as plaid designed vessels or ones with black and white zebra striping.
  • Be careful not to create a “polka dot” effect with a black pedestal sink or a white toilet. Mixing and matching is a plus when it looks like it’s been done on purpose, but not when the room ends up feeling like it has yet to be completed.
  • Focus on creating contrast. Start with a piece you love, such as a vanity, toilet or tile pattern and take it forward from there. But be careful not to create a black hole with a dark hue that literally takes over, making a small space look even smaller than it already is.
  • Black and white is a color story that is limitless. Once you decide you want to use black and white, you’ll be amazed at how many manufacturers have been turned on to the color combo in their design portfolio. Peruse mainstream home and décor retailers as well as online shopping venues and you’ll find vanities, sinks, toilets, tiles, towel bars, soap dishes, soap caddies, magazine racks, and more. You know how it goes, once you think about doing something, it seems to show up everywhere.
  • "Sensual minimalism" is a term being used frequently by design firms that embrace black and white for the modern bath aesthetic. The term translates to fixtures and accessories with “soft edges.”
  • Upscale restaurants and bars have been incorporating velvety black and creamy white for bathroom interiors. If you need inspiration to redo what you have at home, check out the bathroom the next time you dine or have cocktails, you’ll be surprised with the ideas you just might come up with.
  • The spa ambience is achieved through dim lighting and the pervasive use of monochromatic hues. If your bath is doused in this color, maintain the sensibility with your linen choices too, by treating yourself to plush luxury with high-quality white towels.

So if you’re thinking about integrating black and white into your design scheme, then you’re likely already thinking clean and linear. Those two elements definitely fulfill a dramatic design scenario — whether you’re striving for sophisticated elegance or minimalism at its best— the neutral palette is [still] touted for statement making bath interiors.

Now, if the modern color story of black and white is on the drawing board for your new bath or renovation (or if you’ve been recently inspired), check out the latest products on, they just might be apropos for your personal style and provide the color continuity you seek while fitting your budget too:


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