19 Ways to Decorate With Black and White for the Holidays

Mix things up this holiday season by introducing black and white into your Christmas color palette.
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April 16, 2015

Black and White Accents

Designers Britany Simon and Brian Patrick Flynn worked together to add an updated, graphic look to an Atlanta home's traditional holiday decor by including strong, contrasting elements of black and white.

Black and White Stripes

From the over-scale fabric poinsettias on the Christmas tree to the mix of black-and-white wrapping paper prints, the color combination makes its way around the living room in both a strong and subtle manner.

Wrapped Books

Designers often add both graphic appeal and colorful updates to hardback books by covering the books with coordinating fabrics. To incorporate black, white and red into the living room, each book was covered with stripes and gingham. By keeping the palette holiday-centric, but using patterns meant for year-round use, this ensures the books can remain out once the holidays have passed.

Festive Sofa Accessories

To add holiday flair to the living room's year-round sofa, pillows and throws are layered on and the end tables are decorated with ornaments for a festive, seasonal touch.

Holiday Sofa Pillows

Throw pillows are an instant way to add holiday flair to your furniture. As the holiday season rolls in, this living room's sofa is given a quick and easy Christmas makeover with large metallic silk pillows paired with smaller ones featuring a wintry red, white and black plaid pattern.

Ornament Lamps

Fillable clear glass lamps offer the opportunity to change up the look of your task lighting seasonally. In order to bring black, white, red and metallic flair to this living room's pair of lamps, an off-white drum shade with a thin band of black detailing was added. The glass body was filled with a combination of red, gold and silver ornaments. Once the holidays pass, the lamps can instantly take on everyday appeal by switching the ornaments out for something different.

Main Color Scheme

From different vantage points within the living room, black and white can take on identity as the dominant or secondary color scheme. Upon entry, guests are greeted by strong elements of red and green which are broken up by accents of black and white. Once seated in the space, though, black and white becomes the dominant design element. This sort of color mixing is an excellent way to achieve balance and avoid the possibility of becoming overtly matchy.

Contrasting Ornaments

In order to add the proper balance of black and white to a Christmas tree, keep in mind that contrast and proximity are key. When placed on a green tree, black ornaments tend to blend in and white ornaments tend to stand out. When hanging the ornaments, try clustering them close to one another ensuring roughly two black ornaments for every white ornament. This mix will help keep the proper contrast consistent so both colors are showcased equally.

Striped Poinsettias

At least one bold statement of black and white is essential to truly making the color palette pop. Fabric poinsettias made from patterned fabric or even solid felt are easy to make and allow you to go as big as necessary. All that's needed to create these is fabric, scissors, a needle, thread, hot glue and a button.

Patterned Skirt

Tree skirts offer another opportunity to play with black and white through pattern. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, it's likely the tree skirt will remain bare and you'll be able to see it more clearly. Once covered up with gifts, the skirt will lose its presence. Consider using black mixed with another holiday accent color, then bringing in accents of white through wrapped gifts. This will ensure that your skirt will still remain part of the overall design.

Cozy Throw

When updating your holiday palette with black and white, it's not necessary to stick with black and white prints specific to the holidays. To dress up this wingback chair, a red-and-white check pillow was paired with a graphic black-and-white throw blanket. This look also works for everyday use.

Santa Stationery

Here's a black and white idea that comes straight out of a printer. Have your designated Santa print out Santa stationery online, sign it and leave it near your children's thank you treats.

Fireside Decor

This fireside gift wrapping area continues the black and white theme from the floor to the fireplace and into the Christmas tree thanks to a graphic rug, handmade stockings and a tree decorated mostly with black and natural-toned ornaments.

Plaid Tree Skirt

When it comes to choosing a holiday tree skirt that's a bit less expected than those featuring reindeer or snowflakes, consider plaid or tartan. Not only do plaids and tartans evoke a wintry feeling, but they also bring in a masculine touch which can keep your overall holiday decor as appealing to men as it is to women.

Natural-Toned Tree Decor

Since the gift wrapping area was designed to be heavy on black and light on white, the tree is dressed mostly with black and natural-toned ornaments. This results in a more subtle aesthetic. The played-down approach allows the room's main feature, a lighting installation piece over the mantel, to remain the focal point of the space.

Lighted Focal Point

For strong, graphic impact, Britany created a lighting installation from three cardboard letters and industrial globe string lights. Once illuminated, the trio of letters instantly becomes the room's main focal point. To balance the intensity of the bright white, black was used heavily in other areas to keep the color scheme balanced.

Patterned Stockings

A little bit of black and white goes a long way. Britany had four custom stockings made for Mom, Dad, daughter and son — each featuring a subtle or strong use of black and white.

Holiday Apothecary Jars

In order to add pops of color and black and white on the fireside gift wrapping area's mantel, Britany filled three clear glass apothecary jars with tiny gifts using wrapping paper in shades of red, black and white.

Bold Tree Pots

Dress up your fireplace this season with small cypress or juniper trees in bold-colored pots. If choosing a black or white pot, consider adding a few metallic or red ornaments to the tree. Use a red or green pot for a big punch of color, and use ornaments in black or white to keep the color scheme flowing throughout the tree.

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