I’m drawn to black and white retro rooms that can be layered against a tropical background that is moody, sexy, and mysterious. It’s a jungle out there behind the sliding doors with wild, powerful, and seductive animals like Mrs. Robinson. Her animal print outfit is certainly part of the movie set- it unmistakably points to her cougar’s nature. You can add tropical plants, or jungle prints, to any black and white setting to mimic this vibe.
Designer Tips for Black and White Entryways
Shapes and forms have stronger visual power in a black and white entryway. If you want to make it warmer and more welcoming, you should accent the black and white scheme with just a few, carefully selected bold pieces of furniture or decor. Capture the sensual vibe of the above scene from the movie by using soft lighting to create subtle shadows. Accomplish this by using dimmers, or chandeliers with shades.
Add a strong pop of color
If you want to make your entryway more dramatic, playful, or glamorous- add a strong pop of color with a rug or single piece of accent furniture. You can take the look of your entryway in many different directions. Use red for bold, glamour, or mod, animal prints for a sexy or adventurous vibe, or blue for sophistication and chic style. The below John-Richard Collection Talullah four-drawer chest would be perfect for a black and white entryway. Elegant and decorative, it draws attention while being still glamorously understated.
- Hardwood, acacia, and wood composite.
- Gold-painted trim; back is painted black.
- Mortise-and-tenon frame construction; dovetailed joints.
- Four drawers.
- 44″W x 22.5″D x 35.75″T.
Use a vibrant rug for a black and white room
Another excellent choice for a splash of visual interest for a black and white room is to use a rich, vibrant rug. The Kas Signature Round Rug, below, has a striking Signature Prism pattern. Its playful geometric shapes are in a vibrant palette of bold jewel tones, providing it with an appearance of depth.
- Hand-tufted on a loom by skilled artisans.
- The design is hand-stenciled onto a canvas.
- Ultra-soft wool
- Stain-resistant, fire-retardant and biodegradable
Designer Tips for Entertaining Areas
Whether your primary social space is in your kitchen, living room, or a combination of both thanks to an open concept design- there are many fun ways to craft a retro-inspired look for a black and white space.
Introduce a Chesterfield Sofa
There is nothing sexier or more sumptuous than the smooth dark leather of a Chesterfield sofa. This couch hugs you, invites you to stay a little longer. It’s a perfect beauty with impeccable proportions both on the elegant serpentine arms and the shapely legs. Its’ face is beautifully tufted. This Chesterfield is soft and sexy but yet Fifty Shades of Grey naughty. It is confident enough to stand alone or can co-exist with many other types of furniture.
Bring in attractive animal prints
Animal prints in small portions always give spaces a sex appeal. However, be careful and not use too much of them. I like to use small objects rather than overwhelm the space with extensive all-printed bedding or drapes. When the whole room is covered in animal prints, it can look vulgar. Meanwhile, accent furniture and accessories are fun and playful additions. Don’t be afraid to try fluffy textures and shiny glamorous metallic objects.
Below are a few of my top picks for adding pops of color and retro style to your living room.
- End Table with Marble Top. Flawlessly handcrafted by Bernhardt, a pioneer in American furniture manufacturing.
- Black Telephone Vase. This pop art piece makes a delightful reference to the retro era with a vintage cell phone shape. Use this vase to bring exotic, lush greenery to the room.
- Crossley Radio Cruiser. A handsome turntable modeled after British Dansette models of the 1960s features a lid and handle for portability.
- Dian Austin Couture Throw. Taking inspiration from fashion’s most famous houses of haute couture, the Dian Austin Couture Home collection features luxurious bed linens and window treatments with a high level of attention to detail. Introduced in 2006, the collection features extraordinary textiles from around the world.
Tips for Black and White Outdoor Spaces
Because nature does not ask us if green goes with gray- everything works together in God’s laboratory. Don’t be afraid to mix stripes and animal prints in your outdoor setting. This will create a delightfully exaggerated look that Mrs. Robinson would definitely approve of.
Below are my top picks for retro decor for a black and white outdoor space to direct or inspire you.
- Leopard Print Folding Chair. It’s’ unexpected fabric application makes your patio, beach or lawn more fun. This is a perfect way to add a sexy animal print to your space in a classy way.
- California Pagoda Black and White Umbrella. Whether you’re entertaining or just lounging outdoors, catch some shade in style with this patio umbrella.
- Cherry Red Retro Cooler. This cooler looks great and makes for a fun a conversation piece. It is perfect for the outdoor party season as this easily transportable cooler holds up to 18 cans or 12 bottles securely with a locking handle and lid.
- Crossley Outdoor Retro Table. Give your outdoor patio a pop of color with this classic retro metal side table. It’s fun lacquer white color is easily cleaned and looks quite chic!
Tips for Retro Lighting
If you remember from the movie, one of the iconic phrases was one-word- PLASTICS. Here are many fun, retro-inspired lighting options to play with that theme. These shapes, colors, and styles are all perfect for any black and white room.
Pyra Table Lamp. This lamp harkens back to the era of neon lights while still maintaining a bright, mid-century vibe. It’s intentionally oversized, towering shade filters light, creating a super-soft glow that flows up and down.
Plexi- Craft Francis. This retro-futuristic side table seductively snakes in thick acrylic to show off three tiers of storage or display space. Handcrafted in the USA.
Cici Pendant. Fashioned with a clear bubbled glass shade and silver hardware, this midcentury-inspired pendant will bring an illuminating glow and retro appeal to any space. Hardwired.
Bariano Table Lamp. This classic retro lamp makes for a stylish addition to any home. This lamp features an oversized hardback round shade and a delightful ribbed lamp base.
Finally, One More Thing
This has nothing to do with black and white retro rooms but it has been on my mind. I just wanted to share The Sound of Silence song from the Graduate with you. As I listened to it, I thought that the lyrics are more relevant now than ever before. They could as well refer to our challenges of today, such as isolation caused by the new VIRTUAL REALITY GOD that we pray today. Am I right?