Care for some Colour with that Black and White Room?

New Blue

Last post, exploring white rooms defined by black, ended with a longing for colour. That’s natural. Through the interplay of black and white, or shadow and light, colour appears. This can be proved by looking through a prism or watching a sunset. When sunlight shines horizontally through the atmospheric shadow-blanket it makes a coral-red sunset or a purple-red one, based on the thickness of the haze.

Coral sofa courtesy De Gournay, archive discontinued furniture collection

“Colours”, said Goethe, “are the deeds and sufferings of the light.”

Using colour to describe emotion is in our vernacular, for instance ‘seeing red’. The correlation between visual colour and emotional colour is common knowledge. Feeling blue, mellow yellow, black moods. Caution signs are orange and stop signs are red because of the emotions they engage.

dining chair
Bourbon Dining Chair courtesy Brabbu, Porter Teleo Wallcoverings ‘Tangled’

Design works within the gradual change of fashionable colours. Far from superficial, the influences on colour trends are deep and varied. Currently, you might agree, the look is for white or natural rooms using black and an accent colour for oomph. To be bold, you reverse, a single colour for the large areas, using accents of black and white with gold standing in for naturals.

Pierre Frey Furniture Instagram, Porter Teleo Wallcoverings ‘Outside the Box’

For interior design colour accents in black and white rooms, the spotlight is on Red and Blue. The blue is a particular shade known in the art world as Ultramarine. The red tones go from pink to coral to raspberry.

Hunt Sloanem painting at Galerie de Bellefeuille, photo Lois Macaulay, Brabbu lounge chair

Red is called the luster of life owing to its warmth and vitality. ‘In the pink’ is better than ‘in the red’ but for interior design both colours are bold. You might as well just go for it. Tristan Auer took the plunge with gloss lacquer walls in berry red, with black-white marble chevrons below and an enormous white led dome above.

Hotel du Louvre Paris
Hotel du Louvre Paris, photo courtesy

Blue is man’s favourite colour. It’s a midday sky when the sun illumines the atmosphere against deep space. (Light in front of darkness creates blue at the border.) You can say blue is withdrawn, but it indicates cool-headedness. It’s the colour of trust and loyalty. Blue chip, bluebloods, true blue. Known as a cool colour, I hear people say ultramarine feels warm. Prada nailed the trend in their new retail store on Bloor Street in Toronto. The black and white floor is ‘tiled’ carpet pieces.

Prada Boutique, photo Lois Macaulay, Jean-Louis Deniot photo courtesy

Blue is very cool for club names. Remember Casablanca’s Blue Parrot and George Smiley following the trail to the Blaue Diamant? Todd Merrill Studio, New York, in their gallery for 20th Century objects for the home, offers a pair of Milo Baughman swivel chairs in the perfect blue. The gold swivel base is on trend and a wonderful feature for easy living. Seeking one colour statement to update a neutral room? Try lounge chairs, les pièces du jour.

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Milo Baughman swivel lounge chairs, photo courtesy Todd Merrill Studio, New York

Another noteworthy development is the high style dining table. The Antonio de Marco Laguna Table uses arches. I am seeing a lot of arch shapes. Translucence is important. All together, this is a remarkable table for a very special space.

Laguna Modular Table, Antonio de Marco, photo courtesy 1st Dibs

Artists have always loved ultramarine blue. Hunt Slonem is no exception. I love his cheery-be butterflies and bunnies, for their ultra-sophistication and lack of seriousness, except for the serious acquisition requirements, shall we say.

Hunt Slonem, photo Lois Macaulay. Porter Teleo wallpaper photo courtesy Primavera Interior FurnishingsSo here is the arch, and there are the opposites: black and white, light and shade, red and bluegreen, the coloured objects outside and the emotional colours inside. Like breathing out and breathing in–which is a good thing to do, noting the arc of change in between, when Divas are sequestered at home. Particularly after the odd fiery moment, or blue spell–absolutely to be expected under the circumstances!

Lois Macaulay, Allied ASID,, 416-921-1043

View Comments (6)
  • We really enjoy reading Lois Macaulay’s design articles.
    Very well written, varied and elegant. Of the highest standard.
    Bravo to Dine!

  • Thank you very much Renette. We, too, value Lois’ insight and passion, and her high standard. We’re happy that so many people can be inspired by her ideas. Thank you for reading and replying. Best wishes to you!

  • Wonderful, Lois! The deGournay coral sofa is so sophisticated, so elegant. I really love the red laquer walls… so sexy! The blue chairs from Tod Merrill Studio are gorgeous, super cozy yet very chic! Thank you for a fabulous article and beauty-feast for the eyes! Carmela Savoia

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