It's every color, and no color at all. It can be high-contrast and high style all by itself, or it can form a neutral backdrop. It's black and white:...

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It’s every color, and no color at all. It can be high-contrast and high style all by itself, or it can form a neutral backdrop.

It’s black and white: a color combination that is both a perennial favorite and an up-to-the-minute look in home décor.

“It’s a very big trend right now,” says Becky Boswell Smith, editor-in-chief of Home Accents Today, a monthly trade publication based in Greensboro, N.C.

Smith says retailers are offering a plethora of black and white options, from furniture with black-stained wood and harlequin fabric to chandeliers dripping with jet-black beads to black-and-white toile bedding.

“It’s really everywhere — from the more ornate parts of the market as well as the crossover styles, from baroque to contemporary,” says Smith. “It’s a clean, fresh look. With the classic look we’ve been seeing in furnishings, where traditional is strong but it’s refined, black and white really seems to make those lines pop. “

For Indianapolis designer Tom Myers, though, black and white “is calming, timeless and won’t date itself. It’s really easy to live with.”

Here are some ideas for using black and white:

• Consider painting walls black in a small area, such as a butler’s pantry. “It can be a great neutral, if supplemented with the right kind of light,” Myers says.

• Create a wall display with inexpensive black frames around black-and-white photos.

• For instant impact, pair a bright color with black and white. “Yellow is always strong with black and white,” Smith says.

• Combine different patterns in the same palette, such as checks and stripes with a toile or floral.

• Consider painting inexpensive furniture black for instant impact.