Black and white houses

There is something very appealing about an exterior colour scheme with strong contrasts.  They make an impact and this is no more true than with black and white houses.  Pinterest is full of inspiration for gorgeous black and white houses.  Many will be white with black trim and windows or all black with fresh white trim.  However, the ones that intrigue me the most are those that are black and white but not in the conventional sense.

I have put together a few of my favourites to demonstrate this design point.  There are some very clever tricks to inspire you if you are currently building, renovating or simply thinking of giving your house a makeover.

Black and White houses – contemporary farmhouse style

Have you noticed that farmhouses are becoming more contemporary in their design and colour palette?  They are still very much in the traditional style but with a modern twist.  No other design element defines this more than a black and white colour scheme.

Black and white houses
Ciao Newport Beach

Traditionally with the above house it would be all one colour with a contrast trim and windows.  Perhaps the shingles would be painted in a different tone or a soft colour added to the front door.  However this trick of painting the garage section all in black, including trim and garage door and then the main house in white with white trim and black windows, is very striking.  I believe it works well as the black windows and front door link it to the garage section.

Black and white houses
La Maison Jolie

The house above is a touch more traditional as the garage door has been painted in white and the fascia boards are also in a fresh white.  By just painting the weatherboards of the garage in black you get some contrast whilst maintaining a more classic feel to the home.

Black and white houses
Image: The Fold Southern Highlands

A far more contemporary approach is to also include the roof in the colour palette.  Again, the black windows on the house links the black extension but I actually think you could also get away with painting the windows of the main house in white too.  With a glass walkway linking the two sections, this is a very striking take on a country farmhouse.  It absolutely works perfectly.

A very traditional look

Black and white houses
Homes to Love

Traditional country homes that are just getting a makeover with paint can benefit from this approach too.  Note the contrasting door colour – white on black and black on white.  This is very appealing and gives the house a modern touch.  By contrasting the doors, you can see that this is how the scheme is meant to be.  One word of caution is to include a design element like this so that it doesn't look as if you ran out of paint, or steam or both and just only painted half of the house!

Black and white houses
Ham Interiors

The off black painted on the house above works well with the slate roof.  This is more of a traditional approach with a different substrate being painted a different colour.  This is a failsafe approach to take.  With just the two strong tones, off white and off black, the look is simple and elegant.

Just a small accent of white

Black and white houses
Grand Tradition Fine Homes

The above house is a similar approach with the render painted in white and the boards in off black.

Black and white houses
Image: Warkworth Constuctions

The white garage on the house above provides contrast without going the whole way and painting that section all in white.  Still a very effective approach to a black and white colour scheme.

A small accent of black

Black and white houses
Jean Stoffer Design via Studio McGee

Another way to introduce some contrast is with a conservatory.  Not often seen in Australia due to the heat, there would be locations where this would work very well.  Black tones make a house look smaller.  By using this on the conservatory of this house, it prevents this addition from looking too large and spoiling the facade of the house.

Black and white houses
Cedar & Suede

If you do have a beautiful old cottage, you can still add a touch of black for a contrast.  the house above has black gutters, front door and handrail.  This is just enough to provide some contrast and is very appealing.

Black and white houses – how to make it work

  1. For a striking effect, use the same tone on the roof and walls of a separate section of the home.
  2. Include the trim (fascia) to create a seamless look.
  3. Consider how you can link the sections of the house.  You can do this with windows or a front door.
  4. Remember that white makes a house appear larger, while black will make it look smaller.  It's important therefore to decide which sections of the house you want to be dominant in the scheme.
  5. If you are just giving your existing home a makeover with paint, consider how you can add design elements to make this work.  You don't want it to look like you only painted half of the house.
  6. Black houses do absorb more heat.  If this needs to be a consideration, consider using a heat reflective paint for the black sections.  You can read more about that here.
  7. If you love this look but feel it may be a step too far for you, just consider adding accents of either white or black.

Black and white houses

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