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Decorating tips: Styling a black-and-white house in Singapore

By: Amy Brook-Partridge; Photography by Justin Loh

Davina Stanley and Georgina Wells from home-and-event styling company Paper + White give their tips on making the most of a black-and-white home.


Check out the gallery above to see the below tricks of the trade in action

Create extra rooms
Clever use of insect-proof screens and extendable awnings over verandahs can create additional usable living areas. Here, a study was created in the hallway and a covered balcony was transformed into a reading room for the children.

Mix it up
Black-and-whites provide a good blank canvas for an eclectic mix of furniture styles. We love to mix industrial or modern elements with more colonial furniture; 1950s chairs sit happily with oversized modern sofas, Chinoiserie cabinets and coffee tables.

Furnishing such large spaces can be costly, but customising basic furniture can result in a bespoke and fitting look for a colonial setting. With a little imagination, what was once a black metal coffee table can become a white rattan one. Don’t like red chairs? Spray them white and add an interesting cushion. As for cabinetry, our signature hack is using IKEA kitchen or living room storage systems and fixing bespoke louvre doors to the fronts.

Seamless transition
Use the same furniture in indoor and outdoor spaces to give a seamless flow from one room to another. Using the same rugs and pendant lights creates cohesiveness, and it’s lovely to see a lamp usually associated with indoors used outdoors.

Decorate in pairs
This creates a feeling of balance in large rooms.

Think big
Almost all black-and-whites boast high ceilings and large rooms that can take extra-large furniture and lighting accessories. The large rattan lights we had designed are hung throughout the entire house. They seemed huge before we hung them, but look totally in proportion once they’re up.

Use a neutral colour palette
Keeping to a neutral palette shows off the building, and allows the striking black-and-white elements to stand out. You want to enhance the building, not overshadow it.

Storage, storage and more storage
Put everything you don’t want to look at behind closed doors. Use multiple cabinets in a row: we guarantee they always look better than one on its own. Remember not to overfill rooms. Clutter lends itself to a feeling of being cramped, even in extra-large rooms.
Want more home inspiration? See our home decor section!