the eternal allure of black and white (pattern on cement tile, that is)

by clé tile | published: May 14, 2021

some things just belong together and stand the test of time. fred and ginger. tomatoes and mozzarella. and black and white.

why are we so drawn to black and white? it starts in the womb where babies can see light and darkness. many say that newborns can only see black and white (though that’s subject to some dispute these days). you could say our love of black and white is hard-wired into us.

the combination of black and white in pattern has been used from ancient times, often to suggest duality and balance, but also for visual reasons: two divergent colors will communicate more powerfully together than they do on their own.but in terms of the decorative possibilities what we love is the incredible versatility of black and white pattern, and what it can do for a room.

pattern play

it’s a timeless classic, both retro and modern. think black and white photography. pen and ink drawings. think tuxedos. instant sophistication.

it adds texture when there isn’t. depending on the design, a black and white patterned tile can add a three dimensional effect, creating interest, surprise, and drama.

it’s found in nature. while the debate continues about what evolutionary purpose a zebra’s stripes serve (hint: it’s not camouflage), that combination finds its way into nature in multiple, beautiful ways.

design: Consort Home, photo: Tessa Neustadt

design: Natalie Myers, photo: Charlotte Lea Photography 

it’s energetic yet calming. what we find intriguing about black and white is how the combination isn’t just pleasing, but can project a feeling of calm and order despite being so inherently busy. science proves this.

it works with any color palette. black and white pattern has a way of mellowing out even the boldest yellows, acidic greens, or punchy purples. at the same time, it can pop with a neutral palette, adding instant vibrancy…but more subtly than a big pop of color might.

it’s easy to match. for those not interested in color matching and worrying about pigments, hues, or shades, black and white pattern could well be the answer—and a way to break the impasse over a tricky color choice.

it’s hopeful. opposites attracting and coming together for completion. isn’t this what we want? we love the symbolism.what’s your pattern?