A black and white bedroom can give you a classy and sleek sleeping space that provides a versatile backdrop upon which to experiment with various accents for an extra pop.
But get it wrong and the room can feel muddy and unwelcoming.
So how do you paint a bedroom black and white correctly?
To paint a bedroom black and white: start with a 50:50 color split and then bias towards black for a more dramatic feel, or white for a cleaner and brighter ambiance. Ensure that patterns are applied cohesively, textures are used carefully, and the furniture matches the theme.
The rest of this article expands upon these points and explains how to paint your bedroom black and white step-by-step.
And if you skip to the end of this article, you’ll find 5 black and white bedroom designs that you can use for visual inspiration right now.
How to Paint a Bedroom Black and White
Follow the 8 steps below to paint your bedroom black and white effectively:
1: Follow the Fundamental Rules
Because painting your bedroom black and white takes a very dramatic and bold approach, it’s important to adhere to the following 4 fundamental rules to ensure that you don’t end up with a decor disaster:
1.1: Maintain a Proportionate Relationship Between the Darks and Lights
Start with a 50:50 split and then skew the favor towards the dark or light tones as per your needs.
For example, if you have a smaller room or want to make the room feel larger, then you’ll want to bias the color selection towards white and the lighter tones – with black and its associated shades being used as a selective accent color for emphasis.
(Although you can break these rules if you’d like to paint your small bedroom a dark color).
Conversely, if you have a larger room and you’d like to make it feel cozier – or simply want to go for a dramatic ambiance – then you could use blacks and their associated shades as the primary and secondary colors for the walls and furnishings.
Check out my guide to creating a minimalist bedroom design on a budget for a good example of using dark tones deliberately in a balanced manner.
1.2: Use Patterns Cohesively
When using patterns, try to maintain cohesion.
For example, you should choose a theme for your pattern – such as abstract, geometric, floral, or organic – and then maintain this theme throughout the room to avoid a chaotic feel.
1.3: Test Textures Carefully Before Applying Them
When applying textures, always test them on a small section before applying them to larger areas of the room.
For example, when adding textured black tones, test it on a section of the material separately – such as a sample piece of wood or stone that’s not already integrated into your bedroom.
If you don’t have a separate piece of material to test it on, then pick a concealed area that’s out of view in case you don’t like the finish.
1.4: Match the Furniture and Decor With the Theme of the Room
A black and white themed bedroom tends to have a clean, classy, minimalist, or dramatic ambiance – depending on the ratio of dark to light tones used (as discussed above) – so make sure that the furnishings and decorations fit with this theme.
For example, in a bedroom where white is the primary color, you should consider using darker furniture to make them pop against the backdrop.
With the inverse holding true when the backdrop is mainly dark – with lighter colored furniture standing out and drawing the eye.
Alternatively, if you’re going for an immersive feel, then you can use dark-on-dark or light-on-light to de-emphasize certain items of furniture if that’s the look you’re going for.
2: Gather the Materials
Now that you understand the fundamental rules of painting a bedroom black and white, the next step is to itemize and gather all of the materials that you will need to complete your design, such as:
- The amount of paint.
- The paint finish (flat, matte, eggshell, or satin are good choices).
- Tools (ladders, rollers, paint trays, etc).
- Personal protective equipment (eye-wear, respiratory mask, gloves).
- Sheets and/or newspapers to protect the floor.
3: Cover the Floor
Begin by using a good quality fabric covering to safeguard the flooring from paint spillage.
There are a variety of coverings available to buy.
However, a cloth covering prevents the transfer of the paint to the underlying surface and has high absorption and tensile strength making it an ideal option.
On the other hand, a plastic covering can also be used considering it doesn’t tear off easily, but it has zero absorption so you might require an extra hand in cleaning the paint from the surface.
Newspaper can also be used as a covering for small fixtures but there are still some chances of wear and tear.
4: Prepare the Walls
Before painting your bedroom walls, you should prepare them by following the steps below:
- Identify the undulations in the walls – like holes, cracks, and dents – and fix them with lightweight spackling paste or a drywall compound comprising of gypsum plaster.
- Once the filling is completely dry, even out the surface lumps with 220 grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge to yield a smooth working surface.
- Wipe off the entire surface with a damp cloth and let the wall dry.
5: Apply Tape to Prevent Bleeding
Once you’ve prepared the walls, the next step is to use painter’s tape or masking tape to stop the paint from bleeding onto any surrounding woodwork, window frames, and other surfaces.
You can buy specific painter’s tape if you’re working with surfaces that are textured, plain, hardwood, or wallpaper.
Ensure that the tape is applied in short, overlapping strips and that they are pressed down firmly to ensure that no paint will bleed through.
6: Prime the Surface
A primer forms a protective layer on the surface being painted and allows the paint to bind to it for a better-looking finish.
Using a matching primer can save a significant amount of money as primers are cheaper than paint and can add an ideal base.
Primer is applied using both brushes and rollers.
Here’s how to prime your bedroom walls before you paint them black and white:
- Start by “cutting in” 2-3-inch bands all around the edges and masked areas with a brush to ensure that you cover areas that the roller might not be able to reach.
- Divide the area into small sections – 3’x5’ for ceilings and 3’x4’ for walls – and start painting with the roller – dipped completely in primer – carefully merging the wet cut-ins to hide brushstrokes to achieve a symmetrical sheen.
- Always work from top to bottom, in a series of “V” and “W” shaped strokes rolling back and forth across the wall to complete the section.
- Completely overlap the wet edges of the previous section with new sections because if the edges dry out, it may lead to an uneven shine.
- Use a painting tray to pour the paint and dip the roller into the primer to cover it completely -remove the extra primer by rolling it a few times over the ridged edges of the tray.
- Use a low nap roller for smooth surfaces and a ½”or ¾” nap roller for textured surfaces.
- Try to slightly vary the direction of rolling – as rolling in straight lines may lead to overlap marks.
- Once the primer is perfectly dry, sand the entire surface with fine sanding paper to correct any undulation.
7: Paint the Walls Black and White
You’ve already decided on the ratio of black to white in line with your design specifications, and now that the walls are ready for painting, you can go ahead and do this by following the steps below:
- While painting, “work to a wet edge” – i.e. blending the freshly painted wet edge with the new paint by rolling back and forth.
- The application is very similar to that of the primer – use the same back and forth, “v” and “w” shape strokes working from top to bottom.
- Keep rolling over the painted area with continuous smooth strokes to even out the brush lines and render a flawless surface.
- To avoid variation of color, always transfer the paint from small containers to a single large mixing box (known as boxing). Remember to give a good stir to the paint every once in a while, using a mixing stick to render a consistent shade and avoid drying out of the upper layer.
- Colors like white should require 2 coats whereas with black, you might want to go in for a third coat.
- Let the previous coat dry out completely (it usually takes 3-4 hours) before applying the next coat.
- You can also be creative by painting an existing wooden or stone-cladded wall in black or white. Consider a high nap roller, spray, or deco paint when working with deep textures.
8: Clean Up
Once the final coat has dried, clean up by following the steps below:
- Remove all the masking tape carefully – maintaining a 45-degree angle to make sure you don’t rip off any paint.
- You can remove the tape residue using a sharp utility knife.
- Transfer the remainder of the paint in airtight cans and seal them tightly.
- Get rid of the coverings and transfer the furniture back to the room.
5 Black and White Bedroom Design Ideas
Here are five examples of black and white bedroom design ideas that you can use to inspire you:
1: Subtle Monochrome
Black and white bedrooms don’t have to be overpowering.
In the design above, you can see how the darkest shade of black is actually the TV screen that contrasts with the crisp white of the bedside lamps, the pillows, and the storage unit.
Gray mid tones are used on the wall behind the TV, the floor, and the curtains.
The use of patterns here is key in breaking up the monotony.
From textured ripples on the accent wall, to cleaner horizontal lines on the back wall and bedding, with the vertical lines on the headboard, curtains, and drapes adding interest.
2: Purple Neon Accent
Colored accents can really stand out in a black and white bedroom.
Simple ways to add pop are via accent pillows, bedside lamps, and rugs.
However, if you’re feeling more adventurous and you’d like a more challenging project, then you can add purple accent lighting strips, paneling, or paint on the ceiling – as shown in the design above.
3: Textured Black Brick
Textured black brick can add interest to a black and white bedroom without making it feel overpowering.
In the design above, you can see how the herringbone floor, wooden storage unit, vertical paneled headboard, and faux fire print give the room depth and intrigue.
4: Striped Accent Wall
Accent walls give you the chance to be bold without creating an overpowering ambiance.
In the design above, you can see how the non-uniform black and white stripes really draw the eye, whilst providing an interesting backdrop for the more subtly colored peach bedding and otherwise minimalist design.
To make your black and white bedroom unique, you can opt for a more unconventional boho design that really expresses your personality.
In the design above, you can see how the textured gray accent wall presents a mid-tone canvas for the bolder black and white bedding, modern art that’s off-center, and wooden furniture.
Note how the full length mirror is positioned to bounce light off the opposing window to make the bedroom feel larger.
Conclusion: Build On the Fundamentals
To successfully paint your bedroom black and white, start by following the fundamental rules of color proportion, pattern cohesion, texture application, and furniture and theme congruence.
Then you can start getting more creative – build your own unique design that expresses your personality by adapting the 5 design ideas listed above to your own tastes.
Image Attribution and Licencing
All images used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.
Individual attribution as follows:
Main image: ‘Black and White Classic Bedroom’ by Archideaphoto (Getty Images).
Image #1: ‘Monochrome Art Deco Bedroom’ by Peter_Visual (Getty Images).
Image #2: ‘Modern Bedroom’ by Terekov Igor.
Image #3: ‘Black Bedroom’ by asbe (Getty Images Signature).
Image #4: ‘White and Black Bedroom’ by Katarzyna Bialasiewicz (Getty Images).
Image #5: ‘Mirror in Black and White Bedroom’ by Katarzyna Bialasiewicz (Getty Images).
Dan is the founder and head content creator at Bedroom Style Reviews.
He has been working as a professional online product reviewer since 2015 and was inspired to start this website when he ended up sleeping on a memory foam mattress that was too soft and gave him backache.
Through in-depth research and analysis, Dan’s goal with this website is to help others avoid such pitfalls by creating the best online resource for helping you find your ideal mattress, bedding, and bedroom furniture.
Dan is a qualified NVQ Level 2 Fitness Instructor with 6 years’ experience helping clients improve their health through diet, exercise, and proper sleep hygiene.
He also holds several college and university-level qualifications in health sciences, psychology, mathematics, art, and digital media creation – which helps him to publish well researched and informative product reviews as well as articles on sleep, health, wellbeing, and home decor.
Dan also has direct personal experience with insomnia, anxiety, misophonia (hypersensitivity to sounds), and pain from both acute and long-standing sporting injuries – he enjoys writing insightful articles around these subjects to help fellow sufferers of such conditions.
Learn more about Dan here.