From classic hallways to chic bathrooms and cool, contemporary living rooms – here’s how to get black and white just right.

Coco Chanel described black and white as “the perfect harmony”, and who are we to disagree? Few colour schemes are as versatile as the monochrome palette – it can be crisp and chic, as in Chanel’s classic designs, but can just as easily be quirky and playful (think Fornasetti’s classic 1950s tableware, or fun animal-print fabrics). But, of course, the masters of monochrome are the Scandinvians, who have established a whole design ethos around this most minimalistic of colour schemes, creating pared-back, stylish interiors that are truly timeless.

Far from being restrictive, decorating with just two hues (plus in-between shades of grey) actually allows a lot of design freedom. You can mix in elements from different decades or team pieces in different styles – for example, industrial-looking metal accessories and rustic elements such as distressed wood – safe in the knowledge that everything looks chic in black and white. Throw in some soft textures such as velvet, sheepskin or wool for a look that’s cool but never cold. And yes, you can add an accent colour – the monochrome schemes on show at the 2017-18 interiors shows were about breaking the rules, with splashes of bold blue, yellow or gleaming gold giving classic black and white a contemporary update.

Need inspiration? Here are four of our favourite ways to use this iconic colour combo.

Classic black-and-white hallway

Straight, clean lines, a sense of symmetry… this is monochrome at its timeless best. Our Ultimate Style Impala dark grey flooring anchors this airy hallway, providing a neat contrast with the crisp white walls and woodwork. The black-framed panels in the front door provide a visual echo of the floor and create a sense of harmony, while the wooden stool and oversized keys add a homely touch and inject warmth into the scheme.

Restful grey bathroom

If black feels too punchy and graphic or your tastes, try layering shades of grey. This beautiful bathroom has an elegant 1930s feel thanks to the painted Art Deco style mirror, antique-look tub and herringbone patterned floor – Bilbao vinyl from our Ultimate Style collection – in a soothing, restful shade of pale grey.

Colour pop dining room

This dining room is a great example of how elements from different eras can work successfully together in a monochrome scheme. While the dining table and chairs and bright orange cushions have a vintage vibe, modern design touches such as the sleek white kitchen units and stylish bamboo-look La Paz Titanium XT flooring in two tones of grey ensure the overall look is both sophisticated and bang on trend.

Style statement living room

Who said a black and white scheme has to be understated? The sleek modern furniture in this living room could have given the space a stark, almost austere feel, but our quirky Bubblegum & Licorice Alphabet flooring in shades of black, white and grey, along with playful touches such as leopardskin-print cushions, inject a real sense of fun.