Decorating & design

Planning a new look for your home but don’t know where to start? Our experts can offer advice on choosing colour schemes, laying out your space, the latest trends and more.

by Home User, Jul 27, 2012

Home User profile image

Q: How do I make a black and white room look more feminine?

I have a small living room around 15' x 12.3' with a small bay window where most of the walls are painted white. There is a feature charcoal wall protruding with a white fire installed.

I'd like some advice on furnishing/accessorising by incorporating one or two other colours (keeping the walls) that would help make it look more feminine. Thanks.

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by Gordon Whistance, Jul 31, 2012

A: The most beautiful colours, textures and designs are found in nature and they can be easily applied to a simple colour scheme like yours.

Specifically, I'm talking about the colours found within shells - oyster pink, mother of pearl, greys and charcoals.

Judicial use of these colours will totally soften a scheme without being overwhelming and made even better by using actual shells as detailing on, say, cushions, lamps and lampshades, or even larger pieces that have intricate shell inlay (have a look at and

Any, or all, of the colours you find shimmering in mother of pearl will work well with your white and charcoal and really soften the room up, and the delicate nature of the use of shell will mean you'll have a ton of accessories to chose from too.

The trick here, as with anything, is not to do it in excess - you don't want to look like you're selling it.

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