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The Colour Psychology Behind the Black & White Trend

What makes the black and white Modern Farmhouse so sticky? That’s the question being asked in this article that appeared last week in The New York Times. I’m unpacking the psychology behind the black and white trend and why it has more traction than any colour trend in history.

Wondering what a McMansion is? This is the best site to find out.

In my 25 years as a colour designer, living, breathing and eating colour trends I have–yes I’m a broken record– never seen anything like this.

But First, a brief history of recent colour trends

I started my colour career in my 30s during the sage green/pink beige 90s trend. And I was right there at the start of the espresso brown trend in the early 2000s. I was looking for pale blue and brown fabrics (remember how that was the first combination tip toeing into colour?) for clients who wanted blue accents before it was even available.

Then the grey trend arrived on the scene in 2009 just when I started writing this blog and well, some people still think grey is hip and trending. But you, reading this blog, and especially my longtime readers? YOU know better.

Read more: What EVERYONE should Know About Grey

White walls were the newest thing and then Black showed up

In 2016, I went to Maison & Objet in Paris and declared black to be the new grey because it was everywhere and little did I know how intense this trend would become.

Social media helped this phenomenon along. Plus the fact that manufacturers now have technology that allows them to produce so much more black in items that were previously not available in this darkest of colours the last time black was trending (in the 80s). Think hardware, plumbing and lighting.

What you need to know about choosing black for your house

People are seduced by the high contrast. But because black is the darkest colour, especially surrounded by white, it draws the eye where ever it’s installed, this is also the reason it should be used sparingly and with restraint. 

Because no one needs to tell you when you’ve hit the tipping point with too much black, you can feel it. 

Read more: The Perils of Decorating with Too Much Black

Black and white was timeless until this trend came along

On one of our trips last summer I snapped this photo of a green cottage going black. I’m sorry but this house has no business being a modern shade of black and I was sad to see it happening. 

I also keep receiving emails and messages from followers who are out to convince me that a white exterior is timeless, and I’m here to tell you that in the past, it absolutely was a timeless colour. Until this trend came along and ruined the timeless white house for the next 15-20 years. 

In fact my sister lives in a house with white vinyl siding from the 80s. Does this mean she is running out to replace her white vinyl siding with something else? No, but it still looks trendy whether we like it or not.

In other word, in the context of this trend and for the foreseeable future, black and white interiors and exteriors especially, are going to look trendy even if they are technically classic. 

I saw a video where a parent was taping their 8 year old who was playing basketball at the school gym. And you guessed it, the walls were black. The only saving grace was the warm wood floors but likely those warm floors are probably being replaced by grey in new schools that are currently being built.

Another video featured a 5 year old chirping “Mom, are you going to paint it black?” as the home renovator gleefully removed a dated ceiling fan.

This was all presented in the spirit of, “Of course I’m painting it black because I’m so brilliant!”

And that takes me to my next point. 

The real psychology of the black and white trend

1. The first reason why black is so popular

I believe this answer why people choose black, articulated by my Director of eDesign Tricia Firmaniuk, says it best:

‘The consumer feels empowered because the answer seems simple, they have popular permission (it’s all over social media ad nauseam) and they get to be bold at the same time as they get to be conservative.’

Every one of us is highly influenced by trends (even if you think you’re not, I promise, you are). And suddenly black is not only the popular choice for everything from windows to plumbing fixtures, it has become the default choice. 

It looks new and cool. And it goes with everything right? (Um, no.)

And now that it seems to be the only choice anyone wants, black is the only finish option available off-the-shelf for everything from lock sets to faucets at the big box stores.

But the biggest reasons why black and white is so big is, it’s the very definition of simplicity.

When you think about it, there are many different undertones and shades of beige and grey not to mention each of these undertones can be either light or dark, but black. .  .well it’s just black isn’t it?

Get yours here

Makes the idea of choosing a colour to finally get that paint job done, that’s been lurking for years, so easy and off the task list. 

One of the talented colour designers from my eDesign department sent me this quote she read after we discussed it in our team meeting:

So yes, black and white seems like the BOLD option. (But let’s not forget there is an endless universe of COLOURS to decorate with that are neither drab, nor too stark and predicable.)

2. Black and White perfectly represents our polarized culture

The cultural discourse, as we all know, has become increasingly polarized with the growth of social media and the influence those algorithms have on what we interact with socially and politically.

And then during the pandemic, stances on how to react quickly became starkly black or white. It was so divisive, people set up camp with their lines of thought and stayed there. I’m certainly guilty of it.

We’re suddenly cancelled if we’re bad, so we’d better be good, sick or well, rich or poor, right or left. Moral grey areas are gone, as is the middle. Not to mention colour. The world is now literally living in a black or white zone.

And our neighbourhoods are increasingly a visual reflection of that.

3. White is clean and sanitary

Jennifer Aniston Abc GIF by Emmys

During and since the pandemic we’ve been obsessed with sanitizing everything. So it’s no coincidence that when white came along, it seemed so fresh and new, and the answer for all things old and dated.

White is clean and sanitary, it symbolized hope in dark times, it’s no wonder we wanted to paint everything white. 

And cleanliness is more of a psychological value than an aesthetic one. In other words, the appeal of the ‘clean’ look of the black and white trend trumps the potential beauty of more nuanced colour options.

And, like it or not, a stark white and black house will always be associated with the pandemic because that’s when the trend really started to gain peak traction.

We’re already seeing a return to colour, pattern and even maximalism as a direct reaction to the stark and generic, faux bucolic vibe of the modern farmhouse look.

How much black is too much?

For the record, I do NOT have a ‘deep hatred of black’ as one of my followers suggested the other day on Instagram. I am simply here to be the beacon of good taste so you don’t overdose on the deepest, darkest colour on the planet.

I also don’t want the investments you’re making in your home to make your house LESS valuable over time. You never want to be installing finishes that are on the tail end of any trend cycle unless maybe you’re flipping it tomorrow.

There’s a reason why the expression “Every room needs a hit of black” is a thing. A hit is a little not a lot, a little not an overdose. I think a good question for if you’ve hit the black tipping point is this

“Is BLACK the first thing you see when you walk into a room?”

If it is, it’s likely you’ve got too much. 

And I do admit that I have developed an allergy to adding black in my own home. Since I’ve moved into this house, every time I have made a decorating decision that’s black it’s because I had a designer friend gently say “Maria, x should be black”. Like the floors in my powder room, the treads of my staircase or a coffee table I’m adding to the living room.

The best thing about the black and white trend

The good news is this, the modern farmhouse exterior is clean. It’s not filled with the blotchy, earthy stone of the brown trend where we were forced to choose a neutral whether you wanted one or not. It can in fact easily be painted a fabulous colour because of the nature of the design.

It’s why I added a colour module to my Masterclass this year so that you could make a choice that will be different from the black and white street you’re on.

What do you think? Is the black and white trend psychologically driven? Are you ready to see it end? Please keep the conversation going and leave your thoughts in the comments. I love to hear from you!

Related posts:

Ask Maria: When is Black Timeless? And 4 Design Traps to Avoid

4th Rule of Design; Trendy Equals Temporary

How the Black Trend Just Got Even Worse!

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  • Cornelia says:

    In fashion, black and white is considered very chic and timeless, very Chanel. Perhaps that has influenced the b/w trend in interior design? Done well, it can look very timeless. But as Maria suggests, there is simply too much around that is overdone, done poorly and doesn’t look balanced or like a designer was there.

    We just painted our living room a light pale blue-green (Thanks to guidance from Maria’s book). It’s awesome, happy, lively and soothing… the black and white trend just isn’t for us.

  • Liz in Oregon says:

    In April 2019 I bought outdoor furniture at Home Depot for the huge deck that came with the apartment we rent. All the metal featured then was dark brown/bronze. It was a soft, unobtrusive color that played well with my chili red and butter yellow color scheme. Now I need to replace the dining table (long story). Everything on Amazon and Wayfair and Home Depot websites is black! I’ve spent hours looking for a brown/bronze table and chairs I like at a price I’m willing to pay. I can see that I’m going to have to think outside the box to find something that works. I’m really annoyed about the black trend.

    • Liz in Oregon says:

      I forgot to mention the psychology of the black and white trend. What comes to mind is the song “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones. The song, which seems to be about the loss of a loved one, starts out…

      I see a red door and I want it painted black
      No colors anymore, I want them to turn black

      We’ve experienced a lot of loss since I bought my brown/bronze deck furniture in 2019. The pandemic gave us much to grieve and this is not a cheerful optimistic world. Black reflects those feelings. It’s also a divided world and I think people are afraid to take risks and be different. Black and white are safe, innocuous colors. Personally, I will boycott black and white. We need color!

      • Cynthia says:

        Very interesting connection Liz with those lyrics. Sadly I can see truth in it…a lot of loss in he last few years.

    • Cate says:

      I’ve used aged bronze spray paint successfully…might be worth a try!

    • Barbara says:

      Hi Liz. Have you thought about a table in a natural wood tone, like teak? Should be pretty timeless but mat by expensive.

      • Liz in Oregon says:

        Thanks, Barbara. Yes, I’ve been mulling over the possibility of wood too. I’ve found that I will need to go a bit smaller than I had intended in order to stay away from black, for some reason. So it’s back to the drawing board!

    • Jennifer says:

      We got a dark bronze table from yardbird and coordinating chairs from Frontgate… there are options out there! 😊

      • Liz in Oregon says:

        Thank you for the suggestion. I ended up going with a slightly smaller table than I had originally wanted because I just couldn’t resist a gorgeous coral red table with two matching chairs. If we have guests we can pull up the butter yellow chairs we have in another spot. They will all look terrific (I hope) on a yellow, red and orange outdoor rug. I added a purple umbrella to the order. If it’s too wild, I have another spot for it. Color me happy! 😊

    • EMMZ says:

      Wood could be a good option! It would probably look good with your chairs too if you get the tone right.

    • Renee says:

      Liz, In 2010 I redid our kitchen with “timeless white” cabinets with black countertops. I also redid the 2 fireplace surrounds with 12 x 12 black tiles. I chose black because I wanted a bit of drama and also to unify the 3 rooms. I never decorate with a popular or trendy colour because I like to be different from the crowd and black was not popular then. I had been very happy with my decisions until 3 years ago.
      Like you, I am really annoyed about the black trend but for a completely different reason then yours. Now I look trendy which does not please me at all.

  • Rubi says:

    I really loved this post, Maria.
    I do think we react strongly to colors, they signify many different things, depending on a culture, a location, our own idiosincrasyies, and yes, the times we’re going through.
    I share the opinion that almost everything can be done well or badly, and frankly, any trend starts irritating when it’s applied without deeper consideration..I can see that most new buildings around me are some mix of white and black, and while sometimes it’s “oh ok , I’ll just know when they were built, almost precisely to the date”, sometimes they’re in horrible dissonance with the landscape, the cityscape, with everything.
    I like white and black just fine(and so many other colors, it’s easier to say which combinations I don’t like as much)..but I really dislike when people make decisions hastily, for something that’s supposed to stand a test of time and bringfeeling of harmony, rather then “why did they do it”? After all, the mankind is not exactly blessed with harmony..architecture and design can and should give people that. Otherwise, “it’s just a shelter”. Without taking out a huge significance of “just a shelter”, because many don’t have it either.

  • Kay says:

    I’d never thought about it, but there well could be a connection between what we’ve experienced and the craze for black and white. Everyone knows how divided we are, and nothing expresses division like black and white. It was in our language already, so it wasn’t a big step to plastering our environment with this symbolism. Although I love a crisp black and white floor, which remains free of the association because it’s so traditional and timeless, black accented white houses have never appealed. I think it’s the black windows and roofs that bother me. A black roof is fine by itself, but adding black windows tips it over into “we’re divided, and we’re celebrating it!” territory. Because the side you’re on is always the righteous one.

  • ML says:

    We’re building a black and white actual farmhouse on 85 acres in Ontario surrounded by other black and white farmhouses that have been there for 125+ years. Since it’s replacing a much renovated 200 year old log home we’ve planned it to look like these older farmhouses renovated. It is the correct thing to do for this neighburhood of small farms on rolling hills and will fit perfectly. We were worried about being trendy but in our case anything other than brick or black and white would have looked out of place!

    However, we love colour and the interior and even porches will be full of colourful art, furniture and accessories. We’re actually having to search for that one bit of black for every room. Not one black fixture is planned!

    We’ve broken Maria’s rules about neutral envelopes too but it will make is happy in our forever home. Isn’t that what home should be?

    • Julie S says:

      I just hope you are choosing white window frames in your classic farmhouse! Could you do the roof in a classic gray-brown that is the color of faded cedar shakes? I’m thinking of this brand new, old looking classic country house from a gal I follow in Missouri – she fought so hard for getting the “old” details right.

    • Teressa Schulman says:

      That sounds really lovely! I love it when people honor the existing architecture when they are building in an already-developed area. I live in a rural area, too, where it’s not uncommon to see actual old white farmhouses. So when people started building the new “modern farmhouses” around those, it didn’t look terrible at all.

      What did look crazy is when someone built a very modern but yet still Tuscany-inspired (I think) home on a lot in a neighborhood full of smaller homes and old farms. It’s just wild-looking and makes me as nuts as it does when I walk into home with a bunch of different types of flooring that don’t mesh well.

    • Nora says:

      I discovered Maria Killam well into the last stages of building our farmhouse (leans traditional, but has some modern elements inside) and my heart sank at all of the talk about how trendy it was, but it’s reassuring to know that these style homes CAN work where appropriate. We bought 5 acres of actual old farmland (way deep into the country) and intend to garden, have some chickens, etc. So we built a farmhouse not much unlike the 100+ year old one right down our dirt road; metal roof, front and back porches, white frame wooden windows, one gable. Even though I do regret it a bit and wish we had gone with a subtle green-gray, we painted it white. That can be changed in the future, but right now it’s nice having a clean slate to work with as we figure out landscaping and such. Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying thank you for this comment which has given me some reassurance that farmhouses work for actual farmland and the reminder to do what makes you happy. Like you, we intend to add color and wallpaper and local antiques and a bunch of core memories raising our five year old. Your home sounds lovely and 85 acres is a dream!

  • Patricia says:

    Maria thank you for your well thought out posts. I had a friend ask me the other day why I didn’t like a black house that’s going up on Main Street in our iconic classy little town. Thanks to you I could calmly share a few reasons.

  • Renee says:

    It’s like entire neighborhoods are voluntarily putting themselves in a follow-the-rules HOA where everyone conforms. Boring! #buckthetrend

  • Annie says:

    Here in my part of the midwest, every single new development looks exactly the same with every house being black and white. My house was built in 1989 on 5 acres. We’re surrounded by green. I hated the brick front of my house when we first moved in in 2019 and wanted to paint it white. Fortunately our house had so many other issues that painting was at the bottom of the list, and by the time we were ready to talk about it, the black and white trend had really taken off here and we knew it wasn’t for us. I’m still trying to figure out how to handle the brick (only the front of the house is brick, which is a pet peeve, so I’d like to blend it in more with the rest of the house without looking trendy). I’m sure an exterior design package is in my future! The inside of my house is growing more and more colorful. When we moved in, everything was was either too brown or gold or too bright of a teal or orange (and clearly not cohesive). I had a lot of free time over the pandemic so I started painting everything white/off-white. By the time I finished, I was even more depressed. Ever since then I’ve been repainting and embracing color and it makes me so happy. My living room, which has no direct access to natural light, is Halcyon Green, and it’s so cozy and inviting. My breakfast room is Pink Ground and it looks rosy and dreamy in the evenings. My bedroom is Bunglehouse Blue and feels like I’m sleeping in a jewel box. I have a ton of house left to paint, but every time I do it makes my house feel that much more welcoming and special!

  • Diane says:

    Great analysis. This may be overly simplistic but I believe there is a difference between a very traditional style white house with black shutters, and a white house with black trim around the windows, especially a house that is not a style that has been traditionally associated with white.

  • Kristin says:

    Wouldn’t this “timeless is now trendy” look also correlate to the white subway tile you have specified as timeless?

    ” in the past, it absolutely was a timeless colour. Until this trend came along and ruined the timeless white house for the next 15-20 years”.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this!

    • I have the feeling this is true. I just had my shower tiled and couldn’t bring myself to do subway for that very reason, choosing square instead.

      • Joanna says:

        I agree! Subway tile is passé, as a trend. I’m not a fan at all! It’s been over done and is at this point boring! Maria, find us another “timeless” tile, please that can take us into the 2040. We can’t afford to renovate every ten years!

    • Maria Killam says:

      No exterior sameness is very different from a neutral backdrop inside that allows you to change up your colours anytime you want and doesn’t want to make you rip it out as soon as the next trendy accent tile arrives on the scene. If you don’t like subway tile, choose another white pattern for your backsplash, just make sure it’s not a geometric pattern because that belongs in a modern home and most people live in a traditional one. Good question, Maria

  • Cindi says:

    I just don’t understand why people are so afraid of color! That is the answer.

    Yes, I have a “few” warm black things in my new house (metal stair structure with wood treads), fireplace hearth and wet bar countertop. Even my primary bath counter is warm black, with a few other black accents in the room, because it is a contemporary space and looks amazing (black, white, a sandy limestone color, brushed nickel and walnut). The black all looks appropriate and in scale, so I didn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and say “no black” like many were saying on your fb group.

    And yes, my walls and kitchen counters are warm white. But that’s because every other thing inside the house (cabinets, furniture, art) is stained wood or bright colors. (Oh, and some white, to pull the white walls into the room per Maria.)

    I went green and almond on the exterior.

    I’m so glad I learned about color from this blog. But I run the architectural committee of my neighborhood and every application for exterior paint is black or gray. Nothing I can do about it; you can’t tell people they can’t follow trends, even if the trends are fading.

  • Kelly says:

    What’s worse than the bland black, white, and beige color scheme of the subdivision is the houses without windows on the sunny green belt facing side!

  • Benesse says:

    As with anything ever–from home decor, architecture, fashion…when it’s done right, it’s timeless and when it’s mass copied and done shoddily, it starts looking bad before the paint dries.

    Tuscan colors and tiles that are now dated here STILL look great in Tuscany centuries after, black and white deco interiors in old opulent Paris apartments or the grand (white with black accents) antebellum homes STILL look great.

    “Often imitated never duplicated” applies to so many trends now because people who set them and those who blindly follow them have no taste, imagination or restraint. However, the small number of those who do, will never have their work look dated. It would simply become an evolved classic.
    Let’s start with Ralph Lauren.

  • Steph Brooks says:

    It’s just the new version of modern, but named “farmhouse” because its softer. So what? I am not trendy, give me any color of Chiang Mai Dragon and I will want the colors to sing.

  • Susie Smith says:

    Most people are afraid of commitment to a color; thus, a black and white house provides a way to postpone decision making indefinitely. In the interior, the inexpensive and easily replaced “pop” of color in a pillow serves their need for decoration without design.

  • Katherine Burnett says:

    I think my white kitchen looks timeless and dated. I would do it again, because the house is open concept and I didn’t want a builder grade espresso or other stained wood kitchen, and white was the only other choice from this builder. I would have considered a wood stained (blonde) kitchen, but only if I could do it custom, which we can’t afford. It’s just so disappointing. In our neighborhood we have HOAs that require neutrals on the exterior. A colorful exterior would not fit in.
    I think the reason we don’t have more color is builders need to use common massed produced materials to get the house built and sold at market price. Most of the colorful exteriors here are in a very expensive neighborhood of old bungalows. They are pretty but financially out of reach for most of us. They are old, need more upkeep, and are not practical for aging adults.

    I styled my kitchen but am certain that people see it and think “that’s everywhere”

    Maria, can you comment on this? It’s so disappointing.

  • Lorri says:

    I’m not mad at the farmhouse style exteriors because they’re closer to an authentic US architecture than what’s been built in the last several decades. They’re a lot more charming too. I’m a little bit mad about the black windows unless they are the thin expensive ones.

    White houses were EVERYWHERE in our history, at least on the east coast. There are still towns where almost all the historic houses are painted white. My grandfather grew up in a white farmhouse with a wrap-around porch that was built in the late 1890s. No one thought of it as a trend. It was traditional. It’s still lived in today and still charming.

    The best thing about these farmhouses is that they can be any color of the rainbow in the future.

  • DD says:

    I try not to begrudge the younger, trendier set putting up black and white houses all over our more traditional neighborhood. I can understand the impulse, and they can look great sometimes. The first one that appeared in the neighborhood was gorgeous.

    But when the trend is over, how hard is it going to be to change those exteriors? Will a paint job do it, or will it require new siding? That’s what I always wonder!

  • Suzanne says:

    I don’t think there is a problem with more white farmhouses where they traditionally exist, or the odd one here and there. The white won’t be hard to work with when the trends change. The problem is when everyone starts to do the current version with black window frames. I find the completely/mostly black home more annoying. I regularly drive by a large modern home that is completely (and I mean completely) black, including the surrounding metal fence. It is just crying out for some wood accents and a wood fence. Even the landscaping doesn’t help in its current state. Neighbourhoods are filling up with more and more of these new homes and newly renovated homes.

    Re. white kitchens being both timeless and trendy – I think the white is a constant while other things go in and out. We painted our dark wood kitchen white and it is so much brighter. (It was relatively new when we bought our house, but already looked dated.)

    On the subject of timeless tile, we are currently renovating a bathroom. Our original intent was to use a porcelain, marble-look hex tile on the floor along with marble look porcelain tiles for the tub walls and possibly as wainscotting. But I regularly look on-line at homes for sale and all I saw was the marble-look porcelain everywhere. (I love the timeless look of real marble but it’s not suitable for us.) So, we are sticking with the hex floor but going with plain subway tiles elsewhere. We will bring in colour and some wood accents to warm it up. We installed a traditional white octagon floor with black accents in a powder room and receive tons of compliments on it. I have worried that so many people are using hex and subway tiles that they will become overdone, but then I remember that these tiles are in100 year old bathrooms and and they always look nice. They are like a simple white shirt – timeless. It’s what you wear it with that brings in the style.

  • Jennifer Ellis says:

    Maria, I have been following you since 2010, and this is the most insightful post of yours I have ever read. I have never considered the influence of our world’s political and social dynamics in the design trends of today. This is a post I will be thinking about for a very long time! Once again, your depth of thought past the surface level of trends has me in awe. Thank you for your wisdom!

  • Barbara says:

    I’ve been a fan of black and white for many years, way before the “trend”. I’ve used it in homes to create a classic cottage look to French inspired. Yes black can certainly be overdone. Too much black is just too depressing and heavy. But that crisp look it creates when used judiciously with white is beautiful – but please do add some natural finishes! AND mix the metals!!! The reason I personally think the Modern Farmhouse trend is so popular is that it’s a clean and organized yet casual, earthy look – as opposed to the older cluttered, ruffly versions of “country” or “farmhouse”. I never liked those looks, but I do love a livable, uncluttered, casual elegance. The other look I don’t like is everything white. Boring!! While we don’t want to be ruled by trends we should definitely choose what we personally love, whether it’s a current trend or not, and hopefully implement it a tasteful timeless way.

  • Great analogy between the pandemic and the black & white trend. I wouldn’t have thought of that, but yes, it feels clean and comforting.
    I have to wonder what’s next, although I am still not opposed to the black and white modern farm home, if you live on a farm 🙂

  • Joannz says:

    I don’t understand why people want the farmhouse style when they are not a farmhouse! Built a house that fits your community or move to the country! A farmhouse style in a subdivision is out of place and looks wrong. Sorry to those that want a farmhouse style home but don’t want to live in the country. Time to get over your appeal to this style of home or dream of being a farmer. You look out of place!
    I like the black & white on a traditional home. But, as Maria said many times Black windows do Not look good on most homes. Why are people painting their “not modern home” black or charcoal grey? It looks out of place in a community of neutral homes. I realize we should all paint our homes that appeal to us so I stand down. But, look how you stand out in a bad way, my friend!

    • Lorri says:

      But why does it look out of place to you? Is it the porches?

      I think front porches make a subdivision nicer and warmer in feeling.

  • K Lynn says:

    I have a thought to add as a consumer—the high/low quality difference is less obvious with black items. Builder grade metals are often obviously chintzy (I replaced a tub faucet last year, and some of the items in the store were actually chrome-painted plastic!). But high-end black and low-end black are just…black. Since quality materials have a luster that is impossible to fake, the masses will always miss the mark. If instead luxury looks like matte black, it can be yours for the cost of a can of spray paint.

  • Kelly W says:

    Black houses to me are an extension of so many people choosing black in their clothing in the past decade (before pandemic especially). Black coats, pants, tops, etc everywhere in downtown – it was depressing. I got SO many compliments for my bright yellow pea coat…

  • Jill Ganse says:

    Maria you have hit the nail on the head! Just like so many struggle with nuanced thinking across multiple topics, this trend is precisely as you described. The psychology of this trend is so interesting! Thank you for always being a voice of reason on color!

  • Jen says:

    That green cottage being painted black literally made my heart hurt.
    As a southerner, just thinking about anything exterior black to that degree, instantly has me melting bc of the heat & humidity we deal with 🫠

    I 100% agree with the psychology behind painting things black & white, as far as the simplicity goes. When we built our house a couple of years ago, the choices in paint colors was overwhelming and the thought of doing different colors in most every room was downright paralyzing. Thinking you’ve found a “simple” backdrop for your walks and such, is absolutely appealing in that mindset.

  • I currently live in North Texas where the MegaMansions that were built with stone everywhere in odd places have been replaced by the black and white farmhouse. I drive by a new subdivision that has a farm-like name, with larger lots, a few fake bridges over a small man-made lake, and every home is white with black roofs and windows. My thought is always about the choice of the black roof in our scorching summer heat.

    My son lives on an apartment complex which was showing its age , and the recent new owners painted the exterior white with black trim. It is near a busy road and already looks dirty.

    Have people lost their ability to think deeply, analyze, create individually, and instead, have become only followers which are easily influenced?

    Thank you, Maria, for giving analysis to this trend. A great read!

    • Eli Pic says:

      I’m all for white or lighter colored house exteriors in warm climates as they reflect light and energy. Complex cream houses or lighter colored houses could be what the world needs now. I’ve been thinking about how hot a dark grey or black house must be to live in. Even a house with dark roof in a hot climate must be expensive to cool and uncomfortable to live in.
      We painted our house a deep cream with greyed green trim for the soffits and other trim areas and immediately the house and surrounding outdoor areas became cooler.

  • cw says:

    so glad that I am not the only person noticing this! every single new residential building near me- house, condo, apt, is black, white and grey.
    not saying it looks bad but it is so uniform and colorless… almost industrial though it has some big white trim that I guess is the “farmhouse” but it is not
    really farmhouse. in about 10 yrs, people will be hating this, IMO. one of my friends was bemoaning a blue door she had- yes, she needed a black door because the blue was “dated.” 🙁 What does Architectural Digest have to say about this?

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