Black and white offer a solid contrast and if you are brave enough to use them over large spaces, they can make a bold statement. Black and white were extremely used in the 1920s, especially for party rooms, and in the late 1950s and early 1960s by artists who painted their studios white (due to the ability of white walls to reflect light) , and the youth culture which adopted the style for their homes.
The theatrical effect of black and white can be cold and plain sometimes if not spiced up with colourful accessories and exciting paintings to contrast the light background.
The Japanese style is quite successful in the West as it’s a great example of strong contrasts. The difference is that black is impersonated by a very dark brown and white has a shade of yellow or cream. The Japanese have also perfected the art of minimalism by using just a few pieces of wonderfully shaped furniture whose shape is exposed by the strong contrasts between the dark objects and their light backgrounds.