Throughout history, artists have known the power of scintillating colours partnered with deep black – just look at Toulouse Lautrec’s dashing can-can dancers.

It’s a power we’re harnessing, to the most striking effect, in our homes today, as Ideal Home magazine points out in its August edition.

Teaming monochromes with bright accessories and bold feature walls makes a dramatic statement in any room, and will always impress guests.

Combining black and white with reds, oranges and yellows creates real drama. Film-makers know all about this – think of the heart-tugging moment in Schindler’s List when Steven Spielberg highlights a little girl’s red coat against the monochrome.

That’s because our eyes are startled by a sudden splash of colour, which means it’s a great way to create a focal point in a room.

Of course, this makes your choice of accessories or feature wall colour even more important than it is in another environment. Your colours should be truly strong – we love Dulux’s sunshine-in-a-can Lemon Chiffon 1, and Crown’s pillar-box Red Carpet.

Keep these stunning shades to just one wall – for example, the bed-head wall or the chimney breast – and pile on the textured blacks, whites and greys on the rest to form the backdrop for your drama.

The high-gloss black of Barker and Stonehouse’s Hulsta Metis Plus range of bedroom furniture looks great in a monochrome context. The bed has gleaming chrome legs and two semi-circular neck cushions draped over the headboard – you can choose either black or red for this stunning contemporary feature.

Wardrobes and drawers complete the range and come in both black and white – why not mix and match?

Monochrome bedrooms are sexy and elegant, but the combination also works well in living rooms, particularly those used for elegant entertaining.

An ideal piece to set the tone is the Stressless Space sofa in black from Barker and Stonehouse. It has smart, contemporary lines teamed with deep comfort, and comes with the flexibility of individually-reclinable seats.

Even dining rooms can gain a great deal of chic from a touch of colour – imagine your guests feasting at the gleaming white Ligne Roset Cineline table, seated on gloriously red or blue Ligne Roset Sala chairs. Minimalist with just a touch of sophisticated fun.

Colourful accessories placed in a monochrome setting should also be strong in shape and styling – they’re going to catch the eye, so they need to be truly worth gazing at.

Our Ligne Roset Pascal Mourge reading lamp is sensational – a slender statement dressed in brilliant red from top to toe.

Lighting is doubly important in a monochrome room because of its quintessentially light-absorbing hues, and this lamp pulls off the tricky feat of being both beautiful and practical.

Monochrome may mean darkly atmospheric, but it doesn’t mean cold or stark in any way. Delightful touches such as our Whisper rug in Mars Red soften the effect (and feel great underfoot), creating an intimacy and warmth that make the room an inviting place to be.

So take a new look at black and white, spiced with the brightest of brights.

All of the products are from Barker and Stonehouse (www.barkerandstonehouse.co.uk) and you can follow us at www.facebook.com/barkerandstonehouse.