No matter if your style is ultra modern, rustic contemporary, or casual vintage, black is a versatile tone fit for a number of interior styles. The trick is knowing how to incorporate this classic color in your design.
"Black is such an elegant, bold, and beautiful color to use in design," interior designer Katherine Carter says, who enjoys matching black accents with subtle tones like nude and blush. Jamaican interior designer Joelle Smith, on the other hand, prefers the opposite: pairing black with deep, vibrant shades to match her surroundings.
"Whether it's from the Caribbean sea or the rolling hills, the blue and green hues that are staples on our island have to be my ultimate favorites, specifically teal and forest green—and of course, the quintessential white," she says.
Meet the Expert
- Katherine Carter is an expert interior designer and the founder of Katherine Carter Design, based in Venice Beach, California.
- Joelle Smith is an interior designer with more than a decade of experience in the industry. She is the founder and lead designer of Jamaican-based design studio, If Walls Could Talk.
Coupling smoky shades like black with earthy hues like navy and sage will make for a warm and cozy design. Those looking to leave a bold impression can match jet black with rich jewel tones like cobalt. Or, balance your whites and blacks for a design that works in every decade.
For some style inspo, we rounded up 21 colors to combine with black and décor tips to make your design shine.
Blush + Black: Soft & Feminine
Contemporary design isn't confined to white and black. Swap out white with a soft pink to add a little personality in your design without veering too far from a modern aesthetic. Incorporate some abstract art and luxurious textures like velvet to round out your ritzy design.
Taupe + Black: Warm & Earthy
For a casual space, pair a sooty black with a neutral shade. "Earthy tones can create an ultra-modern aesthetic when paired with black," Smith says.
This Craftsman home couples black accents in the furniture and fireplace with a warm taupe on the walls. Inspired by large, bare windows, the driftwood coffee table and plant accents act as a subtle nod to the outdoors.
Chartreuse + Onyx: Bold & Balanced
Black provides balance to bolder tones, so don't be afraid to get a little playful with your color palette. In this design by Joelle Smith, subtle shades of black and white make room for a cheerful pop of color. A vivid chartreuse serves as the backdrop for a crisp white comforter, modern charcoal lamps, and cane accents on the nightstands and headboard.
Green + Charcoal: Classic & Contemporary
In contemporary design, shades of green like emerald and sage are stepping into the spotlight, and black has welcomed them with open arms. Mix in a deep forest green with your ebony accents for a little flair.
This color combo pairs perfectly with natural wood furniture and cream cushions.
Gray + Black: Soft & Minimal
Gray and black are close on the color spectrum, so naturally, they enjoy each other's company. While this combo works well in modern, minimal styles, it also allows for creative expression.
Here, this design uses simple and solid whites, blacks, and grays in the furniture selection to give an eclectic wallpaper all the attention.
White + Black: Timeless & Modern
Black and white—this is one duo that needs no defense. With a team of black and white leading the way, you can pursue whatever design style suits your fancy, case closed.
Teal + Raven: Bright & Unique
If you're searching for a brighter alternative to humdrum hues like beige and gray, black has got your back. Couple the deep, dark tone with an intense teal, and aim for a midcentury modern vibe in your décor selection.
Copper + Black: Antique & Chic
Copper easily can outshine all others metals in the design space, and black is happy to concede. This exquisite copper clawfoot tub claims the spotlight in this bathroom, with black content to serve as a complement. In this design, there's no debating who's in charge.
Ruby Red + Black: Luxe & Regal
Black can effortlessly bridge the divide between differing styles, combining two designs into one cohesive look. This living room design incorporates vintage details with a regal twist, blending black, antique side tables and a vintage area rug with a ruby red sofa that's dressed in velvet and bordered by gold.
Brown + Deep Charcoal: Muted & Neutral
If you've ever been told black and brown don't pair well, let's set the record straight: warm shades like cocoa next to a rich black make for a cozy, neutral space.
Add organic elements like woven baskets, natural woods, and plants to amplify the tranquil mood.
Gold + Black: Elegant & Luxurious
If you want an elegant design that's not too full of itself, go for gold. This sun-kissed color, coupled with a base of black and white, provides the perfect launching pad for a modern space with a little flair.
Orange + Charcoal: Warm & Inviting
Who says minimalist and modern can't mingle with a little glitz and glamour? Spice up your design with a dash of warm orange.
This elegant bedroom from If Walls Could Talk builds on warm neutrals, like black and beige, with luxurious textures and colors, from the curtains to the cushions.
Silver + Onyx: Expensive & Elegant
Black plays well with a myriad of bold and vibrant colors, but if you want a truly exquisite and even elite design, bring on the silver. This design, for instance, mirrors a delicate diamond in the décor, featuring intricate details that'll play with light—black's only role is to magnify the elegance.
Sage + Charcoal: Calm & Casual
Sage is one color that's dominated the design industry in recent years, and black may be its greatest ally. In the kitchen, this combo is especially trendy.
Use sage on your cabinets with unfinished brass hardware, or for décor, search for wicker or rattan pieces as well as terracotta pottery.
Peach + Black: Playful & Bright
Dark colors can produce a somber mood, but a playful shade like peach will soften the color and achieve a sense of warmth in the space. Blend black and peach for a peaceful setting, then match the pair with cozy fabrics, unfinished woods, and soft lighting to complete your restful retreat.
Navy Blue + Black: Moody & Cozy
It may seem unusual to pair black with a dark shade like navy, but that's what gives this pair its edge. "Navy and black is an elegant and unexpected combination that works beautifully together," Carter says.
In this design, a matte black bookshelf serves as the ideal setting for gold décor and paves the way for other luxurious elements, such as those velvet navy chairs.
Mustard + Deep Charcoal: Trendy & Welcoming
For those crafting a midcentury modern design, black and mustard create a warm and welcoming ambiance. This living room plays up the neutral vibe with a mustard sectional, and accents of cane and greenery balance the darker shades.
Cobalt + Raven: Standout & Bold
Liven up your design with a color that'll shock and awe all guests. This electric cobalt adds a punch to whites and blacks. Metallic finishes like silver and gold add an extra dash of drama to complement the vibrant blue.
Plum + Black: Rich & Complementary
Deep, rich colors like plum can complement darker tones, creating a let's-stay-home kind of vibe. This design makes us want to curl up by the fire with a cup of coffee as the rain pitter-patters outside. With a pair like plum and black metal, you'll never want to leave the living room.
Olive + Black: Strong & Expressive
Black is a great color to incorporate with earthy shades like olive. This gorgeous wood headboard pops against the olive-green walls, and the fringed curtains add a light and delicate touch.
Play up the visual appeal with some textured elements in your design instead of additional colors.
Coral + Charcoal: Fun & Enticing
There's a fine line between elegant and eccentric, and this combo straddles it well. The salmon wallpaper flaunts a subtly fun print, and black accents accentuate its playfulness. And the rest of the room follows suit, with bright colors and textures sprinkled throughout this one-of-a-kind design.