Colors that go with black – design experts explain the best way to create a rich palette for your decor

Design experts reveal the colors that go with black, and clever ways to transform interiors using these stunning combos

colors that go with black lwith a wall painted in pink orange and black
(Image credit: Future)

Every shade is one of the colors that go with black, right? Black is classic, deep, simple, and elegant. A wonderful base hue, it tends to work with most shades. But there are ways to get the best from it, tones to pick to enhance its natural beauty. To bring out its confidence, chicness and class. 

'I love using black in interiors as an accent color. It instantly provides a touch of glamor and gravity to a space, which is why black is so effective,' says Natalie Tredgett, founder of Natalie Tredgett Design. 'I think black stone such as slate and marble are also timeless.”

Black isn't just a solid, flat tone, and color theory experts point to the fact that it has several undertones. There are blacks with green, purple, or blue undertones. Plus there is charcoal that can be read as black. There are glossy or matte blacks and so many hues in between. So you see, just like the colors that go with grey, there is more to working with black than at first meets the eye. 

In fact, this fascinating shade has so many advantages, making it one of the most popular paint trends of 2022. Black's versatility can be expanded upon by pairing it with other colors for a surprising interior. Since this hue is deep and captivating, almost everything else stands out against it: art, furniture, trim and other paints.

Colors that go with black

Choosing some of the best black paints can transform a room. But before you go about picking your favorite shade, remember, black requires good lighting. The trick is to keep the rest of the decor from feeling too close or heavy. Black color works well in lively, eclectic spaces like the living room or the bedroom. It's also a good color for transitional spaces, like small hallways and nooks. 

When it comes to colors that go with black, there are of course certain classic combinations such as black and white, or black and grey but if you open your mind to other, off-beat groupings, you'll be surprised at how much your interior can benefit from it. 

Consider coupling deep shades of black with earthy hues such as brown or sage. This will help create a snug interior. If you love high-energy spaces that have a luxe factor, then black with rich jewel tones like emerald green or deep blue look fab. 

Color combinations don't have to be restricted to just walls. Try a color play with furniture, accessories, trims, and art. With an adaptable black leading the way, you can pursue whatever design style suits your fancy. Case closed. 

1. Black and white

colors that go with black with a black wall and white furniture, and white chandelier

(Image credit: MaryPatton/ Photo Molly Culver)

Black doesn't always make an interior seem closed or small. Black walls can look like an endless night sky and expand a space. Choosing some of the best black paints can transform a room. 

When thinking of colors that go with black, the simplest answer always is white – an iconic color combination. You would be hard-pressed to find another pairing quite as effortlessly cool as this. So many modern homes these days are big on monotone spaces. While black gives the room weight and elegance, white paint gives crispness to the interior and creates a restful scape. Plus, the neutral scheme allows other accessories to jump out.

"Black and white is the perfect pairing. We use this combination through monochrome bedsheets, or dark stone flooring paired with white walls,' says interior designer Harsh Boghani, founder of The Crossboundaries

If painting the walls black, then use white for the textiles, like the blind, seen above. The contrast stops the walls from taking over visually.

2. Black and gold 

colors that go with black with back storage complemented with gold-fronted cabinet, and a white island

(Image credit: Post Architecture)

All that glitters may not be gold but it sure is pretty! Colors that go with yellow create an eternally pleasing landscape and bring in an everlasting dose of sunshine into the home. The trick is to choose the right tone of gold or yellow – it varies from bright yellow to a soft burnished hue that is much darker. 

Metallic golds mix well with solid tones like pure or matte black. The deep tone lifts the shiny nature of the hue and helps create a sumptuous interior. 

One thing to keep in mind is that if you're going for gold, keep the touches to a minimum to avoid overkill. Like in this interior, a gold cabinet surrounded by black storage and splashback is all that’s needed. A third wonderful base color to ground the scheme is white. With white on the island and black as the second shade in the color scheme, the gold jumps out, proving you can make a feature out of it. 

If you don't want to dedicate an entire wall to gold yet love the hue, you could bring it in subtly by perhaps choosing black tiles with gold borders. This could double as an accent wall, maybe in the kitchen or bathroom. The pairing will look striking yet not overwhelming. 

3. Black and pink

colors that go with black with a pink painted room with black doors and a black dresser

(Image credit: MATTHEW WILLIAMS)

Doesn't the color black and pink bring to mind the 1950s fashion with polka dotted skirts and shopping bags? The high contrast of deep black and luscious pink lends itself to both elegant and playful decor themes. In fact, black is among the top colors that go with pink

Pink is timeless and a color that is lately receiving a lot of love. Depending on the tones of pink, different moods can be created with black and pink. For energetic spaces, choose hot pink, coral, carnation, puce, rose and ballerina. Dusty or blush pink can create a serene environment. Interestingly, while white is the universally known neutral, and considered the best combination with black, the lighter shade of pink is an excellent alternative to white. Adding wood tones to the palette is a great way to help warm up the scheme even more.

For these bedroom ideas, this color combination would be less successful if there were other competing colors or elements in the space. The room drenched in a single shade with other pared-back elements is not overly decorated or cluttered, which is why it looks fantastic.

'The trick to pairing black with a delicate shade like pink is to let the lighter color be the star,' says Livingetc's editor Pip Rich. 'Had it been the woodwork in pink and the walls in black in the image above then the woodwork would have paled into insignificance. Instead, the sudden burst of energy fro the black door brings real life to this dreamy decor.'

4. Black and red

colors that go with black - black and red

(Image credit: Andrew Storey)

Black and red is a color story reminiscent of old Hollywood and mail boxes in Europe, but today used with a contemporary twist. Amongst colors that go with red, black makes a pretty strong case. Use this pairing more unusually and make way for immediate modern glamour. 

While red's complementary partner on the color wheel is cyan or turquoise blue, it looks great with greens too. This is why red as an exterior paint works well, when paired with the landscape around.

In this example, the black exterior paint color works in several ways. The color helps create insulation, and elevates the textural quality of the home. Dark paints usually hide dust and scratches that develop over time. And finally, to stop the exterior from looking too plain, the shocking red door adds movement to the scheme. What a way to make an impact! 

'Black exterior paint works great in modern and traditional architecture. Black paint on a classic Victorian home can add some edge to the home’s ornate lines,' says Sara Cukerbaum, principal architect, SLIC Design. 'In modern architecture, it allows the other design features and surroundings to take center stage.'

Instead of exterior colors, you could even try stain, which works well on a variety of home styles. Also, remember, paint colors always look much paler in natural daylight. So it's best to test out several different samples before making a decision.

6. Black and green

colors that go with black with a dark green painted bathroom and black doorway and mirror frame

(Image credit: Beata Heuman)

Green reminds us of rain, tree-lined streets and magnificent camphor trees. Now picture tiny, black berry-like fruits hanging from these trees. It's a sight to behold – in nature, sharp contrasts so easily come together.

Several colors go with green, simply because this is the hue of the outdoors, open and absorbing of everything. 

If you're wondering how to choose the right shade of green, a good rule of thumb is that deeper shades should always be reserved for areas that receive natural light, so the interior doesn't feel closed in. Lighter tones work in almost all areas with varied types of lighting. If you’re seeking a cozier feel, choose green on a darker end, and for a more cheerful, upbeat vibe, a lighter green may be better.

When choosing colors that go with black, green makes for an attractive pairing, and can feel quite flexible or serene, depending on how you use it. Black alone can feel formal and classic, but sometimes it can be too stark. Green, on the other hand is the color of nature, so it tends to lend a calming effect. In the bathroom especially, the color combo works wonders, giving the space a refreshing, comfortable feel.

Green works as well in exteriors as it doesn't in interiors. A great way to add pizazz to an exterior color palette is to go with a two-toned scheme. If your home features two materials on the exteriors, then it's an easy split of colors – each material gets its own hue. Usually darker colors look better at the base of the house and lighter shades at the top.

'Colours that are in trend for exteriors are still neutrals such as whites (including off-whites), greys, and blacks. I think a dark green with black looks warmer and echos the landscaping around,' says Gloria.

7. Black and grey

colors that go with black with a living room painted in two tones - the bottom with black and the section above with grey

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

Grey may be neutral but it's also a statement. It's bolder than white and cream; more modern than its neutral cousins, yet less dramatic than black. True grey (or achromatic grey) is a mixture of black and white, which is why when we think of grey living rooms, black emerges as an easy partner.  

Grey appears often in nature – think stones, storm clouds, and sand – and so it also works well on walls, accessories, and furniture. And when paired with black, especially a charcoal grey and a deep black, then the effect is more of a layering one. A grey and black palette can look cool, sober, and calming. 

If you're planning on using this combination across your home, make sure to use varying tones of grey to add interest –from dim, medium, ash grey to stone, charcoal, platinum and gunmetal.

In this interior, the light grey wall color is a terrific alternative to pure white, which can sometimes feel too sterile. The color palette seen here is fairly restrained, but the different shades of grey and black play well together and add variety and visual interest.

8. Black and blue

colors that go with black, with a black painted kitchen juxtaposed with deep blue chairs

(Image credit: Design by Sam Sacks Design, photography by Lauren Millier Photography)

More often than not, blue easily makes its way into homes – through wall paints, art or accessories. The reason could be that there are so many blues out there – royal blue, sky blue, aqua, and indigo – that one or more easily trickles into interiors and makes home. The color evokes a feeling of calm, serenity, stability, and even authority (which is why it's a popular choice for uniforms). Blue also pairs well with other shades and there are several colors that go with blue.

On the topic of colors that go with black, countless color schemes and patterns allow for the combination of black and blue. You could choose to have a black sofa with indigo blue cushions, layer your black iron-framed bed with a dark blue ikat bedspread, or have royal blue ceramics paired with black pottery. 

While this color combination works well in almost all spaces, it especially works best in offices and study rooms. A study by the University of British Colombia, blue boosts our ability to think creatively. In their research, children and adults tested higher on IQ tests in rooms with blue ceilings. This makes blue a perfect color choice for a home office. But drenching an entire room in blue can seem too repetitive which is why adding black accents can help in layering and adding a more 'serious' tone to the space. 

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast).  Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.