Design: Black, red and cream is a hot color combination

Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service

Take one look at the fashions models strut down the designer runways and at one point you are bound to catch a glimpse of the color combination black, red and cream. Is blending these colors together new? No. But seeing the colors paired together in home decor is currently on trend.

On trend vs. trendy

While the color combination of black, red and cream is on trend, it certainly can’t be considered trendy. The color combination is essentially a decor staple in which decorators can feel comfortable pairing and mixing these colors with a high likelihood of success nearly every time.

Why these colors work

Black and cream are foundation colors, meaning they act as a neutral palette within a space and pair well with other colors. Red is a vibrant, rich color that adds the perfect color pop. A pop of red against a cream background is the perfect blend of light and dark, the cream allowing the red to shine. Conversely, if you place red against dark colors such as black, the red forces the eye to perk up and pay attention more than the black would on its own.

How to use black, cream and red

In considering ways to incorporate black, red and cream (or any color into your space), be sure to use color purposefully. Plan ahead and determine which pieces of furniture or which accessories you wish to have in a particular color. A great design tip is to use neutral colors for large furniture pieces like sofas and chairs, while using pops of color as accents. Colorful accents may include everything from toss pillows, throws, small sculptural items and even books.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at