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Design Recipes: Do’s and don’ts of using black

Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service

Black is back! It has long been a staple on the runway and is making a bold and sustained comeback in home decor.

Why black? Black is often considered to be a luxurious color that also blends well with other colors and can also serve as a great foundation color. In other words, black is a neutral color that can be easily used as either a main color or as accents in a space.

When looking to incorporate the color black into your home, here are some basic do’s and don’ts.


■Consider the color black for some of your primary furnishings such as coffee tables, sofas or chairs.

■Consider using black as an accent wall color. It may be a bold choice, but paired with a contrast color such as white, it can be classic and timeless.

■Incorporate black into your space through artwork.

■Mix black with contrast colors such as white, taupe or light gray.

■Experiment with materials such as velvet, faux fur or textured wallpaper.


■Blend different shades of black. Unlike other colors, the shade of black used should be consistent throughout a space. Otherwise the color may appear faded or worn.

■Overdo it. Less is often more. Instead of having a room dominated by the color black, which can appear harsh or even gloomy, consider using black as an accent.

■Be afraid to use black in accent elements such as toss pillows, throws and even picture frames.

■Mix black with darker shades of blue such as indigo. The colors tend to look similar and will prevent the black from standing out front and center.

■Ignore finishes such as steel or dark metals as a way to use black, especially if your style is industrial chic.

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