Black dominates this living space, from light fixtures to paint trim. White creates a strong sense of contrast. (Photo: Handout/Scott Gabriel Morris/TNS).

Black and white is not only one of the most versatile color combinations in home décor but also one of the most luxurious. Like a great dress, black and white can be dressed up or dressed down, and used in either casual or more formal spaces. What are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to infusing black and white into your décor? Here are some top tips.

• Don’t be afraid to use tints, tones and shades of white such as cream or taupe.

• Consider using black in unexpected ways such as architectural elements including, doors, baseboards, and trims.

• Use black and white for main foundation furniture pieces such as sofas and chairs.

• Use black and white for large decorative pieces such as artwork.

• Utilize the color black as a finish, for example for lighting or lamp shades.

• Bring in portable décor that includes black and white elements such as pillows, area rugs, throws and vases.

• Experiment with color balance when using black and white. For example, using white as the primary color and black as an accent or vice versa.

• Consider black and white in small spaces. This timeless color combination can be paired with a number of accent colors which can help create a cohesive color palette.

• Repeat or map black and white elements throughout a space. This technique involves repeating or “mapping” the same or similar colors in a space or home in order to create a cohesive or harmonious look.

• Use black and white in a space in which you want to create a sense of contrast and interest.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert. Contact her at [email protected] or visit her website at

By Cathy Hobbs, Tribune News Service (TNS)