Skip to Content

What works with black and red?

Black and red are classic color combinations that never seem to go out of style. But mixing these bold, powerful shades can be tricky. Black has a stabilizing effect and red energizes, so they need to be balanced. The good news is that done right, black and red create stylish, sophisticated looks across fashion, interior design, and graphic design.


In fashion, black and red make a bold statement. Black clothing provides a neutral backdrop that lets the vibrant red pop. Red accessories like handbags, shoes, jewelry, or a bright red lip add eye-catching contrast.

Clothing Combinations

Here are some stylish ways to wear black and red together:

  • Little red dress with black heels and clutch
  • Black pants or skirt with a red blouse or sweater
  • Black suit with a red tie or scarf
  • Red coat over an all-black outfit
  • Black jeans with a red belt and red shoes

Red Accents

Use red accessories to accent an all-black outfit:

  • Red handbag
  • Red shoes – heels, flats, sneakers
  • Red hat, scarf, or gloves
  • Red sunglasses
  • Red lipstick
  • Red jewelry – earrings, necklace, bracelet

Red and Black Prints

Mixing black and red prints adds interest:

  • Polka dots
  • Stripes
  • Plaid
  • Florals

Pair a black and white polka dot blouse with a red skirt, or red polka dot tights with a black dress. Go bold with a red and black buffalo check coat. Try layering different graphic black and red prints for an eclectic look.

Interior Design

Black and red create an equally strong impact in interior spaces. Used right, this palette expresses drama, sophistication, and luxury. But tread carefully – getting the balance wrong can look tacky.

Tips for Decorating with Black and Red

  • Use red as an accent – in small doses it packs more punch
  • Anchor it with plenty of black and neutrals like white, gray, brown
  • Add metallics like silver, gold, or copper to glam it up
  • Layer on textures like velvet, leather, or faux fur
  • Incorporate animal prints or plaids for an eclectic vibe

Living Room

Make a dramatic living room statement with these black and red accents:

  • Red curtains or pillows on a black sofa
  • Black and white rug with red furniture or decor
  • Black coffee table with a red vase and flowers
  • Red art on a black wall
  • Black shelving with red books or decor


Bring black and red into the bedroom with:

  • Black headboard with red bedding
  • Red accent chair or bench at the foot of a black bed
  • Black and white photographs in red frames
  • Red lamps on black nightstands
  • Black dresser with a red lampshade or vase


Make the kitchen sizzle with:

  • Black cabinets and countertops with a red backsplash
  • Red bar stools around a black island
  • Black kitchenware with red accents
  • Red appliances like a stand mixer or toaster against black countertops


Add bold style to the bathroom with:

  • Black walls and cabinetry with red towels or bathmat
  • Black framed mirror with red lights around it
  • Red shower curtain over a black tub
  • Black vessel sink on a red vanity

Graphic Design

In graphic design, black and red are eye-catching colors. They create high-impact designs that grab attention. But using them harmoniously requires thoughtfulness.


Black and red make a bold brand identity. Red pops against a black logo or wordmark. Successful examples include:

Brand Industry
Netflix Entertainment
CNN News
Virgin Travel
Oracle Technology

Used strategically, black and red branding conveys power, passion, and excitement.

Print Design

In print, red grabs attention against black backgrounds. Use it for:

  • Headlines
  • Pull quotes
  • Graphs and charts
  • Logos
  • Photography and illustrations

But beware of using too much red or letting it clash with the black. Balance it with plenty of white space.

Web Design

The same principles apply on the web. Sparingly use red for:

  • Headings
  • Buttons
  • Icons
  • Borders
  • Menus

Set it against black backgrounds, white space, and grayscale photography. Ensure text remains readable by providing enough contrast between red text and backgrounds.


Black and red are bold, beautiful complements across fashion, interior design, and graphic design when balanced thoughtfully. Use red as dramatic punctuation against black’s neutrality. Add metallics, animal prints and plaids for extra flair. With the right proportions, black and red create stylish, sophisticated looks guaranteed to turn heads.