Decorating with Black and Tan

Check out these tips for introducing the timeless black and tan color duo to your decor.

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There's something very classy and sophisticated about the combination of black and tan. If you have a light tan sofa, you can greatly elevate its design status by simply adding pillows that mix black and tan, no matter the pattern.

Let's decorate a bedroom to give you some ideas for incorporating the color combination into your own decor: 

  • Couple a black bedspread accented with tan and with a whitewashed, aspen or any light-colored wood for the bedroom set. Granted, the motif has a masculine quality, but it's still very pleasing to the female eye as well.

  • Strategically place rugs on a light-colored wood floor, or go with light tan carpet. And the more plush the carpet the better, perhaps all-cotton, which is a bit more pampering to the feet than nylon or wool carpet. Granted, the 100 percent cotton carpet will soil easier than the nylon or wool, but by keeping this carpet in the bare-feet-only bedroom, it will probably be relatively easy to maintain.

  • Paint the walls and the woodwork a neutral cream shade and add cream-colored window treatments. Hang those curtains on a black decorator rod. Or go with a cornice upholstered in the bedspread material, but only if the ceiling is high enough to carry the black in the material. You also need a chair in the same pattern or a coordinating one.

  • Choose lamps that accent the bedspread pattern. Pictures on the walls should do the same. If family photos are your heart's desire, opt for frames that match the wood of the furniture, and matte the pictures in black. But if art is the accessory of choice, choose art heavy on black and tan rather than adding other colors to the room.

With black and tan, it doesn't matter whether the decor is traditional or contemporary. Like the basic black dress, it just always fits in.

(Rosemary Sadez Friedmann is author of Mystery of Color.)

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