Black and Red: A Classic Color Combo in Modern Design

Some color combinations stand the test of time, through trends and fads and color ins-and-outs of the design timeline. Black and red (sometimes with a bit of white) is just such a color scheme. The combination is inherently aesthetically powerful, with red’s association with and representation of life, vigor, and fire, and black’s dark, grounding force. It’s not surprising that the balance of the two classic colors, black and red, is showing up more and more in modern design spaces.

Custom pops of red or black.

black and red chairs
Thin wash basin

A simple yet totally unique way to incorporate black and red into your modern design scheme is to incorporate one of the colors in an unexpected way. For example, a freestanding tub with a red exterior is a grownup way to use red; paired with a solid black wall, with plenty of white elements to balance out the scheme, it’s both a simple and beautifully updated look.

Red brings positive energy.

Red brings positive energy

Modern spaces, which lean toward the minimal or at least very well-edited, have the advantage of every component’s playing a critical role in furthering the look and feel of the tight design. Red has rich symbolism in Asian culture of joy and good fortune, and it’s an easy choice for brightening up and bringing positive energy into a modern black space, even in the smallest of subtle doses.

One a solid, the other a pattern.

Imternum red sofa with black shades coffee tables

Because red and black can both be quite saturated, intense colors, you might prefer to soften the visual impact by turning one of the colors into a pattern. Geometric patterns in particular work well in this case and give the space a structured, modern vibe overall.

Great for commons areas.

Black wall and red pipes lighting fixtures

Black and red is a combination that works well in kitchens or high-traffic common areas, such as open-concept hallways. This is in large part due to red’s association with appetite stimulation, especially warmer reds associated with foods such as tomatoes. The sophistication of a black backdrop with strategic use of cheerful, mouth-watering red hues makes for an ultimately modern space.

Improves mental efficiency in a home office.

Improves mental efficiency in a home office.

Because of its visual potency, small bits of red’s impact can be powerful in a black and red space. Not only that, but red has also been found to promote concentration and improve focused efficiency. This might be helpful design information when you go to create your home office space!

Textural use softens the colors’ potency.

Tadeco Home Setting with black and red accents

Black and red make an excellent backdrop for inviting spaces where family and friends want to gather and linger, as exhibited in this Tadeco home setting. Neither color is overwhelming here; both black and red are used in feathery doses and tempered with plenty of light neutrals. The tree wall makes a vibrant and interesting statement, while the red textile touches add elegance and depth within the décor. The end result? An earthy and completely modern space.

A little bit goes a long way.

Accent red pillow for a black bedroom decor

Because of the potency of the color red, a single red item, such as a throw pillow, can be enough to carry through the black and red color combination in an entire space. Although the “black” in this scenario is more of a very dark brown, the effect is still stunning, in an understated, cool sort of way.

Break up black with a hint of red.

Break up black with a hint of red

Black furniture tends to read as sophisticated, smart, and no-nonsense. This is particularly true when that furniture is a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf system. The dramatic black (and white) space here is brought to life with the smallest inclusion of red, but that diagonal red’s strategic placement using the Rule of Thirds is an absolutely critical component in this modern office / bookshelf / entertainment or command center.

Modern pieces in modern colors.

Small anemone Adler

While red is an integral part of many traditional interiors, it can also be edgy and mod when used in certain ways. In other words, pair red with a cooler tone such as fuchsia in modern art with your black and red scheme (don’t forget the stunning small anemone Adler light), and the effect is something akin to urban street art chic.

Let red be the focal point it’s longing to be.

Red couch focal point of the room

Although closely tied to the emotion of anger, red is just as often (if not more so) associated with happiness. In fact, Asian culture prefers red in festivities such as New Year’s and weddings because of its powerful joyfulness (’s a vibrant, festive color that is made more mature with a pairing with black. Don’t be afraid to use red on a large statement piece in your space, such as the sofa or oversized art (or both!).

Classic color combos work well in adult AND kid design.

Kids car race bed in black and red

Black and red can be energetic, exciting, and sporty, particularly when used in conjunction to decorate a kid’s bedroom. A race car bed and industrial-type metal touches throughout the space carry the theme home in this modern, hip bedroom.

Reddish wood can count as red.

Reddish wood can count as red

If your aesthetic isn’t into the vivid redness of true red, you can get a bit creative in your modern interpretation of the classic color combination. Opt for a wood with reddish undertones and pair with black (and white) for a muted, modern twist.