There are plenty of practical reasons to decorate with neutral colors. The shades we think of as neutral — whites, beiges, tans — don't clash with anything. They are calm, soothing and never go out of style.

There's just one problem.

Beiges and neutrals can be boring.

So, what’s the trick for making a neutral room feel edgy and exciting. Bring in the only color that isn’t bland: Black.

Mixing in the right amount of black accents, print fabrics or furniture can make the white, beige or tan shades in a room look more interesting, putting them in the spotlight. How much black is too much, and how do you make sure a room done in this color scheme really pops?

Here are six ways to interior designers mix the darkest and lightest of shades for beautiful results:

1. You don't need an entirely black wall or a solid black sofa. Add things like print fabrics that include black, such as black-banded throw pillows. Or consider a mix of charcoal, brown, taupe and black that is fresh and modern.

2. Black metal accents. Consider a black lamp shade on a lamp with an antique brass metal base, ablack metal chair legs, and windows with just the casements painted black.

3. A sleek, shiny, black dining table or black grand piano conveys drama and elegance. But even if your decorating style is more casual — maybe farmhouse chic or beachy — you can still make black work. Look for distressed, rubbed finishes.

4. Make it look less overpowering by mixing it with lighter materials, such as glass, wrought iron and driftwood to take some “weight” out of it.

5. Beige and black can be wonderful together, or awful if you use the wrong shade of beige. Stick with sand tones with a lot of white in them. Avoid flesh-toned or yellowish beiges. A mix of pale gray and beige – “greige” – is a good alternative to white. It’s warmer than true white.

6. Another way to make a neutral room look fabulous is to add brown as well as black. Throw in some cream or oatmeal, and the room becomes casually elegant and yet still neutral. Look for the black and brown pairing in furnishings and lamps.

Source: Associated Press

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