Not all neutrals are created equal. Black and ivory, both considered to be neutral colors, match each other and most other colors exceedingly well. Warm colors, cool colors, formal colors, metallic colors and playful colors all work when black and ivory form the base colors of an object. Some individual colors within each group match better than certain other colors of the group, however.
Many warm colors work with black and ivory, but each gives off its own feeling. Light pinks look feminine and soft, and a black and ivory base further accentuates the femininity of light pink. Bright pinks and bright reds add a pop of color and excitement, but look better when using pure white rather than ivory. Deep reds appear elegant against the neutral black, and the off-tone of ivory serves to further promote this elegance. Stay away from yellows and browns in general, however. Yellows often get lost as a color when matched against the off-white hue of ivory, while browns typically match poorly with black.
Most cool colors compliment black and ivory extraordinarily well. Light blues add a calm, fresh appearance and a cool softness to the two neutrals. Bright blues give a cool splash of color to black, but match with shades of ivory closer to pure white. Dark blues match well with both ivory and black, promoting a calm sophistication. Dark greens and dark purples contribute a similar sense of sophistication when matched with black and ivory, but nearly any shade of purple works with the two neutrals, while brighter greens look better than yellow-greens.
Formal palettes rely heavily on black and ivory, while color accents remain subdued and slight. Shades of gray work as formal colors, as does a light beige, as long as the shade of beige leans closer to ivory than it does to brown. Browns do not work. Regal colors, such as royal blue and deep purple, also match well within a formal context.
Silver and gold match more nicely than other metallic colors when used with black and ivory. Silver, as a metallic form of gray, adds a touch of class, and gold, a metallic branch of yellow, matches the yellowish hue of ivory without clashing with the black. Bronze and coppers match less effectively because the brown undertones sometimes clash with black.
Unique, playful colors generally work better with black and bright white, but some also work with the off-white tone of ivory. Corals, which otherwise fall under the "warm" color scheme, match particularly well with the warmness of ivory. Aqua adds a surprising touch of color to black and ivory without taking away from the sense of class.
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