What colour decorations go best with brown and black carpet?

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Carpets are available in a range of colours from luxurious cream to funky electric blue. But if you've got children or pets, you've probably opted for a more sensible dark colour such as brown or black. This doesn't mean that you can't have a stylish home, however.

You just need to know how to combine other colours with black or brown to create either a harmonious or dramatic effect.

Black -- harmonious

The shades that harmonise best with black are variations of grey. To avoid creating a drab effect, choose a very soft, dove grey for the walls and add curtains and other soft furnishings in pale purples or pinks. This sophisticated but calming colour scheme is a good choice for a bedroom, especially when combined with painted wooden furniture.

Black -- dramatic

Contrasting your black carpet with pure white walls and furniture creates a dramatic, stylish, art deco look that was all the rage in the 1930s and the golden age of Hollywood. This style is particularly effective in the hall or living room. Paint the walls white and contrast with black painted woodwork on the skirting boards and door frames. Choose geometric patterns for accessories such as rugs and cushions, and reflect the dramatic colour scheme in large mirrors and chrome fixtures, such as door handles.

Brown -- harmonious

A neutral colour palette in shades of brown and cream creates a grown-up, comfortable look that is suitable for almost any room in the house, particularly the living room, dining room, study or bedroom. If the carpet is dark brown, lighten the room with cappuccino-coloured walls and rugs and curtains in a rich cream. If your carpet is lighter, you could experiment with an accent wall painted in dark brown. Sticking to cream walls creates a neutral background for interesting art works.

Brown -- dramatic

Duck egg blue contrasts dramatically with dark brown. Use on walls or curtains to create a contemporary look in your living room or study. Hot pink is another effective colour to use with brown to create a vibrant atmosphere in a living room. Don't overdo it though: the pink is best used as an accent colour on cushions or perhaps on one wall.