You can create elegant atmospheres with muted neutrals and black and white art. They provide a sharp statement, anchor the room and they always blend well. Artwork, particularly photographs, in black and white are a favourite in interior design projects.
The reason why this simple color composition works just about anywhere is the fact that it's only two colours are probably present in just about every room, no matter the color palette or style. It's high contrast grabs attention while doing a great job of blending and mixing the existing furnishings.