Monochromatic rooms are clean, elegant, and can be a great blank canvas for those who enjoy changing up their accent decor from time to time. But they are easy to mess up: When done incorrectly, a monochromatic space can cheapen your home. So read on, we’ll give you the framework you need to get on your way to creating a beautiful monochromatic space.
Monochromatic Rooms Q & A: We’ll be answering questions like:
How do you choose a color palette for your monochromatic room?
What types of fabrics and other textiles work best in monochromatic spaces?
How do you create depth and prevent a monochrome palette from making a space look flat?
Choosing a Monochromatic Color Palette
White on white is a popular trend amongst fans of chic minimalism and those who favor that ‘California Cool’ aesthetic that’s becoming popular even outside of Southern California. But when done incorrectly it can make a space look like a snowstorm! Tone-on-tone blue is also a common design choice for monochromatic rooms for its elegant richness. But how do you choose a base color? How do you choose complementary shades? Help! First, start with some basic color terminology that’s important in developing your own monochromatic palette:
- Color/Hue: Color refers to how much light reflected by the object
- Color Value: Refers to a color’s degree of brightness
- Tint: Refers to a color’s value after white has been added
- Shade: Refers to a color when black has been added
- Tone: Refers to the color’s value after grey has been added
For a comfortably layered look, you’ll want a palette comprised of a variety of color values– that will give your space that designer touch you see on the glossy pages of your favorite design magazines and prevent the room from looking flattened out. Another good place to start is by considering the colors that are already in the space: The flooring (Is it a dark wood, for example? That might be a good base color to start with!), or what do you see just outside the windows? (Is it mostly blue sky? Lots of greenery?) etc.
Choosing Monochromatic Textiles
You’ll want to select fabrics that are easy to maintain because up against other fabrics of the same color, they’re more likely to show blemishes and discoloration, especially in a lighter, brighter monochromatic palette. Common choices for easily maintained sofa fabrics, for example, include:
- Linen (Design Tip: Both cotton and linen might snag or pill overtime, so you might want to op’t for something stronger or invest in a higher end cotton or linen)
- Synthetic Microfiber (while this may not be the most environmentally sound option, it does have its benefits: for example, synthetic microfiber can be made to look like other materials)
- Leather (Wool and Leather are both great, sleek, heavy-duty options!)
Accenting Monochromatic Rooms with Patterns, Scale, and Shine!
Add depth and texture to your monochromatic space by including a vast array of patterns. We’ve written about how fearful some people can be of color in their homes, and playing with loud prints in that fit into your monochromatic palette can be a fun alternative. Some options might to consider:
Stripes and Dots: Consider the iconic Kate Spade look in which she layers black and white stripes against black and white polka dots: dots and stripes are a great place to start in whatever your palette might be.
- Scale: After choosing patterns, you can also play with scale (smaller polka dots on larger, thicker stripes. for example)
- Mixed Metals: In a monochromatic space, you should pay extra attention to choosing hardware & furniture frames as they’ll stand out against your palette and provide a great design opportunity. A great way to accent a monochromatic space and add depth is with something shiny: And one of the best ways to do that is with a mix of metals in hardware and furniture frames. (A mixture of gold and silver is super popular right now in living spaces and can work for a variety of design styles from boho chic to high glamour! Brass and copper is very trendy in urban and millennial kitchen and office design right now and can add a funky, rustic flair to the space)