How Do You Create A Monochromatic Room?

When you think monochrome, you’re likely to be imagining those crisp black and white interiors that feature in design magazines. While picture-perfect, they often don’t appear overly welcoming or liveable. The monochrome look is more than just a restricted palette of black and white with a few token greys thrown in. It simply implies an ombré colour scheme that use tones to create a cohesive appearance. Not a fan of the black and white? You could have a monochromatic blue interior using shades like cobalt, royal blue and pastel blue.

However, in film process technology, monochrome has conversely come to refer mostly to images devoid of colour, leaving only black, white and grey. As a decorating scheme, it is chic and sleek and can be adapted to suit any style of interior and any room in the home. As a bonus, the limited palette unifies different textures and patterns.

The key to getting this look right is finding the correct balance between black and white while softening the contrast that the two opposites create with grey or a little pop of colour. The stark contrast can also be lessened by creating distracting visual interest with texture, pattern and shape. Use this introductory guide to help you achieve your monochromatic scheme.

The definition of a monochrome colour scheme is executed in varying tones of only one colour, i.e. a mono (one) chrome (colour). However, in film process technology, monochrome has conversely come to refer mostly to images devoid of colour, leaving only black, white and grey. As a decorating scheme, it is chic and sleek and can be adapted to suit any style of interior and any room in the home. As a bonus, the limited palette unifies various textures and patterns.

The key to getting this look right is finding the correct balance between black and white while softening the contrast that the two opposites create with grey or a little pop of colour. The stark contrast can also be lessened by creating distracting visual interest with texture, pattern and shape. Use this introductory guide to help you achieve your monochromatic scheme.

FAQs On How To Create A Monochromatic Room

You create a Monochromatic Color Scheme by using one Hue repeated in a variety of Tints, Shades and Tones. You increase the variety to keep things from getting boring by varying the Values and Saturations. This Color Scheme is usually calm, serene and subtle.

Monochromatic spaces, or those decorated with shades of one main color, are a popular trend in interior design, with good reason. When you decorate with a monochromatic color scheme, you use the same hue throughout the elements in a room, from the floor to the furniture, wall paint color, artwork, and more.

Monochromatic colour schemes in interior design use a single base colour for the room, but incorporate different shades, tints and tones of the main hue within the room's palette. This creates a very bold, dramatic look whilst still being quite soft and elegant to the eye.

Monochromatic color refers to a color scheme that is comprised of variations of one color. You can use any color to create a monochromatic color scheme. For example, adding white to red creates pink, adding black to red creates maroon, etc. Then, you could have a monochromatic color scheme of pink, red, and maroon.

There are several benefits to designing in monochrome, including its simplicity. The monochrome design is closely wedded to minimalist style, where less is more.

Start From The Ground Up

A good place to start when designing in monochrome is the floor. Once you’ve chosen your base colour, make the floor the darkest shade you will use. This will provide a good base for your colour scheme throughout the room. You can use carpet or flooring, but make sure that your floor covering of choice will match well with any paint or furniture pieces you have in mind. You can then go with a medium shade for the walls and contrasting lighter and darker shades on your furniture and accessories. Some designers will flip this by making the walls darker than the floors, and the effect can be beautiful, but be certain that you have a neutral colour scheme like tans and browns.

How Does It Feel?

Before choosing your colouring, decide what mood you want in your room. The colour and shading choices should reflect that mood. For instance, choosing a violet base with blues, whites, and greys can be soothing to the eye and might be appropriate for a quiet space in the house. Bedrooms are often done in browns and tans to give off a feeling of comfort and warmth. Yellows and light blues can evoke fun and joy, so they might be perfect for a child’s bedroom or playroom. Think about colours you might choose, try to figure out how they make you feel, and whether that feeling is appropriate for what you’re designing.

Print It

Monochrome certainly doesn’t have to be boring. There’s nothing wrong with adding in some pieces, like a throw pillow or window treatments that have prints and patterns with the lightest and darkest shades on them. However, patterns can pop that area of the room, so only go with such bold prints in spaces where you want the eye to go. Also, if you use patterns in separate places, try not to have those patterns contrast, such as vertical lines in one spot and horizontal in the other. These clashing patterns can annoy and distract the eye.

Style And Texture

Keeping the colour palette simple allows you to play with style choices that are more difficult when you’re trying to match several styles. For instance, you can turn any room into a rustic delight by purchasing furniture and accessories in any shade of the colour you’ve chosen. Even if it’s white, you can have distressed wooden furniture and white wicker baskets to give off some country charm—no agonising at the furniture warehouse over whether a certain piece will match your décor. Playing with texture instead of colour is the key to making monochrome fun and exciting. Some of the concerns around the monochrome design are that the look will end up being too industrial and stale. Still, by adding in throw pillows and other softer elements like soft rugs, monochrome can be soft and inviting as well.

In Living Colour

Using plant life will also make a monochromatic room appealing and pleasing to the eye. Find a plant that matches your colour, like lilies for a white scheme or violets for a violet scheme. You can also add some pizzazz to a black and white room by adding green or other boldly coloured plants. The eye will instantly be drawn to it and provide a nice break from contrasting the other two colours.

Perfect Placement

mahmoud azmy nnry6 i50y unsplashAnother way to create interest is by placing the shades of colour throughout the room. For example, having a larger neutral white coloured large furnishing, like a bed with a white bedspread, can break up darker coloured bedside tables and dressers. This provides a break for the eye and a nice oasis in the middle of the room. If the bedspread also has borders that are coloured in the same shade as the other furniture, that will only add to the visual appeal.

Tips To Create A Monochromatic Space

Set the entire mood for your space with a fully monochromatic look - a type of colour scheme that uses variations of just one colour. Whether you prefer your colours on the lighter side or darker down the colour spectrum, there are plenty of possibilities when playing with only one hue.

Play With Grey

Timeless, stylish and classic, a grey on grey colour palette works in any home. Ranging from soft off-white through to deep moody tones, grey offers a neutral, blank canvas that’s perfect for styling with pops of colour.

  • Tip: Greyscale can vary from grey/beige (greige) tones with brown undertones to cooler blue-hued colours. It’s important always to test your colour at home to ensure it appears as you intended.

Blue Hue

Reminiscent of seascapes or wide-open skies, blue is primed for calm. There’s a blue for every mood, whether your shade is a rich, deep navy, proud royal or bright electric.

  • Tip: Layer variations of the one shade through soft furnishings like bed linens alongside decorative accessories like artwork and vases.

Pretty In Pink

Soft, dreamy and romantic, pink and red hues inspire love and romance. So often seen in nurseries, bedrooms and living spaces, pink is all ages.

  • Tip: Contrast pale pink hues with rich, vibrant maroons, burgundies and reds for a dramatic look.

Keen For Green

The colour of nature and the great outdoors, green tones create a relaxing, calming oasis. Soft sage greens meet deep emeralds in a spectrum that’s versatile and can work across several different room types.

  • Tip: Add to your green theme by introducing a variety of indoor plants — not only do they look great, but they come with the added benefit of improving a room’s air quality!

Down To Earth

Natural, earthy brown tones like taupe, tan and beige are gentle and grounding. Palettes in these colours connect us to the earth and soothe the senses. Deeper browns like chocolate and toffee work well to create a warm ambience.

  • Tip: Layer earthy hues with natural textures like linen, cotton and clay.

Choosing Your Palette

Creating your monochromatic look starts by picking a base colour. This will be the dominant colour that features your room, so choose one that suits your personality and compliments existing furniture, materials, or appliances in the home.

Once you’ve chosen your single base colour, start adding a range of tones, tints and hues of the same shade. Just be aware that some colours have certain undertones that look different in various lights. For example, a shade with a high undertone may look out of place in your ombré scheme. Large pieces of furniture, like your sofa, are great items to have upholstered in your base colour to reinforce your palette. Smaller furniture pieces and soft furnishings can incorporate the hues of your palette to provide the ombré effect. 

Adding Texture And Pattern

An all-white interior can look pretty flat and dull, and an all-blue interior can look a little, well, “matchy-matchy”. Adding texture and pattern can work well to add interest to your space and break things up, so it doesn’t all blend into each other. For example, the texture in timbers or natural woven fibres in the same colour palette can work well. Consider soft furnishings like cushions, throws or rugs the ideal accessories to introduce texture and pattern into the space. Textured wallpaper and artwork is another great way to offset the monotony and create interest. 

To Add A Foreign Colour Or Not?

mick haupt 0tjtl czgm8 unsplashMonochrome enthusiasts will likely say “no” to adding a colour that strays from your designated base. However, adding a pop of colour in a small dose can effectively give your interior an added boost. Also, if you’re choosing a more neutral palette like black, white and grey or shades of white and cream, adding a foreign colour is another way to break it up. 

How To Make Monochrome?

In The Kitchen

The sophisticated contrast of black and white continues to be a hugely popular choice in kitchens. It’s a versatile combo that works with any interior style, from traditional and classic to minimalist and contemporary.

Choose high-gloss finishes on cabinetry and benchtops for an ultra-modern, highly reflective look that will have a huge impact. For a more subdued look, choose matt finishes. This will create a sophisticated atmosphere, producing a style that is becoming increasingly popular in kitchens as formal dining rooms merge with kitchen zones; for example, a dining table may be adjoining the kitchen island.

In The Dining Room

In a dining area, a softer, less contrasting look will make a monochrome space feel inviting and relaxed—tone down the overall sharpness of a black and white scheme with the addition of some soft grey. Add fancy decorative items – such as chandeliers, detailed cornicing and comfortable dining chairs with turned legs and cushioned seats – to further soften any sharpness or to banish any sense of the unhappy.

In The Living Room

A monochrome colour scheme can feel harsh, cold and devoid of personality – not something you want in your living room. But by adding texture, you’ll discover one of the best ways to add depth, softness and interest to a black-and-white scheme. Layer soft throws and cushions on a fabric sofa, and choose them in differing textures and materials, such as cotton, linen or faux fur. Continue to moderate the look using a deep-pile rug on the floor.

In The Bathroom

A monochrome palette of crisp black and white creates a smart, clean look in the bathroom. Next, try using monochromatic patterned bathroom floor tiles. These produce a stunning visual feature in a room that often lacks interest. Finally, complete the look with black-and-white cabinetry and consider opting for black tapware instead of chrome. Alternatively, choose copper taps and spouts to add warmth to the two-toned scheme.

In The Master Bedroom

Black-and-white bedrooms are nothing new, but the high drama created from such extreme opposites can benefit from a little distraction in the form of opulence and luxury. Metallic finishes add instant glamour to a monochrome scheme. Look for metallic-finish patterned wallpaper and soft silk throw pillows in black, white or silver. Decorate bedside tables with shiny accessories, and look out for either plain or patterned, thick and luxurious curtains with a metallic finish.

In The Guest Bedroom

Adding a splash of your favourite hue is a fun way to revitalise the look of a monochrome-decorated guest bedroom, and it provides relief from the harsh contrast of black and white. The trick is that the colour pop should be done in small doses. Keep it simple and stick to just one colour or different tones of the same colour. As seasons – or your tastes – change, so too can the accent colour.

In A Child’s Bedroom

Red, yellow, and blue are fun colours to use in a child’s bedroom, but they become less fond of primary colours as the child gets older. The image here shows that a simple black-and-white scheme allows more freedom to play around with bold patterns without them becoming overpowering. This will work in any child’s bedroom regardless of their gender, and, what’s more, the decor will still look good as they grow from tot to teen. Mix different patterns, such as stripes, spots and graphic symbols, then layer the patterns on top of each other to create interest.

In The Nursery

A complete black-and-white colour scheme can feel cold and uninviting if used in a baby’s nursery. However, the look can easily be warmed up with natural timber. Bring in wooden furniture, such as a cot or chair. A timber floor in the room covered by textured rugs will also create a cosy and friendly space, which both boys and girls will enjoy growing up in.

In The Hallway

There is no better place in your home to make a strong first impression than in the entry hallway. A monochrome scheme will have your guests instantly complementing your decor choices as they walk in the door. Black-and-white striped runner rugs or wallpaper hung horizontally will visually enhance the dimensions of a narrow hallway. Place statement pieces of black furniture against white walls, or vice versa, for a seriously dramatic look, and accessorise with a mix of black and white decorative objects.


As mentioned before, monochrome doesn’t have to be boring. Using monochrome properly can simplify the design while still providing plenty of opportunities to play with a different style. These tips should help get you on your way to beautifully designing in monochrome. Finding the right furniture in your chosen monochrome shades can be challenging and not as easy as picking paint colours. However, that’s one advantage of selecting furniture that’s custom-designed to suit your interior, leaving you no reason to compromise. 

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