JENNIFER BACKSTEIN INTERIORS

Monochromatic bathroom

The Mindful Monochromatic: How to master this look

The monochromatic interior decorating trend has risen to fame for good reason. The look is soothing, it’s sophisticated and it’s simple – or so it might seem. While a monochromatic colour palette appears easy (after all, how hard can working with one colour be?) the art of this aesthetic actually requires a thoughtful strategy.

So, why go monochromatic in your home?

A monochromatic interior naturally looks bigger, brighter and cleaner. This is because there is less visual clutter, and the various elements of the room blend into each other and recede. The walls and furnishings stand back, so to speak, leaving more perceived breathing room within the space. But beware that this aesthetic runs the risk of becoming monotonous and looking “flat” if it’s not executed correctly. I’ve designed a few single-coloured beauties during my career, and I’ve compiled some of my top tips for achieving monochromatic success.

As an adopter of the monochromatic style, you’ll technically be working with only one colour, however there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of various tints, tones and shades to choose from. As you would do when decorating a traditional multi-coloured space, use the lighter colour options on the larger elements within the room, such as walls and large-scale furnishings, and reserve the richer, more-vibrant variants of your chosen hue as an accent and highlighter, used in measures doses. For instance, in a white room, layer in some grey and black to punctuate notable architectural features and focal points in the space.

There are other ways to add variety and visual interest to a monochromatic space. Texture, for instance. Incorporating different finishes, such as contrasting high-gloss, matte, smooth and rough surfaces can bring depth to your design. This can be done using different materials, such as stone, wood, metal and mirrors. These are largely considered colour-neutral, meaning they can be added to a monochromatic colour palette without compromising the desired aesthetic. Beyond materials, look for patterns in upholstery fabric, rugs and tiles.

Regardless of the colour you choose (or perhaps because of it!) be mindful of the mood it’s setting in the space. Different colours can evoke a wide range of emotions, from excitement and engagement, to serenity and solitude. Consider how you intend to use the space, and how you want to feel when you’re in it. Also look at the physical characteristics of the space itself. Small spaces with low ceilings would benefit from a light, monochromatic scheme – commonly, white and its various off-white counterparts, to make it appear larger and brighter. Meanwhile, warmth and drama can be achieved in a vast space using deeper, richer colours.

A monochromatic interior goes beyond the walls of a room. This look requires commitment. If you want to try this look but have some reservations, start small. A powder room, bedroom or home office can be a great place to test your colour limits. Of course, a professional designer can help pull this look together, to indeed make your space look effortless and elegant.

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