How To Balance Monochrome Interiors

Decorating in monochrome never goes out of fashion, but it takes skill and sometimes restraint to create this perennially popular look.

From casual Hamptons to New York glamour, the classic combination of black, white and well over 50 shades of gray has been a firm favourite for home interiors and exteriors around the world.  It’s an eternally chic look which you can pare back for stylish simplicity or embellish for a bolder, more eclectic impact – but it’s not as easy as it seems to get the perfect look.

It’s a balancing act and the trick, according to decorating experts (including our own Coast Homes in-house professional interior designer) is to create tonal variation and interest using different shades, layers, shapes, sizes, patterns, forms and textures whilst maintaining a calming sense of harmony and cohesion.

Committing to a monochromatic scheme may sound a bit restrictive initially but it is actually surprisingly liberating.  Less is definitely more and you’ll be amazed at just how interesting ‘neutral’ actually is.

Let’s look at a black and white colour scheme for example.  This combination has always been bang on trend and it looks like it’s going to be even bigger in the interiors of the future.  But without the right treatment, it can sometimes feel a little chilly and impersonal, so it’s important to introduce texture and variation to warm things up.

Raw or bleached timber elements will add an authentic organic feel whilst chunky knits, natural linens, woven baskets, jute rugs and leather trims will add warmth and panache.  Bold stripes, geometrics, tribal patterns and other graphic detailing also work really well with black and white interiors and whilst you will want to play up the contrasts, you will need to be cautious about creating clutter or competition between focal points.

A neutral palette doesn’t mean your home will be bland or boring.  On the contrary, foregoing colour means you can have so much fun with contrasting materials and textures.

What about getting creative by mixing pieces from different decades?  You can happily merge inexpensive decor items with investment pieces and valuable family heirlooms and use contrasts to add interest.  Think black and white prints with a white border and a black frame.  Think textured or patterned throws and cushions on a neutral sofa.   Think feathers or tassels.  Think light and dark variations of the same colour.  Remember, a wide mix of textures is the secret that will help avoid monotony in your monochromatic scheme.

Remember too, that greenery is gold in a neutral scheme.  Indoor plants are big news and apart from the health and well-being benefits of sharing your space with living things, they’re the perfect accessory to help balance your monochromatic look.

If you’re considering a monochromatic scheme in your kitchen, you could always balance darker cabinetry or benchtops with a lighter splashback or textured accents.  Bathrooms also lend themselves to neutral palettes and you can create an absolute stunner by harmonising the main elements (floors, walls, window frames, cabinetry, baths and basins) with interesting extras like mirrors, framed artwork, shelving, feature lighting, a stool or chair if you have space, as well as textured towels and other bathroom accessories.  Timber furniture, whether built-in or free-standing and whether painted or raw, is always a stand-out feature of a balanced monochromatic interior.

As you can see, monochromatic does not mean one colour, used throughout a room.  In the world of interior decorating, it means adapting and extending the palette to create a beautifully balanced and harmonious space which is eminently liveable.

At Coast Homes, we also create beautiful spaces which are eminently liveable and we’d love to show you around one of our custom-built display homes in Perth so you can experience what we believe is the ‘Coast magic’.  Please pop in – we look forward to meeting you.