One of the first steps in designing a space is deciding what the color palette should be. You can opt for an array of pretty shades, or you can keep things daringly simple by zeroing in on a single color or color family. Choosing a monochromatic palette could be the easiest option, as there are no worries about mixing and matching various tones. All you have to do is curate a collection of similarly colored pieces— how hard could that possibly be? But anyone who’s designed a monochromatic room knows the task is deceptively challenging. One erroneous hue can throw off the balance of an entire room.
Monochromatic rooms demand precision. If you’re sticking with one color, you have to nail it exactly—which can be incredibly hard to do when sourcing pieces from different places. Color families can be just as hard to manage. Snag a warmer tone when you intended to score a cooler one, and you’ve upended your entire aesthetic. With obstacles so abundant, why would someone bother curating a monochromatic space at all? The answer is simple: because monochromatic rooms, when done right, are absolutely stunning. Every single-color space begins with a daring decision and ends looking incredibly bold. No detail goes overlooked, as it might spoil the harmony of the room. A task that demanding requires tons of discipline. But when you pull it off, you end up with something truly special—and undeniably impressive.
Layers of Color
Layering art over wallpaper may be a bold move, but it’s also a great way to reinforce your palette. Select pieces with pops of the color you’re hoping to fill your space with, and let the wallpaper handle the rest.
If the color you’ve chosen is neutral-adjacent, take advantage. It should be easy for you to find furniture that fits within the same family if you’re willing to open your palette up to a small range of shades.
All White Everything
Often, when we think of designing monochromatic spaces, we envision rich colors or vibrant shades. But neutrals like whites, blacks, and browns can be just as enticing. This dining room makes full use of the color white, showing how you can decorate with it from floor to ceiling without leaving your space feeling bare.
A great way to expand your palette while keeping things constrained? Zero in on a range of shades in a color family. The variety of blues in this world is immense, but that doesn’t mean you have to decorate with everything from aqua to navy. Instead, you can start with royal blue and venture out a couple of shades. The result will be a space that feels sleek but veritably textured.
Pops of Vibrance
A color can be prominent in your space without being the only color in the room. If your shade of choice is particularly vibrant, consider using furniture and decor to create echoes of it throughout the space. If the rest of the room is neutral, your monochromatic palette should still shine through.
The way you decorate a single wall can define the rest of your space—especially if you’re blessed with high ceilings. By coordinating your wall with your furniture, decor, and lighting fixtures, you can create a monochromatic effect from floor to ceiling.
Go All In
Vibrant colors can be intimidating to decorate with, but there’s no need to shy away from them. You’ve already made the bold choice to curate a monochromatic space—why not go all in? Diluting a shade just a little can make it more manageable for mainstays like walls and couches. Be a little daring with your wall decor, carpet, and throw pillows.
If you’re hoping to curate a clear palette using only accent pieces, consider sticking to one shade of one color. You want your pops of color to feel harmonious, and the more similar they are to each other, the more likely you are to get the balance you’re looking for.
Narrowing your palette to two core shades can be an excellent way to fill your space with color, especially if one of those shades is light and the other is dark. The tones can work together to add variety to the space, while keeping it veritably monochromatic.
When color is consistent, texture can play a bigger role in your decor scheme. Focus on mixing and matching tactile pieces from the same color family: Leather, velvet, and rattan are a (somewhat surprising) match made in heaven.
When you choose to curate a monochromatic room, you get to decide exactly what space feels like. Most kitchens are bright and vibrant, but yours can be as cozy and counterintuitive as you want it to be.
Tonal Focal Points
The astounding thing about this dining room? There are two different shades in the space—one light and one dark. Each shade appears only once. But these accents are significant enough to leave the room feeling monochromatic. The point: If curating a collection of small matching objects sounds tedious to you, don’t sweat it. Select a couple of focal points to serve as beacons of color, and watch as your room is transformed.
Shades of Warmth
Even liberal interpretations of the phrase “color family” can leave you a space that feels monochromatic. (This palette, for example, ranges from vibrant yellows to dark burgundies—with plenty of golds and rusts in between.) If you’re tempted to expand your tint range, consider choosing a single focal color and using the adjacent shades as accents. This can keep your space feeling grounded while giving you a little room to play.
Filling a room with layers of the same color is only one way to do monochromatic decor. The other way is to go minimalist: Pare down your stuff, and keep it the same crisp shade of white. You’ll end up with a space that feels good to be in. (And your budget will thank you for your restraint).
Coordinating your wallpaper and your throw pillows is an easy way to reinforce a palette—one that doesn’t require you to get rid of furniture you already own. If your wallpaper has a little tonal texture in it, try to echo that in your accent pieces. Match your throw pillows to your wallpaper, instead of matching them to each other.
Monochromatic rooms are bold, but that doesn’t mean the colors they’re based on have to be. If you prefer a more muted palette, opt for a subtle shade and use it to define your space.
Prints on Prints
Mixing and matching prints is hard to do, especially within a monochromatic palette. If you want to attempt this daring feat, consider pairing prints of similar sizes and densities. The typical advice is to pair larger prints with smaller patterns, but you’ll get more of that sleek, monochromatic homogeneity from more similar prints.
It’s hard to decorate an entire room with the same shade of the same color. But if you select a color that’s easy to find consistently—like white—you can actually pull it off with some ease.
Black is a challenging color to decorate with in any capacity, and it’s a particularly bold shade to choose for a monochromatic scheme. But there are some spaces that lend themselves well to the color’s sleek, sophisticated, and cozy energy—think home offices, lounges, and anywhere with a fireplace.
In many ways, this room has no color scheme. In other ways, it has an obvious one: green. Remember that plants have the potential to transform the palette of a space, especially if the bulk of the room is neutral. (And no, your dedication to greenery doesn’t need to be this immense for your plants to have an impact.)
The monochromatic decor space feels largely crisp, careful, and thoroughly considered. But there’s plenty of space for more maximalist, almost-haphazard interpretations of the trend. Collect interesting objects from the same color family and try combining them. Planning ahead isn’t always a necessity—especially if you don’t mind a more loosely curated space.
Shades of Gray
Sometimes, you can create a single-color palette using the two shades that constitute that color. Here, black and white work in tandem to create a space that feels gray, offering the sleek appeal of monochromatism—plus the texture of a more varied space.