The Essential Guide to Going Monochrome at Home

Updated 06/19/15

Monochrome is one of Australian interior stylist, Steve Cordony's all-time favourite trends. Actually, it's not really a “trend” anymore at all; it’s more a “style” that’s timeless, practical, and here to stay. Although the classic beauty of black and white has been around forever, it’s really evolved in recent years to become the basis for so many amazing interiors. The “Hamptons” and “New York glam” are just some of the many variations that now come under the überchic black-and-white umbrella. While monochrome is mostly all about black, white, and grey (which is perfect for those who struggle with colour), stylists are now including accents of brass, gold, raw timber, or marble that really take it to the next level.

Layering and texture are huge parts for any interior, but even more so within a monochromatic scheme. Forgoing colour means you can use lots of contrasting materials. We love chunky Belgium linens, grass cloth, jute, leather, and bleached-out timber. Just using flat black-and-white textures such as leather and powder-coated materials could push you into the ’80s! Similarly, keeping your palette neutral allows you to fuse different furniture styles from modernist to antique, minimal to opulent. 

Here are a few of Steve's personal styling tips for achieving the monochrome look at home.

Apparatus Studio

Layer It With Neutrals

Use “neutral” accents to layer your room against a black-and-white background. Gold, aged brass, grass cloth, jute, and marble are great textural elements.

West Elm Marble Oval Coffee Table $599
Shop

West Elm Marble Oval Coffee Table ($599)

Flack Studio

Create a Base to Work From

White, black, or grey walls or floors, neutral-coloured sofas, and armchairs are a great base to build your interior around.

Restoration Hardware Aldrich Slipcovered Sofa $3595
Shop

Restoration Hardware Aldrich Slipcovered Sofa ($3595)

Joseph Dirand

Use Tonal Variation for Depth

Forgoing colour doesn’t have to mean a dull interior. Use tonal variation in your palette to give depth to your space. Mix soft grays with darker-tone grays and charcoals that contrast perfectly with whites.

Milo Baughamn 1188 Chair in Leather $1550
Shop

Milo Baughamn 1188 Chair in Leather ($1550)

Steve Cordony

Bring It to Life With Indoor Plants

Use greenery to bring life into your interior. Indoor plants have never been more fashionable, and green, black, and white is the perfect colour combination!

West Elm Iris planter and chevron stand $$139-189
Shop

West Elm Iris Planter and Chevron Stand ($139-189)

Lukas Machnik

Mix Eras and Be Eclectic

A restrictive colour palette allows you to be bold and eclectic by mixing pieces from different eras. A modernist chair can sit perfectly next to an antique table.

Jonathan Adler Double ‘X’ bench $1095 from Jonathon Adler $1095
Shop
Steve Cordony

Don’t Follow the Rules

Break the rules and very subtly accent with one hero colour, whether it is with books, flowers, or artwork.

Giamattista Valli Cire Trudon Rose Poivree Candle $105
Shop

Giamattista Valli Cire Trudon Rose Poivree Candle ($105)

Steve Cordony

Accessories Are Key

Cushions, rugs, and throws are the perfect accessories to introduce graphic motifs to your décor. Think about bold stripes, chevron, herringbone, and tribal patterns to create graphic interest.

ABC Home Textured Wool Rug $770
Shop

ABC Home Textured Wool Rug ($770)

Steve Cordony

Use a Variety of Surface Types

Think about your material finishes and surfaces as they can add depth to your space. Matte white walls contrast perfectly with gloss black floors and are the perfect starting point for a chic monochromatic scheme.

Dinosaur Designs Resin Lotus Seed Vase $280
Shop

Dinosaur Designs Resin Lotus Seed Vase ($280)

James Dawson

Go for Unique Hardware

Apart from decorative accessories and furniture, think about items such as plumbing fixtures, door hardware and hooks, and the like in matte black or white. This is a huge trend we’re seeing as people move away from chrome.

Anthropologie Silver Marble Hook $28
Shop

Anthropologie Silver Marble Hook ($28 and up)

Kristofer Johnsson for Residence Magazine

Grey Is Great

Paint your walls grey. Some people think the colour is cold and dull, but choose a warm, soft tone in a flat eggshell acrylic, and this becomes the best canvas to decorate your room. I love Purbeck stone paint from Farrow & Ball. It is the perfect tone for well-lit modern rooms.

Design Within Reach Ascalon Menorah With Candles $275
Shop

Design Within Reach Ascalon Menorah With Candles ($275)
How would you style the monochrome look in your home? Share your tips below.

Related Stories