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Creating a Monochrome Interior

With the resurgence of rococo and retro, monochrome is back in a big way. Though very different in style, both design periods used a monochrome colour scheme to great effect.

So, black and white- simple yes? You should be so lucky! Monochrome is a somewhat sweeping term with many subcategories and if your scheme is to be an effective and disciplined one, then you need to come to a decision on what period of design you are going to use a marker- don’t go making big furniture decisions until you have clearly defined your style. Do you want to go modern and minimal, using only pure white and jet black to recreate very graphic, classic May Quaint look? Or perhaps you are inspired by rococo style, with elaborate pattern and detail?

Alternatively, you may prefer a glamorous Art Deco feel with mirrored pieces set against a monochrome scheme. As a rule, orange used sparsely as an accent colour will lead your décor down a more 1960’s path whereas pink included as velvet curtain fabric or jewels in an ornate table lamp will help you achieve that rococo feel, so it is important to pay attention to the details.

Once decided on your style, it helps to create a mood-board by collecting black and white fabric samples along with pictures of furniture and accessories. Spread them out on the floor or on a table and separate them into different looks. Pick out your top two fabrics, one or two favourite images of furniture and accessories and decide which items you are most drawn to. This will determine your scheme. From here you can build up on the theme, adding furniture and accessories that work together and editing as you go.

When creating a monochrome scheme, good balance of the two principles is essential. This can be achieved with accessories like vases, ceramics and glass, fabrics, furniture, paint and floor coverings. Artwork is also a really simple but effective way to spread the theme, with photographic work being the most obvious type- old movie stills, historic scenes or even your only family shots treated with an aging effect create instant impact in the right surroundings.

Though it may seem to be missing the point, you don’t always have to use white or black. Slight variations in shade not only add interest but also really give an old theme a new lease of life. A very dark brown stain on a wooden floor can be used to represent black whereas an off-white floral wallpaper can be used to represent white. Whilst still maintaining the intended strength of the scheme, bending the rules ever so slightly in this way will allow you to add some warmth to an otherwise chilly look.

Remember, it is important not to overfill the interior; monochrome is a purposely simple style statement so do not let it get confused. Be selective and make sure you leave plenty of clear wall space as well as room between furniture – this will help to create a restful atmosphere.

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