Strictly speaking, the term monochrome refers to an interior scheme that contains only white and black. Though in practice what it generally refers to is a room that has been decorated using various tones of a single colour. So for example a white and purple or white navy room would now probably be considered monochrome.
The creation of a successful monochrome space relies on two things- balance and discipline. The balancing of the dark and light tones that intend to use is crucial if you want a strong and even theme. Too much of one colour would result will a weak and unremarkable finish. Discipline is required throughout the entirety of the design and makeover because at all times you must remain focused on what you are trying to achieve- monochrome is something of an all or nothing style- cannot get mislead by the nice green settee you’ve just seen or the golden throw. Remember, it’s monochrome not manychrome!
Before embarking on your sepia adventure, it is wise to clarify to yourself just what you are trying to achieve. What style of monochrome do you want to recreate? Do you want to go modern and minimal, using only pure white and jet black to recreate the graphic Mary Quant 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.
Once you’re set on your style, you can 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 and provide a framework for choosing furniture.
I know what you’re thinking- “Thank god there aren’t three colours!” though it may seem a little daunting, getting all of the big decisions over with early then sticking to them with absolute rigidity will actually make things a lot easier when it comes to the actual decorating.
When deciding on art, black and white cityscapes can be particularly effect due to their linear make up and shadows. But you could also include charcoal or pen and ink drawings or even have some of your own family snaps blown up and printed out in greyscale.
There are no set guidelines when it comes to monochrome décor, but try to be sensible when choosing your dark and light areas. Floors should be dark to counteract heavy traffic and walls are better left light so as not to shrink the room. Dark window dressings (i.e. ready made curtains, vertical blinds etc) are generally more eye catching then lighter ones as they create a nice contrast to the natural light coming in. When it comes to furniture and accessories it’s really whatever suits your preference but I would definitely advice contrasting the two, for example, light cushions on dark couches or dark ornaments on light side cabinets.
The beauty of a monochrome scheme is its ability to transcend fashion fads. Black and white will never date so you can be sure that your efforts will be rewarded with a by a scheme that lasts a long time.