Interior Design Meets Fashion: Up-Grade Monochrome

Adele Shotton-Pugh | Updated

Monochrome, or black and white, colour schemes aren't exactly new, but they are becoming a increasingly more popular these days as minimalist interior design catches on with a growing number of people. Obviously, it's a simple colour scheme, but making it come together and more importantly, come alive, is a little more of a challenge than a lot of people might suppose.

Striking a Balance

There's more to creating an attractive look based largely on just two colours than just making sure that the walls, furniture and other items in the room are black or white. In order to look good, you need to create a balance between black and white throughout the room, particularly with accent pieces and small pieces of furniture like side tables and shelving.

For example, a small black wall mounted bookcase with a decorative vase (in a colour other than black or white, for a little splash of colour contrast) looks great against what is otherwise a dull, blank looking white wall. Prints (they don't have to be monochrome themselves, although some artistic black and white photography is a natural choice) and black, white or red ceramic pieces are good ways to complete a monochrome colour scheme in living rooms.

You can also use your window treatments to add to the theme, perhaps with a pair of long black curtains or wooden blinds in dark natural shades or of course, painted black. Alternatively if the rest of the room is black and white brightly coloured teal or lime green curtains can provide an instant up-grade and change the dynamics of the room.


Before you decide on exactly what kind of furniture and what kinds of fabric to incorporate into your new monochrome décor, you need to think about two things. The first is what kind of style you're going for. Monochrome colour schemes work well with everything from French provincial and shabby chic to Art Deco all the way through to minimalist modern styles.

The other is texture; you can provide textural contrast to add visual interest either through the fabrics you choose or if you're going for antique furniture with a more ornate style, your furniture can do this as well.

Colour (Besides Black and White)

Even though you've decided to go with the monochrome look, it doesn't mean that you can't add a little colour to the room. However, you'll want to keep things simple here – you definitely don't want to overload an otherwise black and white room with accents in clashing colours. Choose one or two colours, to give your look an up-grade, but try to keep it to that otherwise you could end up working against your own decorating choices!

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