Decorating with black, white and a touch of grey for an elegant Parisian feel

Black and white can completely alter the feel of a room but getting the balance right is key.

An all-white or one-tone scheme is a brave choice, as it requires careful editing and a strong design eye. This type of interior can also appear ‘flat’ if you don’t introduce texture and subtle tonal variety. But put together carefully, it’s a great way to add drama and style.

See our decorating section for more inspiration

While single tone decorating can be tricky to get right, a considered approach will be rewarded by a simple but impactful scheme. Monochrome interiors can work especially well in period homes, where a one-tone canvas serves to highlight and complement original features. But tone and texture are important – remember that the most successful monochrome interiors combine movement and depth with tactile pieces to create an interesting narrative.

1. DARK SIDE

A contemporary combination of white tiles and black painted walls, mixed with traditional fixtures and fittings means this all-monochrome scheme has a clean, up-to-date feel that will continue to look stylish for years to come. Painting your bathroom black is a brilliant way to create a cocooning space that is sharp yet cosy.

monochrome decorating

Image credit: Simon Brown

See a contemporary family home with a designer edge

2. STAND OUT

Pick a key piece of furniture and paint it black. It is as easy as that. A radiator is fairly easy to repaint when you fancy a change, so you can be brave with your colour choice

monochrome decorating

Image credit: Paul Massey

See a laid-back six-storey Georgian home in southwest London

3. SLEEPING BEAUTY

Decorating with white is a statement in its own right. White shouldn’t be seen as a default colour, only used if you’re too nervous to make more of a statement with colour. Monochrome in the bedroom is surprisingly serene as well as stylish. Try adding gorgeously soft furnishings like textured throws and contemporary cushions for a totally trendy look that will stand the test of time. You can always bring in touches of colour with accessories and linen as and when you feel like it.

monochrome room ideas

Image credit: Paul Massey

4. WARM UP

Black and white is a perfect canvas to experiment with different textures, especially in a more formal setting like a dining room. Wood is a brilliant way to stop a black-and-white scheme from looking too clinical. I always mix in organic materials from rich woods to marble to bring a natural allure to a scheme.

monochrome room ideas

Image credit: Paul Massey

5. CRISP WHITE

Choosing a white kitchen could be the best decision you’ll ever make, kitchen-wise. White cabinetry is always a best-seller, and although white is sometimes considered to be the safe option where wall colour (or lack of it!) is concerned, white cabinetry is a stylish and fashion-forward option. The usual design rules apply though, particularly where white is concerned. It’s generally acknowledged that a totally white colour scheme can look clinical, reminding us of an operating theatre rather than a warm, welcoming room that is the ‘heart of the home’. Incorporate contrasting finishes, such as natural stone or hardwood flooring – which also have textural qualities to make glossy or matt white cabinetry all the more striking when sitting alongside.

monochrome room ideas

Image credit: Paul Massey

These homes were part of our House Tours Event 10 & 11 October 2019, sponsored by Heals, Roger Oates, Thomas Sanderson and Yves Delorme.

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