Pros & Cons of Monochromatic Décor

As you may or may not already know, monochromatic decor is where one color is selected as the foundational color and any color used in the space is part of that color’s colorway. In other words, one color’s family is used on almost every surface or textile in the space. Of course, this doesn’t mean a monochromatic space has to look like someone came through with a single bucket of Color X and painted everything; rather, monochromatic décor excels in nuances of that color – a tint here, a tone there, and shades everywhere else. The effect, when done correctly, is stunning.

Monochromatic bedroom interior designView in gallery

Monochromatic grey kitchen seatingView in gallery

But is monochromatic design right for you? Below is a discussion of its pros and cons to help you figure out if this is the direction your space needs to be headed.

Monochromatic purple bedView in gallery

PROS OF MONOCHROMATIC DESIGN

Below are a few advantages of using a monochromatic color palette to guide your design decisions. If these resonate with you, you just might be on the right track with monochromatic design for your space.

Chairs with a monochromatic color paletteView in gallery

Color palette is decided for you.

If you’re on the fence about what colors “go” with other colors, a monochromatic color scheme makes this easy to figure out. Because a color family can range from white all the way to black following that color’s vein, black and white are achromatic and can be included in your monochromatic color scheme if you want.

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Colors automatically work well together.

Because they are all variations of the same hue, your monochromatic colors will look perfectly at home with one another. Monochromatic design welcomes (even requires) variations of that color, though. Mix your hue with white for lighter tints, with black for darker shades, and with greys for deeper tones.

Easy to manage decor with monochromatic colorsView in gallery

Décor is easy to manage.

When your décor choices are limited based upon the color you choose as your monochromatic foundation, this actually can make decorating easier to manage because it takes much of the guesswork out of whether or not the piece will work in your space. Your attention can turn toward incorporating depth via details such as texture, shine, shape, etc.

Easy to manage decorView in gallery

Palette is inherently balanced.

The colors themselves balance each other out in a monochromatic design. It’s up to you to balance the shades, tints, and/or tones to extract the mood you want, but that’s the fun part! You’re using one color family to create the atmosphere you want to reign in your space. Bonus: you can rest easy knowing that your space will look inherently aesthetic.

Monochromatic bathroom design with clean linesView in gallery

New design possibilities open up.

When you are laser-focused into one colorway, you’re sure to discover new possibilities of color or textural variations that you likely never considered, or even noticed, before. This in turn opens up a creative design mentality, and before you know it, you’re on your way to creating the most beautiful space you could dream up for yourself.

Geometric wallpaper pattern for bedroom in greyView in gallery

CONS OF MONOCHROMATIC DESIGN

Here are some disadvantages of opting for a monochromatic color palette. It’s helpful to recognize these before you make your decision on whether or not to decorate a monochromatic space.

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Could be seen as confining

While some people thrive on limited possibilities, others implode. Even though someone desperately loves one particular color, a monochromatic design confines the space to exclude all other colors, even those gorgeous complementary contrasts. If a person can’t get enough of slate blue and peach paired together, or poppy red with chartreuse touches, a monochromatic scheme will likely be too confining and, consequently, a poor fit.

Inherent lack of contrast furnitureView in gallery

Inherent lack of contrast

Monochromatic colors in décor are, by their very nature, lacking in color contrast. You can’t fall back on throwing in a pop of chartreuse or aqua to liven things up (unless, of course, one of those colors falls into your chosen color scheme). Monochromatic design requires more creativity than that.

Tendency toward muted, not vibrant, designView in gallery

Tendency toward muted, not vibrant, design.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it depends on your goals. But vibrancy is often determined by the level of contrast of one color to those around it. Because this isn’t easy to achieve in a monochromatic space (you need to spend your color “chits” balancing the color itself), the overall vibe of a monochromatic space tends to lean toward subtle, somber, or muted.

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Temptation to make exceptions.

You might be tempted to veer away from your monochromatic color scheme in small sections of your space. Don’t do this. Monochromatic design is a commitment that requires 100%. To change things up, remember that you’ve got many options – use darker shades, lighter tints, and greyer tones of your chosen color to open up decorating doors and enhance the depth of your space overall.

Large L shaped Grey sofaView in gallery

If you’re still interested in discovering more about monochromatic design, check out this article on incorporating the method into the bedroom.