Ebony and ivory

Strike a har­mo­nious chord with a clas­sic but bold look that’s al­ways in style, writes

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - STYLE -

Leg­endary French fash­ion de­signer Coco Chanel once de­clared black and white were “the per­fect har­mony”. While she was re­fer­ring to fash­ion, she could also have been talk­ing about interiors.

Ac­cord­ing to in­te­rior de­signer Gil­lianne Grif­fiths, from Stu­dio Grif­fiths, monochro­matic colour schemes tran­scend interiors trends.

“They are rest­ful and calm­ing but, most im­por­tantly, are time­less, el­e­gant and ex­tremely prac­ti­cal,” she says. “They are also one of the sim­plest in­te­rior schemes to pull to­gether — as long as you fol­low a few sim­ple de­sign rules.”

Easy does it

The ma­jor ad­van­tage of re­strict­ing your colour pal­ette is it re­duces the chances of go­ing wrong. It also al­lows you to ex­per­i­ment with pieces more freely.

“A monochro­matic scheme is very prac­ti­cal be­cause it al­lows you con­sid­er­able free­dom to ex­per­i­ment with mix­ing pieces from dif­fer­ent eras and styles in a way you wouldn’t be able to do if you were work­ing with lots of colour,” Gil­lianne says.

It is also great for those on a bud­get as in­ex­pen­sive pieces al­ways look a little more so­phis­ti­cated in black and white.

“If you are omit­ting colour, even the sim­plest pieces will look more ex­pen­sive and can sit quite har­mo­niously against more ex­pen­sive items,” Gil­lianne says.

Shades of grey

A sim­ple mis­take to make with a mono­chrome pal­ette — strange as it might sound — is to limit the colours to just black and white.

“That’s very se­vere and quite hard to look at,” Gil­lianne says.

The trick is to go with “tonal vari­a­tions” in your interiors scheme.

“This will give you the depth and the warmth in an other­wise dull space,” she says.

So, if you’re us­ing black as your start­ing point, you should also in­clude a va­ri­ety of as­so­ci­ated tones, such as char­coals and dif­fer­ent shades of grey.

“Us­ing the lighter and darker vari­a­tions of one colour cre­ates har­mony and a peace­ful, re­lax­ing feel­ing in the space,” she says.

“Whites nat­u­rally soften darker pal­ettes, so it’s all about mix­ing in as much con­trast­ing colour as you can.”

See­ing a pat­tern

If you want to make a monochro­matic pal­ette work, add pat­tern and a mix of tex­tures and tex­tiles to give the space depth.

Un­like dec­o­rat­ing with mul­ti­ple colours, us­ing black, white and greys gives you more flex­i­bil­ity to mix dif­fer­ent pat­terns, such as ge­ometrids, spots and stripes.

“They will all work beau­ti­fully to­gether in a lim­ited pal­ette, so it gives you a lot of free­dom to layer and com­bine dif­fer­ent shapes in a way you wouldn’t be able to do with colour be­cause

Nordic noir

We can partly thank the Scan­di­na­vians for the cur­rent pop­u­lar­ity in black and white interiors, says Gil­lianne.

“The in­ter­est in all things Scan­di­na­vian has def­i­nitely had an in­flu­ence,” she says. “Peo­ple are def­i­nitely grav­i­tat­ing to­wards a much sim­pler, un­clut­tered life­style, and this colour pal­ette gives you that.”

While Scandi interiors tra­di­tion­ally fea­ture lots of blond tim­bers in a mono­chrome scheme, Gil­lianne says any type of tim­ber will work.

“Scandi-in­spired interiors can be quite a young look, but adding some­thing like a slightly darker raw oak to your scheme will give you a more so­phis­ti­cated yet un­der­stated luxe feel, as well as a touch of light­ness and play­ful­ness,” she says.

The white stuff

While she will some­times paint the walls of smaller spa­ces, such as li­braries, stud­ies or pow­der rooms, in dark, moody greys, Gil­lianne

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