“Black and white is the salt and pepper of colours, for life tastes bland without them” – Vikrmn
I do love this quotation. It is the perfect metaphor for why monochrome tones of black, white and grey is the ideal choice for the home.
In this month’s blog I am going to tell you why I use monochrome in my designs and how to embrace it in your own home. Going monochromatic will make for a compelling argument, I promise…..
As any fan of Scandinavian décor will tell you, using tones of black, white and every shade of grey in between is key to a chic yet relaxed and cohesive style at home.
To be monochromatic simply means to use variations of a single colour or hue. So for example, if we take grey as our base colour and alter the saturation or brightness of that colour we will get a variety of shades ranging from white to black. If we are using just that one base colour it will effectively create a harmonious unity.
Colour can have a huge impact on us psychologically. Red ignites passion. green reflects tranquillity. Blue can bring about sadness. However, black or white can evoke a wide range of emotions. Black can be moody and dark as well as elegant and the pinnacle of sophistication (Remember Audrey Hepburn in that little black dress from Breakfast at Tiffany’s). White, on the other hand, can be seen as empty and sterile but at the same time it is reflective and restorative. These are the only two colours that can draw such a contrast of emotions. This is probably why black and / or white is known to go with anything. It can go with any other colour. It can go with any other style. This is the main reason for the Wildfox Home product range being available predominately in simple tones of black, white and grey. IT WILL GO WITH ANYTHING ELSE IN YOUR HOME!
Monochrome is a style so commonly used in Scandinavian décor. It is timeless yet contemporary, chic yet casual. But does using homeware accessories in monochrome tones bring about limitations and restrictions? Well, no actually. If anything, it does the opposite. It allows you the freedom to mix old and new décor pieces. Simple and cheap décor objects can look and feel more expensive by using this colour scheme. For example. You have a treasured art print to put on the wall. Pop it in a black frame with a white mount and Wow - it instantly looks more interesting and sophisticated. Put a few prints into black frames and suddenly you have a seamless and cohesive look.
A simple print in a black frame adds sophiscation
Take our black and white bone china mug with its contemporary shape as another example. Use this in conjunction with that traditional mustard yellow teapot you inherited from your Granny and voila! A happy pairing. One will completely compliment the other and vice versa. Makes you think doesn’t it?
The colour tones of black and white enjoy a romantic love affair. I’m going to refer to the Wildfox Home product range to make my point.
I use an expanse of white for the background or base on many of my home ware product designs. I then use black or dark grey on the actual design to command attention. I want to get the simple message of the design across and this is achieved effectively by using the darker hue as a direct contrast against the crisp clean white.
Think of black and white photography. It remains as popular today as it always has. The absence of colour on the photograph somehow makes the image appear deeper, it feels timeless. It is more open to interpretation as you have not been influenced by an array of colours. To quote Jason Peterson “Black and white photography erases time from the equation”. See? Black and white has and will always be classic!
Monochrome can definitely work across many styles without being overpowering. By simply pairing monochrome with natural materials such as wood, hessian or wool to the scheme you start to achieve the popular rustic Scandinavian look. Using bright coloured metals such as copper or brass paired with stripes or geometric patterns can help to achieve a contemporary finish.
What do you think of black and white décor? Are you ready to embrace the monochrome? Leave your comments below.