Black, White and all the Shades of Gray
We had so much fun designing the Teen Bedroom Suite at the 2017 Pasadena Showcase House of Design. More than 30,000+ guests toured the house and saw our monochromatic bedroom design in person. If you missed it, below are my best tips to successfully design a room using black, white and all the shades of gray in between.
1. Don’t take a “black and white” color palette too literally.
A successful monochromatic design is more than just black and white. It’s about expanding the color palette and using the shades in between that gives the design it’s depth, balance and personality.
2. Great natural light is a must.
Large windows not only deliver much needed light to a room, they also break up and soften the amount of dark walls that are actually in the room. This allows for the drama of dark walls and the perfect canvas to balance the space with white moldings and lighter furnishings.
3. Don’t be afraid to go too dark on your walls!
Dark walls are dramatic and sophisticated. Keep in mind, you won’t have four solid dark walls. There are windows, doors, halls and wood trims to bring in light and break up the eye.
4. Layer and alternate your contrasting colors
Mix it up so everything can be seen! A cream headboard and chaise are against the dark walls. A dark desk is paired with a light chair. The sunroom’s neutral sofa and chairs have dark and colorful accent pillows and side tables.
5. Repeat patterns and textures in different shades for a cohesive look
The bedding, with seven different fabrics/patterns/textures/colors, sets the stage for the multiple shades of gray that are repeated throughout the suite The lush fur pillow shams are echoed in the sunroom’s fluffy area rug. Plaids can be seen on a bolster pillow and as a closet wallcovering. The bedroom’s grasscloth texture is carried over into the sunroom with black sisal carpet. The white Mongolian fur throw on the chaise is repeated in the sunroom with a black fur pillow. The cast iron legs on the window bench are also on the side chair legs.
6. The right window coverings and placement are key
When possible, extend your window covering past the window frame so you don’t lose any of your natural light when the drapes are open. And remember, light filters through fabrics and can change colors and/or shade a space. A good example is the cut linen Roman shades in the sunroom that filters the afternoon sun but still keeps the room bright and inviting.
7. Touches of shimmer with warm metals go a long way
The bedroom ceiling has a hint of shimmer. The fireplace mirror pulls in flickers of light and the brushed bronze screen softens the opening. Nailheads are used on the headboard and chaise lounge. All the lighting is warmed with various metals giving off a soft glow in the evening.
8. Artwork adds personality
I utilized art for pops of color and to carry thru the theme of our Rock Glam suite and give personality to the rooms. Art helps move the eye around the space as well as soften the dark walls. The rose sculptures flanking the windows bring balance to the room. The cream canvases are unexpected and warm.