Interior Color Schemes {part I} Monochromatic



This is going to be part of an ongoing series on interior color schemes. If there’s one thing that causes my clients to have a massive freak-fest like nothing else, it’s picking out the colors.

“That’s why we hired you, Laurel.” :]

Did you know that the human eye can differentiate some 10 MILLION different colors? Neither did I until I just looked it up. No wonder we’re freaking out! That’s a lot of choice!

Here are some helpful tips for coming up for a great palette for our interior color schemes,:

  • Look at nature. The colors of the sky, water, earth, trees, flowers in their natural form always look great together!
  • Look at fine art by artists like Rembrandt, Matisse, Monet, The dude who cut off his ear… he was great with color! Oh yeah. Van Gogh! And of course, there are many others.
  • Look at your clothes. Okay, you only wear jeans and a white tee-shirt. Blue and white are one of the most enduring and classic color schemes of them all!
  • Pick one color and work around it in its analogous colors. For instance, green, blue-green, turquoise and chartreuse.
  • You don’t have to reinvent the (color) wheel! Look at magazines and pinterest for inspiration.
  • Get professional help from an interior designer whose taste in color appeals to you.

Here’s what I would not do when picking out interior color schemes:

  • Please ignore that Pantone-Color-of-the-Year nonsense. It’s marketing BS. But you knew that already, I’m sure. :]
  • Don’t let anyone, (including me) try to talk you into liking some color you hate, just because it’s popular. (or THEY like it)
  • Don’t listen to that silly rule about having ONLY three colors in a room and no more. First of all… they aren’t including the floor which is usually brown and then there might be some white and black. Well, there are three colors right there!

Some things to keep in mind:

Chroma is the saturation or brightness of a color. If we say it has a high chroma, it means that it’s an intense color. Usually, we use these more sparingly. (unless you live in South Florida or some place like that or you just like really bright colors!) A color lacking in chroma has a lot of gray or brown in it. We usually say it’s a muted color.

Hue refers to the colors of the spectrum.

A Tint has white added in.

A Shade has black added in.

Actually, for a really great primer on color which explains it more precisely, please look here.

Today, I’d like to focus on MONOCHROMATIC color schemes. We usually associate that with grays or beiges or the popular greige and absolutely, those rooms done in those colors are monochromatic, however, the word itself means ONE COLOR, so in reality, a monochromatic color scheme is any one color used predominantly in a space. Can we give a free pass to both white and black in our color schemes? Sure. White and black go with everything and I feel in most cases, add a lot of depth depending on the mood and feel one is going for. And I guess we should add in brown as most wood floors are some shade of brown. (unless they are painted). Some of these rooms will be very neutral and some full of vivid color. A couple, I stretched the monochromatic theme a bit, but the colors are still close together.

 Harry Slatkin


Sarah Richardson

Michael S. Smith2

Michael Smith

interior color schemes

Michael Coorengel and JeanPierre Calvagrac


The next three images are rooms done by Laura Lee Clark




small version geoff chick and assoc 13

Geoff Chick above and below

small version geoff chick and assoc 4


Above and below Sarah Richardson


interior color schemes

Abigail Design Studio


Stephen Gambrel


Suzanne Kasler

interior color schemes

Rikki Snyder

michael s smith greige2

Michael Smith


source unknown


William Hefner


Salon Blanco Con Molduras


Above and below Laura Tutun


martha | interior color schemes

Martha Stewart


Tracie Ellis House


Brooke Giannetti


Leslie Klotz


Meg Braff

interior color schemes

Mark Cunningham


Looking for the perfect neutral backdrop for you interior wall colors? Check out this list of nine Benjamin Moore perfect colors that work every time. And here is my list of 20 of the best shades of white paint.

Happy May everyone!


5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern