Texture is best when designing with a monochromatic scheme.

If you are planning a white theme, incorporate shapes and patterns

If you are a follower of design trending web sites or magazines, you may have noticed that style trends are a little pale at the moment.

Waves and waves of white are jumping off every page and I can find all the light and bright a little tiresome. It seems like there is no relief for the eye when a space (especially a kitchen or bathroom) has all white fixtures, cabinets, paint and flooring.

I often look at these finished homes and say, where was the challenge in that colour scheme, but if you look closely there are often subtleties in the design plan.

Texture is the best thing to use when designing with a monochromatic scheme.

If you are working with all white, the challenge to co-ordinate all elements in the same colour is tricky so incorporating textures will help with blending all shades of pale into one harmonious room.

A white tub is not the same white as some tile, and cabinet white is quite different from quartz countertop white. It is important to add some variance in texture.

Consider how many items in the room must be hard, flat or shiny surfaces (countertops/tubs/appliances/toilets) then counterbalance those textures with a linen or brushed finish in tile and flooring.

Even if you stick with the white colours, the texture difference will catch light differently and give the eye somewhere to rest. Wallpaper and fabric are also excellent additions in a room to add softness and subtle texture without adding colour.

The old design rule is still very relevant today; create a focal point.

Choose where you want the drama in a room and place a focal point there to anchor the room and keep it from visually floating away.

You can still have a monochromatic scheme happening while you add ceiling beams, darker appliances or a dramatic patterned tile. These elements can be a darker hue to catch immediate attention or they can still fade back using whites, but their presence, shadowing and pattern will show off beautifully.

If you are planning a white theme, try to incorporate shapes and interesting patterns.

Have some depth variance in cabinet fronts or add moulded detail to hood covers and decorative edges on apron sinks. Buy a beautiful, curvy tub which will create a flowing feeling in a bathroom that is still stark white.

Choose unusually shaped tiles to counteract the hard lines and bright whites of a monochromatic, bold interior. Whenever you are attempting a monochromatic interior, be choosy about shapes, textures and visual interest otherwise you will end up with something very institutional and cold.

It is possible to have a stark white room, just be mindful to not make it all one note.

Remember that even whites can be hard to match, and that texture and shape is crucial to giving visual appeal to a monochromatic space.

Limit or mix the types of finishes from hard, flat and shiny to soft, textured and matte.

Using these combinations of design techniques will ensure you finish with a visually dramatic room that isn’t hard and cold feeling. It is all possible and if the cleaning doesn’t make you crazy, you will enjoy your bright and white room for years to come!

Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Kim Wyse Associate Royal Lepage Tamarack Trail Realty’.

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