Colours combinations (I): monochromatic colours scheme


When talking about decoration, one of the key aspects is the colour. And the fact is that choosing colours to decorate a room is exciting but it also can become an authentic headache.

The goal of this post is to help you in this task.

A bit of theory: the chromatic circle

Let’s start by the beginning. The origin of this theory is in the chromatic circle:


In order not to dwell too much on this, we will say that primary colours (red, yellow and blue) are those that cannot be obtained from the mixture of others. On the other hand, we obtain secondary colours (orange, purple and green), by mixing the primary among themselves. The tertiary ones appear when we mix a primary with a secondary colour. This allows us to obtain an infinite chromatic variety: red-orange, blue-green, pistachio green, etc.

If we look at the diameter of this circle, we can see that it divides the colors according to the sensations that produce in those who look at them. On one hand the warm ones, who spread positivity and create welcoming, intimate and stimulating environments. On the other hand the cold ones, transmitting passivity, relaxation, purity and freshness. And there are also the neutral colours (white, black and grey) transmitting neutrality and calm.

Now the question is: how to combine them for decoration? Now we are going to see how useful the chromatic circle can be. There are five basic techniques and today we are going to explain the first one, which is based on the use of a single color.

In practice: monochromatic combination

It consists of using a single color base and its nuances.

Advantage: it is an almost safe choice and creates sober and classy atmospheres, conveying stability, serenity and tranquility. It is ideal to give the role to other elements, like a coffee table, a lamp or a picture. The problem (and the reason why it is “almost” safe) is that if we do not choose the right tones, it can be visually monotonous. The basic rule is to space the use of intense colors.

If we choose this option, we can avoid the risk of falling into monotony in different ways:

1. Using different textures. Some tips to consider:

• A glass table or a shiny surface makes an interesting contrast with the warmth of a carpet, upholstery or curtains.

• We can contrast textures through the use of different types of fabrics. For example, if we combine velvet with gauze we will lighten the velvet’s visual weight, obtaining a balanced combination.
• Bear in mind that light affects colors and textures, changing their appearance. Shiny surfaces reflect light and opaque absorb it. The same colour may seem lighter on a water-based painted wall than on a carpet or rough upholstery.
• Shadows tend to emphasize the texture, so if you want to use a much textured wall coating the best option is to use it near a window instead of on the opposite wall, since the shadows created by indirect light will help to enhance the texture.

2. Another way to break this visual monotony is to use shades of the same color, for example: extra light blue and dark blue.

At the same time, this can solve also optical proportions. For example, if we want to reduce the feeling that gives us a very high ceiling, we may use paint it on the same color as the wall or even use a darker tone.

Another option is to interrupt the color of the wall at a certain height and continue from there with the color of the roof. In this case, if we put a moulding on the wall, it would be a good idea that it is in the same colour than the walls or ceiling, or a darker tone.

If the problem is that we have a low ceiling, we have two options: use a lighter color on the ceiling or using vertical stripes on the walls. There are several options: wooden panels, paper stripes, etc.

3. Another idea to liven up a monochromatic combination is to add small touches of colour through prints, pillows or decorative accessories.

In upcoming posts, we will see that there are other color schemes that are based on combinations of complementary or analogous colors. But until then, what do you think of the monochrome? Would you choose it or do you have already chosen it to decorate your home? Do not hesitate to comment!