Active Home : One-Colour Decorating

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Active Home : One-Colour Decorating

For some people, choosing a colour palette when designing a new room can cause them to break out in hives. For others, it’s the best part of decorating. Your colour choices are something that you’re going to have to live with for awhile, so you want them to be pleasing on all levels.

If you find yourself in the stressful category, I have a simple solution – choose just one colour. It’s one of the easiest ways to design a room, and get a polished, designer look without having to colour coordinate.

Although I call it one-colour decorating, there is a second element – white. With only one colour in a room, the absence of colour actually acts as a colour to the eye. So if you choose shades of green, you’re going to pair it with white, or blue with white, or even black with white – you get the picture.

“The coloured items need to be the same depth of intensity in order to achieve a graphic look.” – Cobi Ladner

To orchestrate this concept, there are a few tricks. The coloured items need to be the same depth of intensity in order to achieve a graphic look. They can be different shades, but they need to be of equal strength. Using different tones of one colour in a room is another great look, but it creates a softer, tonal ambiance than what I’m describing.

One of the most versatile things about one-colour decorating, is that it allows you the opportunity to add an accent colour for special occasions or changing seasons with the addition of fresh flowers, fruit or textiles. For example, you could add a lime green throw, along with a bowl of green apples to a blue and white room for summer. And then come fall, you could swap it out for an orange throw and a pot of orange mums.

This look is conducive to any space, but it works well in bath and powder rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, halls, porches and sunrooms. I find that many clients prefer a softer look, with more textiles and tonal values, when it comes to their bedrooms and living rooms. However, that’s not to say that you can’t use this graphic influence in any room – there are no rights and wrongs when it comes to decorating.

Unless you choose a very pale colour, the look that is achieved from one-colour decorating is lively, polished, sharp and fun. When you layer colours, the objective is to create a more restful, serene environment. Designers use this technique to add punch to a room, and you’ll notice that they’ll often showcase this idea when working with hard surfaces that are found in kitchens, bathrooms and hallways.

Add a one-two punch to a ho-hum room in your house by using white as the backdrop, and then adding your favourite colour.


Cobi Ladner is the Editorial Director of RENO & DECOR magazine, and the owner of Cobistyle.


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