How to Brighten a Monochrome Room

Although monochrome and black and white interiors offer a perennially popular, attractive and often very stylish interior colour scheme, some of these interiors can feel stark, cold and require some means of livening them up. No time? No money? Living in a rented accommodation?

Read on to find ways to introduce colour into monochrome / black and white interiors without (significant) redecorating. 

Paint or wallpaper one wall or part of a wall in a vivid colour or pattern

This, strictly speaking, is not an easy-to-reverse modification, but one that will immediately add a huge splash of life and colour to your blacks and whites, while maintaining a modern feel often so typical of monochrome rooms. 

Red works well in kitchens, while deep blues, jewel greens or warm oranges might be better suited to a living room. Patterned wallpaper (or even a large wall hanging) is also an option worth considering. 

Liberally use living plants and cut flowers

One of the most effective, easiest and least permanent ways to add colour. And because plants and flowers are natural, it doesn’t even feel as if they distort the dominant colour scheme. 

Living greenery not only adds a welcome touch of green colour, but is good for the mind. If you get a flowering plant or two, you will get extra colour at least some of the time. Cut flowers can be expensive, but don’t have to be – and if you have a garden or a hedgerow nearby, you can pick them yourself for an instant uplift.

In the kitchen, invest in colourful accessories and small appliances

If you have any open shelving or glass fronted cabinets, colourful items stored there can enliven the look. Pick colourful options for small appliances that are normally placed on the worktop surfaces, such as a toaster, kettle, coffee maker etc. They are not very expensive so it’s a low-risk option.


This is one of the best ways to add colour, life, interest and often class to any monochromatic interior. 

Whether linocut, woodcut or silk screen prints, visually arresting photographs or acrylic or oil paintings, art will not only add colour but character and individuality to any room. And an added bonus? It will really stand out in a monochrome room! No wonder galleries are often white.

Window treatments

Blinds or curtains can be a great vehicle for adding colour, and with curtains, you can easily have two sets in different designs, either for winter and summer (the winter ones should be lined to increase the thermal efficiency of the house) or simply for different moods or occasions. From subtle pastels or understated prints to a riot of colour, fabrics are your best colourful friend. 

Cushions and throws

Easy (sometimes too easy!) to acquire, fun to arrange, eminently comfortable and comforting to use. Where there is a sofa, there should be some scatter cushions. In a youthful room or a den, bean bags are another option. 


In the kitchen, but also a dining room, conservatory or even a living room, don’t forget the decorative potential of food. Attractively arranged bowls of fresh fruit, or a mix of nuts and (wrapped) chocolates are not just tempting to eat but can look very good too. Just don’t be too hard on your household members if they decide to eat the ornaments…


Not just for old fashioned libraries, a shelf of books or a smaller number arranged on more open shelving (maybe even according to colour, if you have enough of colourful publications) is another feature that will soften definitely, enliven and give a lived-in feeling to a stark B&W design.






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