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Publication Date: 2015-11-17

Design Insights

Expert Advice for a Successful Monochromatic Color Scheme

There's a lot to consider when choosing a color scheme for your home. Will it look good? Will it make you look good? Are you going to hate it? Are professional designers going to hate it? There are no guarantees, but one thing's for sure: Choosing a single color is certainly easier than trying to pair two (or more) together. Designer Sasha Bikoff's latest project offers proof. Here's how she nailed the monochromatic look in one Manhattan bedroom, and how you can, too.

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Photography: Patrick Cline

1. Start With the Carpet. "I like to set the tone of the color palette for a room with the carpet," Bikoff says. "You can deconstruct the colors in the carpet and spread them around the room."

Photography: Patrick Cline

2. Consider the Mood. Once you have selected your ground color—in this case, an African violet found in the carpet, pillows, vanity chair, and stools—you can build a palette upon that, she says, explaining how she brought in softer complimentary colors like lavender, grey, and white: "A deeper and brighter purple is a bold statement, especially for a bedroom, but when you enter the lavender color field you get a more tranquil, calming effect. Lavender and light purples have silvery and blue tones within them that are very soothing to the mind's eye."

3. Placement is Key. Bikoff suggests using the more calming, softer shades on large surfaces like the walls and the ceiling, and saving the brighter hues for smaller, more whimsical pieces that you want to stand out. The heart-shaped vanity chairs in this space are upholstered in the same purple cashmere fabric used on the chrome and brass stools. A white dresser and neutral white bedding break up the purple colors and give your eye a break. "However, the small purple accents at the border are key to blend all of these elements together," she adds.

Photography: Patrick Cline

4. Put Your Mirrors to Work. "A mirror works especially well with colors like purple that have blue tones in them because it almost gives off a moonlit glow," Bikoff says. "When you throw in mirrored pieces, all of these colors kind of blend together in a really sparkly and glamorous way."

5. Don't Rule Out Any Hue. Bikoff, who is also a classically trained painter, believes every color has a place. "I love all color, and believe that there is a time and place and tone for each of them," she says. When it doubt, "revert to nature and see all of the different colors that look so beautiful together," she suggests.

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