Mind-bending monochrome

Monochrome's having a moment as the leading catwalk trend for walls, furniture and floors in 2014, reports Barbara Chandler
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That old black-and-white magic: monochrome is a key feature of the Ralph Lauren collection for spring, shown here at New York Fashion Week

Fashion and interiors are having a mono moment, with stark geometrics appearing on walls, floors, fabrics and frocks. The trend Vogue calls "mind-bending monochrome" was seen at design fairs in London and Paris.

Adding black to white rooms gives them an edgy style that's bang up to date. Black-and-white china on a white cloth looks chic; add a few black pillows and a faux mink black throw to your white sheet, or stand a black vase full of white tulips on a black shelf.

New patterns for curtains, blinds, wallpapers, cushions and rugs reference black-and-white photos, fonts and type, and pen-and-ink drawings. Cow and zebra hides are another source of inspiration. These fresh, clean designs work with splashes of colour, so throw in bright primaries or flashes of neon.

Sally Chamley of online boutique Black Orchid Interiors goes for the "modern" Art Deco look. She says: "Use black with glossy lacquer and mirrored surfaces for instant glamour." For this effect, stick to symmetrical arrangements and bring in metallics and texture, rather than other colours. Sally uses no more than 20 per cent black in an all-white room.

In period homes, a black leather chesterfield could sit in front of a wall of white panelling. Geometrics fit in well - shop for wallcoverings in black, white and silver. Finish with white cushions with black piping or borders for a look that's very Chanel. To soften the effect, simply add softer greys.

Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux, suggests giving a piece of furniture the shiny black lacquer treatment using the paint giant's Made by Me classic black super-gloss enamel. 

But she warns black on walls leaps towards you in a room. "Break it up with pictures, mirrors or a bookcase." Paint is a good finish for wooden floors. Cheaper than sanding and sealing, it's surprisingly robust. A matt black floor is chic, while white reflects a wash of light into the room.

Create a cool kitchen with white shiny lacquer cupboards and two or three doors in black. And you can't go wrong with an all-white bathroom. Add a touch of drama with black storage, a framed mirror, a black-and-white blind and black bath towels. 


Monochrome moment: White leather chesterfield, £1,200; Denver side table in black leather, £560; Denver coffee table, £980. Arboreum table lamp, £62. All from House of Fraser


Poles apart: Pastoe Totem storage from Viaduct, Clerkenwell, designed by Vincent Van Duysen, £3,980.34. Available in 45cm x 45cm units, heights from 44cm to 206cm (viaduct.co.uk; 020 7278 8456)


Left: Harlequin Momentum upholstery in Ezra, left, £60 a metre; Tessellate, £48 a metre. Wallpaper from left: Trellis, £82 a roll; People, Links and Leaf, all £57; Trellis (as above); People (as above) 0845 123 6805 harlequin.uk.com Right: Arne Jacobsen Design Letter bed linen, £92 at Skandivis (skandivis.co.uk)


Balancing act: Vertigo Wallpaper, £66 a roll at Ferm Living (ferm living.com). Call +45 (0) 7022 7523 


The lighter side: Mogg Chez Philippe high wooden side table, £1,670 from Go Modern (gomodern.co.uk; 020 7731 9540)


Classic combination: Basalt Collection range, from £18.50 to £60, by Nick Munro (nickmunro.com; 01244 401 736)


Mesmerising: Jazz Age Marlene rug from £661 a sq metre at topfloorrugs.com, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour (020 7795 3333)

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