Guide to Monochromatic Color Schemes

Guide to Monochromatic Color Schemes

Learn how a monochromatic paint color palette creates drama and dimension—and infuses any space with style and sophistication.

Understanding the basics of color helps elevate your interiors. Here, you’ll discover how the creative combination of different shades in the same hue, known as a monochromatic color scheme, yields an elegant environment in any room.
A color wheel featuring primary and secondary colors.

Monochromatic Colors 101

What is a monochromatic color scheme? Simply put, it’s a palette that involves a single hue, and an excellent way to layer in color and drama. There are two distinct monochromatic styles:

  • Single Shade:
    • A single shade color scheme uses one color without any variation in hue.
    • This approach makes choosing trim color a snap, since everything will be the same color.
    • The powerful effect of a single shade can be enhanced further by using different paint sheens on your trim and moldings.
  • Multiple Shades:
    • A multiple shade color scheme uses several shades of the same hue, as well as shades with varying undertones.
    • Using multiple shades of one color softens the look of a monochromatic palette, imbuing relaxing energy into any space.
    • This approach can make a room look bigger and is ideal for enhancing small spaces.
  • Always a great resource, the color wheel is integral to interior design: Check out these highlights to see how the color wheel can help with your paint color search!

Monochromatic Color Palettes

To help you shape your own monochromatic color scheme, use these curated palettes by color family, created by our color experts.

White Paint Colors

Bring subtle dimension to your space by layering white paint colors.

Beige & Brown Paint Colors

Infuse your home with sophistication using shades of beige.

Blue Paint Colors

Build a calming space using a diverse range of blue hues.

Purple Paint Colors

Create a luxurious, romantic atmosphere with varying shades of purple.

Red Paint Colors

Add warmth into any space with a variety of pinks and reds.

A green-painted living room with green-printed couch, stone end table, glass coffee table, and bookshelves matching the walls. A green-painted living room with green-printed couch, stone end table, glass coffee table, and bookshelves matching the walls.
This saturated monochromatic study evokes the feeling of a lush jungle. Trim and doors in Rainforest Foliage 2040-10 pack a powerful punch in a high-gloss sheen, a beautiful contrast against matte walls in Amazon Moss 2037-10.
An opulent dining room with blue-painted walls and ceiling, chandelier over a large wooden dining table and chairs, fireplace, and tiger-skin rug. An opulent dining room with blue-painted walls and ceiling, chandelier over a large wooden dining table and chairs, fireplace, and tiger-skin rug.
Bold, dramatic, opulent. This Spectra Blue 2049-50 dining room showcases the power of a monochromatic color scheme. Experimenting with sheen in unexpected places, like a semi-gloss ceiling, creates a luminous look ideal for dining in style.
Taupe entryway with wooden door, wainscoting, and beige chair. Taupe entryway with wooden door, wainscoting, and beige chair.
Creating a monochromatic palette with neutral colors can be tricky, but when you get it right, the result is classic. Try mixing slightly different undertones within one hue, seen in this taupe entryway, to create a subtle contrast between shades.
Blue-gray living area with two-toned stairs, wainscoting, gray couch with yellow pillows, small cage chandelier, and wall art. Blue-gray living area with two-toned stairs, wainscoting, gray couch with yellow pillows, small cage chandelier, and wall art.
Welcome guests with a monochromatic color palette of cool grays with subtle violet undertones. Try a dual-toned staircase to bring whimsy to a sophisticated space.

This entryway is painted in Feather Gray 2127-60 and Pike’s Peak Gray 2127-50, both from Color Preview®, a color collection that ranges from bright and vibrant, to more subtle versions of the same hues. Use Color Preview as a helpful resource to create monochromatic color schemes in your space!
Two-toned sitting area with one blue wall in front and one green, wooden bench, vase with branches, and paintings propped against the back wall. Two-toned sitting area with one blue wall in front and one green, wooden bench, vase with branches, and paintings propped against the back wall.
Using two monochromatic color schemes in one room creates a contemporary color blocking effect. Here, a living area is broken into separate spaces using two distinct hues. Trim and wall in the same color family is a clever way to bring a unique spin to monochromatic color schemes.
Kitchen with white walls and black trim, white island counters with beige stools, golden overhead lighting, and various kitchen utensils.

Layered Whites

White paint color may not be your first thought when thinking about monochromatic colors. However, layering whites brings dimension and texture to a room, creating a crisp, clean setting. Playing with white in the kitchen is a great choice given the amount of different surfaces in that space.

Ready to test out a monochromatic color scheme of your own? Use our Color a Room tool to see Benjamin Moore paint colors on rooms in our room portfolio, or check out the Benjamin Moore Color Portfolio® app to test out paint colors on images from your home.
Two-tone wall painted in Subtle AF-310 and Sea Life 2118-40 framed by a black fireplace.

Warm & Cool Colors

Discover how warm and cool paint colors impact your space.

LEARN MORE
Woman inspecting various paint swatches.

How to Choose Interior Paint Color

Learn from the experts on how to select colors you'll love.

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