How Do You Like Your Contrast? Low- and High-Contrast Rooms to Learn From

How Do You Like Your Contrast? Low- and High-Contrast Rooms to Learn From

Eleanor Büsing
Apr 19, 2016

There are so many design elements that we look at, either consciously or unconsciously, when decorating our homes. Proportion, balance, color, texture—they all come out to play. One factor in particular that's been on my mind lately (perhaps due to those monochrome Scandi interiors we all love to pin) is contrast. Specifically, the amount of contrast between light and dark in a space and how to pull it off.

Note: contrast can of course also refer to a mix of styles or colors, but for this instance, I'm referring to a contrast of value (in art terms, the lightness and darkness) in a space. If it helps, picture taking a black-and-white photo of these rooms: how close would all the colors seem then?

Low Contrast Spaces

(Image credit: Stadshem)

Stadshem via Only Deco Love

This Scandi studio apartment is a classic low-contrast look. Sure, there are pops of black in among all the white, but they're small and evenly-scattered, leaving the overall look monochrome. Lots of texture, pattern, and variety in shapes (check the angles on those rugs!) keeps the look interesting, despite the limited palette.

I particularly love the variety of textures in this feminine, low-contrast space. We've got metals, skins, and everything in between—loads on which to feast the eyes.

Vogue Living via My Scandinavian Home

This bedroom is a dream of a space in low-contrast greys and blues. The subtle patterns at play, from the chevron floorboards to the rectangular wall panelling, keep the eye bouncing around the room.

Imperial Design House Interior Design via TBOUDesigner

Here's a pulled-back example of a large, low-contrast space with tons of interest going on: ultra-matte wall and cabinet finishes, metal accents, and plush velvets and furs.