Our designer Laura Hur heads to Denmark and is dazzled by their mastery of monochrome. Read her tips to steal the look.
We asked designer Laura Hur to tell us what design tricks she learned from her trip to Denmark. We’ll let her share her thoughts on color post-vacation.
A recent trip to Copenhagen provided me with enough color inspiration to last a lifetime
Copenhagen is a city full of effortlessly cool beauty, which can be seen in the architecture, design, and fashion of its inhabitants. This aloof-yet-stylish approach extends into Danish interiors, in part thanks to a very controlled and measured application of color: subdued neutrals, layers of tone-on-tone colors, various shades of grey, and the occasional bold accent color. Here’s how I recommend stealing the Dane’s wisdom and inject their color strategy into your space.
Photos: Norman Copenhagen flagship store in Copenhagen, Fall 2017
A monochromatic space done right is instantly sophisticated and chic. It’s a fail-safe—similar to wearing all black in New York. But beware, a monochromatic space done wrong can feel especially dull.
Before I get into the details on how to nail a monochromatic space, there are a few key terms you should know when discussing color:
1. HUE: Another word for color. For instance, the hue in the photos above is yellow.
2. CHROMA: Think of chroma as saturation. It is a word used to describe the intensity of a color.
3. VALUE: A term that describes the lightness (tint) or darkness (shade) of a color.
OK, now here’s the takeaway for a successful monochromatic space…..
ONE COLOR, MULTIPLE MATERIALS
This photo, taken at the Norman Copenhagen flagship showroom, reflects a trend that I saw throughout the city: spreading one hue across various objects in a space. This technique is really powerful when used correctly, and provides a three dimensional experience of one color (as seen in throughout the Norman Copenhagen images). Notice that the upholstery is the same hue as the wall color. Each row of chairs uses a different material and is a different value of the same color—the darkest being the bottom row of chairs, and the lightest being the top row. It’s simple, but the diversity in materials and color value keeps things interesting.
TEXTURE, TEXTURE, TEXTURE
There is essentially no such thing as too much texture in a monochromatic space. This photo, taken at The Standard Copenhagen, shows one color, grey, on three different surfaces (rug, sofa, wall), each with its own sensory profile. The back wall also has grey undertones, completing the monochromatic nook. Every material has unique properties and will react differently to light, meaning that the same color will look different across a variety of materials, and this my friends, leads to anything but a boring space!
ADD SOME BLING…
Double the impact of one hue by adding a reflective material, special lighting, or mirrors. In the iconic stairway of the Norman Copenhagen store, only the carpet and ceiling are gold—but the whole space glows because the mirrors on either side of the stairs infinitely expand the hue’s reach. The ceiling lighting casts a warm gold glow, which is also reflected in the mirrors and as well as the reflective surface at the top of the stairs. A little bling goes a long way!
THE POWER OF THE POP
If you like the idea of a restrained color palette, but aren’t ready to commit to a fully monochrome space, consider going mostly monochrome, but with a few noteworthy exceptions. You can throw in some bold pops of a contrasting color to liven up your sophisticated and saturated space. I saw a lot of grey-green interiors with pops of pink (green and pink for the win—always!), and loved the way the Norman Copenhagen store broke up the intense gold scheme with jewel tones and terrazzo.