How to Use Tone on Tone in the Bedroom


You may have heard of monochrome decorating schemes, or decorating using one color. But tone on tone takes the idea of decorating in one color and refines it. The style uses different shades, tones and textures in more precise ways. The essence of tone on tone color is taking a certain color and using slightly different saturations of that color throughout the space, resulting in a refined look that makes tone on tone in the bedroom a good choice.

Where tone on tone differentiates itself from monochrome design is that it may use more than one color to achieve its style. What results is a classy look that’s great for anyone who would like to stay within one or a few color families because they simply love those colors.

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Tone on Tone in the Bedroom Different Shades

A lighter tan headboard against a deeper tan wall keeps the elements separate from each other while still maintaining the overall color scheme. Image: Ownby Design

Different Tones are Key

The first step in using tone on tone in the bedroom is to consider the lightness and darkness of different colors. For instance, it’s common in the bedroom space to use tone on tone in a headboard against a wall, as in the photo above. The wall may have a slightly deeper tone than a lighter headboard, for instance. In that way, the headboard matches the wall nicely, while not totally blending into it.

Bedding can also have different shades or tones of the base color, as can rugs, drapery and wall art. It all combines to create plenty of visual interest in the room. In that way, you can use one color family without the space looking dull or uninspired.

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Tone on Tone in the Bedroom Wall Texture

The texturing on the wall creates some visual interest in this one-color space. Image: Leighton Design Group

Think Texture

Tone on tone in the bedroom doesn’t stop with just the tone itself, however. Another key aspect of this style is using texture. By using texture, you can keep close to the same shade without making the room look too uniform. For instance, textured walls are a popular choice for getting that visual interest into a space. The texture is highly noticeable as it surrounds the whole space. Textured carpeting or rugs can also have a similar effect.

A great attribute of this look is that the texture can be as bold or subtle as you want it to be. The photo above takes a more subtle approach in the texturing on the walls and carpeting. It also shows that tone on tone can veer more into a monochrome style if you choose to stick close to one shade. There can be some overlap between tone on tone and monochrome styles.

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Tone on Tone in the Bedroom Burgundy Headboard

A dark red headboard creates a barrier between the wall and bedding for some visual interest. Image: Chantel Elshout

Add Punches of Other Colors to Separate Different Shades

Tone on tone doesn’t always mean monochrome. So don’t be afraid to add shots of a different color to visually separate tones from each other for more visual interest. For instance, a headboard with a highly saturated color can break up the tones between the wall and the bedding.

The photo above makes wonderful use of a burgundy headboard to visually separate the light gray bedding and dark gray wall. You might also try the same idea with blanket throws on the bed or throw pillows. Another idea is to use wall art with a different shade to add visual interest to a large, single-colored wall space.

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Tone on Tone in the Bedroom Contrast Paint

Different paint finishes can add both texture and geometric interest. Image: Maurizio Pellizzoni

Try for Different Types of Finish

Another option for tone on tone in the bedroom is to focus on different types of paint finish. That way, you can get the different texture in a fun and creative way. For instance, the wall in the photo above went for circles of black high gloss paint over a matte black paint. The funky, fun geometric style that results is the essence of tone on tone: using different textures to play around with one color family. What you get is the illusion of a lighter black against a darker black by using different paint finishes alone.

The space above also shows a tone on tone style in the bedroom that makes use of multiple shades. The white linens on the bed match the chair, making the color work across the space for a more cohesive feel.

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Tone on Tone in the Bedroom Focal Point

Textured geometric elements like these drapes create a strong focal point, which keeps the style from looking too flat. Image: Drew McGukin Interiors 

Use Visual Anchors for Tone on Tone in the Bedroom

Another hallmark of the tone on tone style is adding focal points or visual anchors, meaning something that draws the eye. That element can be what the rest of the space is organized around. Having one element that draws the eye keeps the space from looking too flat.

An easy way to create a visual anchor is to incorporate texture into a major fixture in the room. As in the photo above, it’s popular in bedrooms to find visually bold curtains that add geometric texture. Curtains are naturally a large piece of the room, so they work well as a focal point. Other popular choices are the bedding or headboard.

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