“I love the idea of using monochrome in my new home, but I’d like to introduce colour. How do I get a similar look without using black and white?”

Black and white is a striking combination, and one that never seems to go out of style. Decorating with this crisp, clean colour palette is guaranteed to make a statement, and create an elegant feel in almost any home.

But if you’re worried black and white will look too stark, why not try softening the look using similar, more versatile, colour pairings?

Here, we explore how to achieve a monochrome effect using more subtle shades, toning down the drama without compromising its appeal.

Toning down black and white, just a fraction, makes it feel more palatable without losing its graphic punch

1) Charcoal and soft white paint colours

There’s something very absolute about black and white, which is why toning it down, just a fraction, makes it feel more palatable without losing its graphic punch. Team with brightly coloured accessories for a pleasing contrast to lift the look.

Which paints? Starlit Night 2, Morning Jewel 5

Choose navy as an elegant substitute for black Dulux paint - it adds depth to your decorating scheme without looking overwhelming

2) Navy blue and soft blue/grey paint colours

Blue and white is a classic, fail-safe colour combination, but swapping out white for a soft blue-grey hue will add a sophisticated note to your scheme. Choose navy as an elegant substitute for black, adding depth to your scheme without overwhelming the look.

Keep white woodwork glossy where possible – it will really stand out against the deep blue walls.

Which paints? Royal Regatta 4, Amazon Beat 6, Holiday Blues 5

Dark grey Dulux paint is an elegant choice, and will give a restful feel to your home when matched with a lighter shade.

3) Dark grey on grey

Pale grey has become popular in recent years as a versatile alternative to white and cream paint colours. At the other end of the spectrum, dark grey is an elegant choice, and will give a restful feel to your home when matched with a lighter shade. And because grey doesn’t draw the eye, it’s the perfect backdrop for statement furniture.

Which paints? Steel Symphony 2, Steel Symphony 4

Green is generally viewed as a tranquil colour, so it works well in spaces where you want to feel relaxed

4) Dark green and pastel green Dulux colours

Deep, muted green paired with a delicate pastel shade will create a feeling of freshness in your scheme, and is an excellent way to bring a sense of the outdoors inside. Green is generally viewed as a tranquil colour, so it works well in spaces where you want to feel relaxed.

Which paints? Dublin Bay 1, Expresso Delight 6 , Atlantic Surf 5

Pairing warm taupe with a crisp shade of white is a fail-safe way to achieve a chic look in your new home

5) Taupe and white

Pairing warm taupe with a crisp shade of white is a fail-safe way to achieve a chic wall decor in your new home, particularly if you’re nervous about using bolder colours. Keep the look relaxed with neutral accessories in tactile fabrics to add interest to the scheme.

Which paints? Starlit Night 4, Moon Waves 5

Top tip

Add interest to a darker scheme by introducing mirrors to play with perspective and bounce light around your room.