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Contrast in Décor

Updated: May 5, 2021

Let's talk about why it is so important.

Contrast isn't just an over-forty gal's favorite part of a #nofilterneeded (but I definitely used a filter and you can tell) selfie. Contrast makes everything interesting. Like adding a slight bit of salt to a sweet dish. Contrast is visually one of the best decorating elements we have. Let's talk about why... and let's actually also talk about which elements of decor can create contrast.

"Only in the darkness, can you see the stars." ~Martin Luther King

There is a reason that quotes like this are so poignant. It illustrates contrast. It illustrates how one element enhances another. It puts into words a very special visual element that often is hard to describe. Without a pitch black sky, we would not be able to begin to see the stars.

Another super clever example of contrast is one that you may not have ever noticed. The colour wheel exists to show you very clearly that complementary colours contrast one another.

The colours are actually strategically placed on here! It's not just willy nilly. The colours that are directly across from each other contrast each other. Fun fact: Take our friends at FedEx... Ever wonder why they chose these colours for their logo? Wonder no more!


Clementine packaging? CONTRAST.

But here's another fun element of contrast. Décor and design employs it all the time. Contrast is something you bring into the mix to help take the edge off of something else. It is the yin to the yang. It is the sunshine to the rain. Good décor uses contrast without sticking it right in your face.

Below is our new en-suite bathroom that we designed and built ourselves. Chris, my fiancé, is a contractor of 15 years and his work is meticulous. We loved the way this project ended up. While it was very clean, well laid out and functional, I knew that visually, contrast was going to help round out this project. The large slick subway tile we chose for the shower contrasted with the deep grey tones in the different types of floor tiles we choice. I knew I wanted to go with a black faucet on the white sink, and I changed out the hardware on the vanity to matte black to match. the shower head and shower handle are chrome (see my blog post about mixing metals/finishes if you need some encouragement)

What I really wanted to see was some contrast. So, the black fixtures and dressings were perfect as far as colour goes, but I needed to soften the room. And I achieved that with more contrast.

Using contrast in textures and colours
Contrast in Interior Design

Wicker, soft natural grasses, an antique dresser mirror with beautiful patina, and (you can't really see it) there is a vintage leather suitcase stashed under the vanity that has some of my girly stuff in it. The huge vintage glass jug has a rusty wire for a handle, and the glass is very old and ripply. Which is nice as it recreates the feeling of water.

Contrast softens the harsh black and white, it warms the space, and it creates more visual interest than was there when we started.

Interior design contrast
Contrast In Decorating

Give it a shot! Use colour and texture to create a harmonious space. It is one of the design skills that is overlooked, and it is so easy to achieve! You've got this.

Contact me and show me or tell me about how you used contrast in your décor!

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