It’s vibrant yet subtle, its widely used, but never the same, it’s on trend but here to stay… what is it? It’s Grey.
As it is theoretically not considered a colour, Grey is too often considered just a variety of Black and White, a lighter or darker shade of either; and yes, it can be! However, by adding to it a measured hint of any other primary colour (yellow, red and blue), Grey can offer a subtle suggestion of the colour desired without the force of its full vibrancy, because whether light or dark, Grey is able to introduce colour, any colour, without going ‘disco’. And unlike the famously titled book, there are actually many more colours available for you to use in your home than just 50 shades of grey!
All images in this page from DULUX.COM.AU
Thanks to these properties of colour-possibilities and calm, Grey is a favourite and possibly the most commonly used ‘colour’ in the world of Interior Design. In its light tints, Grey can bounce light around and offer a seemingly more spacious and fresher environment. In its darker shades, Grey helps your rooms stand out with elegance and personality, providing the perfect backdrop allowing everything else to contrast against it.
In either case, light or dark, Grey is an elegant choice that fits perfectly with both classic and contemporary styling. And thanks to its ability to express hints of any colour, Grey is able to support any mood you wish for your room. So, as it comes in many more than just 50 shades, to choose the right Grey, here are a few quick tips:
First take note of how large a room is and how much lights enters it; this will help you prefer a lighter (to add the impression of space and brightness) or darker choice (for a stronger statement).
Then consider if you wish for a cool or warm effect and choose a colour that you know might help you achieve it. A hint of this one is all you need to add to the right Grey, be it a blue based grey, green based or maybe even brown, like a donkey coloured grey.
Make sure it works on location! Paint largish samples (approx. 500x500mm) on the actual walls to see how strongly that drop of colour speaks in the furnished or external environment, and do this on both the south and northern walls to really see how the colours works in different light.
Like any other colour, Grey might look quite different when painted on a wall from the sample swatch you had in your hands when you choose it first. To avoid unpleasant surprises, I select my colours from large size swatches first, choosing a few of them.
For external walls, I take these swatches outside and look at them in the bright light: they look much lighter now, and a few shades darker may actually be better to achieve the result I want. For interiors, I place the swatches on the walls of the room to be painted; the amount of light there will give me a truer idea of what the colour chosen will actually look and feel like, and I might indeed only need half its strength. For both outdoors and indoors I then purchase sample tins of the colours chosen and brush on the destination walls, two coats, creating a large enough swatch of 50x50cm minimum, possibly right next to a door jamb, or a window frame, to see how it looks against the trim. Waiting for these swatches to dry and then standing a few steps away, I can then honestly judge how the colours chosen respond to the environment they are going to be.
Remember, painting a whole house or even a just a room is an investment of both money and time, so a little preparation to ensure the colours are just right is always advised. As colour is so emotive, it’s better to be sure before your commit, than having to live with colours that don’t work… getting it right can add great value to your home, as well as lifting your spirits every day.
All images in this page from DULUX.COM.AU
A Treble of Tips:
Remember that a touch of blue makes it cool, brown (red+yellow) makes it warmer, while green (yellow+blue) makes it fresh.
Go lightly when adding colour to your grey, as the hues in the furnishing and styling will make the reds and greens you add, seem that much stronger.
Painting the door and window frames in a complimentary white is a great way of making the subtle hues of Grey stand out by contrast. BUT remember that there are warm and cool whites as well, so like will usually go better with like.
The variations of grey in the images of this page I have created thanks to Dulux helpful website Inspiration pages, where you can choose an image, personalise it with colours of your choice and save it to compare. Try it yourself at DULUX.COM.AU.
James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from: Interior Design For Profit is now available online.