Nuances de gris

Let’s face it, I couldn’t bring myself to call this post Shades of Grey, so I chose the French and more sophisticated way. A lovely friend of mine asked me to write a post on grey palettes and so here we are; a short blog post on picking the shade of grey that is right for your home.
There is quite a large selection of grey tones and shades on the market. In the last five years or so, grey has been the “it” colour. It still is very popular but it has also matured and there are many more facets to its identity. This makes it extremely difficult to determine exactly which tone or shade is right for you. Everyone’s home is different – the use of space, direction in which it faces, style etc. This means one grey tone doesn’t fit all. For example, I used Farrow and Ball’s Ammonite in my family room because the area is north facing, so it needs to be brighter to make up for the lack of direct sunlight. Rooms with that are south facing, however, can afford to use a darker and warmer tone. Below is an example of Farrow and Ball’s Ammonite in the afternoon and also under artificial light. You can really notice the difference in tone in both situations.

Grey can be quite sophisticated when used on its own. It also looks striking when combined with other hues. But how do you choose the right shade? You might like a neutral grey, white-grey, blue-grey, green-grey, pink-grey….you see where I am going. I’ll make a few suggestions.
This grey sitting room is an example of grey sophistication but needs careful planning. Source:theminimalistnyc.com

Firstly look at the surrounding decor and palette. If you have bolder or brighter coloured furniture and decoration, you should opt for a light to medium tone. If you have quite light neutral colours, try for a medium to dark colour or you will risk the end result looking washed out.
So what about the shade? If you opt for a traditional and neutral grey and want to paint a large area, think about breaking this up with a splash of colour. It could be through a different coloured feature wall (using paint or wallpaper) or even contrast with a different tone of grey. Or, you could introduce the colour through your soft furnishings or decoration to bring the space to life. Here are some examples:
Example of a teal feature wall alongside a light grey wall and accented with teal and yellow                                                             Source: Pinterest

Example of a dark grey feature wall matched with a lighter grey wall.                               Source:Pinterest

Here’s another slant, choose a grey which has a touch of green or blue or pink or purple or even taupe. It doesn’t have to be too bold, but a touch of ‘special something’ can really transform a room. Here are some examples of the different shades:

A relaxed purple-grey provides for a sumptuous bedroom                                     Source: Mcmurray

A beautiful green-grey works well in this relaxed Swedish apartment  Source:sadecor.co.za

This blue-grey mid-century modern lounge looks homely when combined with a pop of yellow                                                   Source: Pinterest

This pink-grey looks effective when combined with metallics and neutrals                              Source: Farrow and Ball

This taupe-grey feature wall looks lovely in this neutral coloured bedroom with light grey walls and grey wood furniture. This is a stunning rustic look.                                                                            Source: decorpad.com

Finally, my last tip is to pick two to four colours which you like and buy the samples. Then, paint large sheets of white plaster board with each sample and take the time to place them individually in the area where you wish to paint. Seeing the colours on a larger area gives you a better feel compared to a number of brush strokes on the wall. Looking at them individually, rather than all together, ensures your senses aren’t overloaded and you’re seeing each sample for its own unique character. Try to whittle it down to one and mull it over for a few days to determine whether it fits well through all hours of the day.
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Happy colour choosing!