Feeling a Bit Grey?

Traditional Home March 2010

Absolutely. If you remember, my kitchen is in three shades of grey.

Where black is the color of the fashionista, grey is a color of architects. Like black, it is a sophisticated color. And grey is the color of interior designers of late, like the two images from 2011 below.

House Beautiful, Dec./Jan. 2011

Grey is popular now a days in interiors appearing just about everywhere. But grey is classic and always seems to be present in design. It stands the test of time too. Certain popular styles almost dictate its use. Later posts will shine a light on design styles. Let us have a look and see what grey does for a space.

Traditional Home, April 2010

Where some interiors rely on bold color, others rely on the subtle tones of neutrals. Visual drama is not always about the bold use of color. The image above selected the painting as the inspiration for the space. This designer really pulled this space together perfectly. The drapes have the same colors and depth of color as the painting. It is all about the feel.

The image below has the lighting playing with the color of the space. Yes, there is contrast between elements, but the floor and walls read a little differently to me. The wall appears much warmer, most likely the natural light plays on this. The grey undertone is purple and is paired with pinks accents. How much different would this space feel with furnishings that are in a grey painted Swedish antique look. Like you entered another world.

Traditional Home March 2009  Above and Below, Same Home

Most designers refer to grey as neutral. And if they do suggest a name, it is usually the haughty version of a shade, like espresso, elephant grey, graphite, mushroom grey, or earl grey.  Just look at any paint deck and see what I mean. You can certainly tell I am not an interior designer because I am being very colloquial and general in its reference.

Traditional Home, March 2009

I use grey for how it makes both me and the space feel. Both inside and outside. And the trick is not to make you feel gray or use a dictionary version of ‘cloudy and dull’, or ‘without interest or character’. Remember, you are the colors in your home. They reflect your personality and your sense of design. So make those colors read the way you intend.

House Beautiful December/January 2011

I love the sophistication and serenity of grey. It has such a worldly, yet calming appeal. I also like how it works in minimalistic design, relying and accentuating form and structure. How the use of material becomes the design itself. The image above may not have many elements, but it is a wonderful example of less being more. These are always the hardest designs to pull off successfully. And, not everyone’s cup of tea.

Want an ethereal feel and a sense of atmosphere?

Elegant Homes, Fall/Winter 2008

Make sure you have a lot of natural light fill the space, then select the color grey from the top two swatches on the paint strip. Oh, and use fabrics that are light and airy.

Elegant Homes Fall/Winter 2008

Grey lays a neutral foundation for the rest of a design and works well with almost all colors. Grey has undertones too. Like blue, green and purple. Depending on the lighting, the undertone reads more strongly, giving a different feel to the space throughout the day. That is what I find appealing about the paint choice in my kitchen.

Decor Fall/Winter 2008taupes

Take note how often grey is paired with crisp whites and barely taupe. The great thing about grey is that it works well with other neutrals too.

Because grey has such range, it can be either a cool or warm color. But I have said previously on my other blog, you must remember all colors are both warm and cool, so to speak.

Renovation Style Summer 2009

Just look at a color deck and see what I mean. By itself a color may be very warm. Just position it next to another warm color over a neutral background of 50% gray or white say, then you should be able to read the difference between the two. If you noticed, my background color changed to HEX #77777.

Side by side, one color will appear cooler than the other. I will do a post on this later, but you get the main point. Cool and warm is relative and depends on circumstance, lighting and adjacencies.

Decor Fall/Winter 2008

Decor Fall/Winter 2008

Color that brings life and fun to grey are yellow, fresh greens, oranges and pinks. Oh, in the case below, just touch of a kaleidoscope of color.

Traditional Home June/July 2008

Go analogous by combining blue and green greys together.

Traditional Home November 2009

And of course I must have and inside/outside connection image. The designer took the Seattle skyline into account when he selected the interior color palette. With such a strong view, a good designer with pay homage to and respect it in his design.

Traditional Home, March 2010

And remember the materials that you use in your garden space. Weigh the warmth and coolness of the stone and accessories against your architecture and plantings. Note the yellow planters. Yellow pops in this serene setting of grey stone and white house. A bird bath fountain in an espresso tone gives a little panache as a focal point. Its importance is further enhanced by it being enclosed with boxwood.


7 thoughts on “Feeling a Bit Grey?

  1. I love grey…both of our houses have been grey…the first had a bright red door and was a a darker grey…this house is a lighter/medium grey with a deep purple door…love the post and beautiful pics of grey

  2. Really enjoying these posts on color. I don’t thin that I would have even noticed how grey was used in the photos without your commentary. My family’s house in Maine is driftwood grey with an eggplant door. My deck here is also grey. I will have to look at them both again to see how they work.

  3. I love grey, in fact my house is grey with white trimmings and my son’s room too! Even some of my neighbours have their houses painted grey recently and sing praises for my ‘uncommon’ choice of colour in the neighbourhood! I find the colour cool and more natural and look outstanding with brighter accents. Interesting blog Donna because I love decorating too.

  4. I love the subtle elegance of the grays. The warm rooms with the warm grays, the cool grays with black. Very nice. I feel inspired to paint. My kitchen, my husband won’t thank you but I won’t tell him it was you.

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