June 6, 2013

Grey: The New Neutral

Heidi Milton

There was a time in my home decorating journey (and it IS a journey) that I embraced bold colors on walls and on furniture.  Over the past few years, my taste for that has waned, in favor of soft neutral backgrounds with punches of color coming in my accessories (did you catch my recent guest room transformation?).  The beginning of that transition was the product of pouring over captivating images in House Beautiful, Traditional Home, and Elle Decor — images highlighting grey as the fresh neutral for home decor.

Have you ever looked at the grey paint chips at your paint or home improvement store???  The abundance of varying shades of grey — cool, warm, “greige” — can be overwhelming!  Make use of the inexpensive sample pots available — I still have a tub of them that I used to make my paint color decision when I redecorated my Mom Cave.   But being able to paint swatches on the wall and see it in different lights at various times of day and night was critical for choosing the “right” grey for me.  And those leftovers?  Perfect for smaller projects around the house or crafts.


Color Showcase, Gray Design, paint swatches, Paint, Behr, Gray, Grey
Source: design-crisis.com


I chose Behr’s Silver Sateen for both my Mom Cave and my dining room — they are adjoining rooms, but the color looks slightly different in each room due to the amount of natural light that comes in.


peaceful grey, gray, grey, color, reading nook
Remember to check your color for natural light


grey, gray, dining room makeover, tranquil neutral
Believe it or not both these rooms are done in the same shade of grey


I love how fresh the grey looks and it provides the perfect back drop for adding color through artwork, furniture, and accessories.

Here are some other inspiring ways to use grey in your home decor…

Go dark on your walls, and add in lighter grey tones in fabrics, artwork and accessories, and rugs.  The variety of shades keeps this space interesting without being too heavy.


grey, gray, dark walls, paint, decor, neutral
Source: TraditionalHome.com


Similarly, this space can carry off the darker walls due to the bright natural light and warm tans to offset the richer tones.


dining room, grey, gray, dark walls, tan, neutral, color science, decor
Source: C.B.I.D. Home Decor & Design


Or you can use a light grey on your walls and choose darker bolder greys in your upholstery fabrics, rugs, and art work.


shades of grey, gray, artwork, paint, wall color
Source: BHG.com


decorating with greys, bedroom style, grey, gray, neutral colors, wall color
Source: BHG.com


For an elegant look, layer the palest shades of grey with whites and creams and add in reflective surfaces like silver, glass, and mirrors.


Home Decor, Bedroom Decorating, Silver, White, Mirror, Gray, Grey
Source: Pinterest User Upload


Or simply vary your textures in the same shades of grey…


grey, gray, home decor, texture, neutral, color, shades of grey
Source: postcardfromparis.com


If that seems too spare, add in some warmer touches with golds, warm woods, or bamboo blinds.


add warmer touches, golds, warm woods, bamboo blinds, decor, grey, gray, shades of grey
Source: BHG.com


A creative use of grey in a kitchen or bathroom is to use different materials, like tile or stainless steel.


creative ways to use grey, gray, grey, decor, kitchen decor, bathroom, color trends
Source: artisticdesignsforliving.com


My favorite way to decorate with grey?  Light and bright with pops of fresh color…


decorate with grey, gray, color, light and bright, pops of color
Source: BHG.com


decorate with grey, gray, color, light and bright, pops of color
Source: withtwocats.com


decorate with grey, gray, color, light and bright, pops of color
Source: idoidontdesign.com


You can find more shades of grey inspiration on my Pinterest board! And, for more of my room makeovers and DIY projects visit me at Decor & More.

Now it’s your turn… Does grey in home decor delight or depress you? 🙂

Comments 2

  • Definitely delight. Great article.

  • Thanks for including one of our images from one of our recent design projects in your post! We are definitely a fan of the neutral color palette as well and love using shades of gray when it comes to selecting paint colors.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *