When did people really and truly understand how incredibly beautiful and transformative decorating a home with grey could be? It may have been right around the time that the now-famous 2010 Oprah interview with J. Crew creative chief Jenna Lyons aired. With a collective gasp that was heard around the professional and wannabe interior design worlds, Lyons’s Park Slope Brooklyn brownstone home exploded in wonder across the screens of design lovers around the world. Folks watched in awed, stunned silence as images of Lyons’s home danced across the screen, salivating from the sight of all of the chevron prints, the pops of bright color and the luscious, glorious myriad shades of grey that draped the walls and furnishings in the brownstone from top to bottom. From the dark and dusky deep grey of the master bedroom walls to the lightest of light grey walls of the living room that were practically giving off sunshine, they were so bright.
Decorating With Grey: In or Out?
A grey contemporary rug anchors furniture, fabrics and walls in several shades of grey in fashion designer Monique Lhuillier’s study in her Bel Air home designed by Jennie Abbott in which each room is in shades of grey. Image courtesy Elle Decor.
A grey geometric rug adds energy to Monique Lhuillier’s living room which has many shades of grey ranging from the pale grey of the walls to the dark grey of the sofa. A white bench and white ceiling add contrast and make the room look well lit. Image courtesy Elle Decor.
Natural light streams in through the arched windows and makes the greys and whites shimmer. Zebra striped pillows add a graphic pattern that contrasts with the subtle geometry of the rug. Image courtesy Elle Decor.
The grey theme is continued in the dining room with pale grey floor, medium grey walls, dark grey dining chairs and a medium grey contemporary rug. White arched doorway, white trim and a white circular ceiling light fixture provide crisp contrast. Image courtesy Elle Decor.
It’s been a few years, and in that time, decorating with grey is no longer seen as the shocking, out-of-the-ordinary design choice that it once was. The interesting thing about decorating with grey is that although it burst onto the scene in what was seen as a trendy design choice, the color shouldn’t be written off as trendy. In fact, grey has officially been given permanent residency status as a member of the neutral color family. The color’s ascendency from prison wall shade to belle of the design ball has been swift and permanent. In other words, the color is here to stay.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when decorating with grey:
Grey comes in many different shades. If you don’t have a particular preference, experiment with several of them. British paint company Farrow & Ball practically has the market cornered when it comes to grey paint hues.
Don’t assume that greys are only for people with contemporary tastes. Many grey paint colors have vintage origins. Farrow & Ball’s Blackened paint color is made to simulate the color of vintage, London walls that went from white to grey thanks to the continuous use of candles. This means that many grey colors would work beautifully in more traditionally designed homes.
Grey can be soft and soothing or bold and energizing. Keep that in mind when choosing your shades.
If you’re looking for paint colors with a little more oomph than white walls, but you like the neutrality that white brings, give grey paint a try. Grey is a neutral, so treat it as such. You probably love the way that white goes with any color, but the same can be said for grey. Grey and pink, grey and turquoise, grey and orange…the list goes on and on. Above, Monique Lhuillier’s home is just one example of the various grey shades used in her Bel Air home designed by Jennie Abbott.
Decorate With Grey Furnishings and Accessories
Beverly Hills home designed by L.A.-based Burnham Design has filled the home with soft, luxurious furnishings, including this purple-grey sofa, white and purple ikat pillow and a blue-grey geometric rug.
Decorating with grey shouldn’t be relegated to just paint. Grey accessories and furnishings have also come into their own, and they are filling rooms with thrillingly beautiful style.
Grey accessories like rugs, sofas, armchairs and drapes can add drama or bring a peaceful vibe to a room. For drama, pair them with bright colors (as in the abstract painting in the Burnham designed living room above), and link them with more neutral colors for a serene, laid-back vibe.
Play around with different textures when choosing your grey accents. Burnham mixes velvet sofa fabric, with a wool loop textured rug, porcelain lamps and bowls, wood coffee table and polished metal bowl to name just a few.