How to Use Grey in Interior Design

Living Rooms

If you have been looking at Houzz.com lately, you may have noticed a lot of grey being using throughout current home designs. We have always been fans of the color, as it is quite versatile. Its tones can be cool or warm, allowing it to be mixed well with many other colors. We have used it within a subtle color scheme with soft spa blues and warm blue-greens; or in strong color schemes with mustard, pumpkin orange and hot pink. Grey can be serene and elegant or warm and vibrant, but it can also be gloomy if not handled properly. Here are some tips on how to include glorious grey in your home design scheme:

1) Compare the undertone of the grey you want to use when you are pairing it with another element like paint or fabric. There are green, brown, yellow, and blue undertones found within the color array, and each creates either a warm or cool feeling. We suggest you choose a grey with warm undertones to keep the color from pulling a dark look into a space.

2) If you are including a lot of grey in your space, such as in kitchen cabinetry or wall coverings, pair the color with creamy white on the ceiling. This addition will help bring light into the space, seemingly elevating the height of the space to bring a cloud-like, airy look.

3) Include reflective or sparkling materials to lighten the mood. Glass, mirrors, and metals bounce light around a space, giving a grey room a light-filled atmosphere.

closet design

4) Cool greys can be warmed by other design elements. In the closet project pictured above, we brought in rich browns through the wood flooring and blinds to soften the cool color. Sparkling light fixtures added some bling, and the light from the existing windows helped guarantee the closet would not have a cave-like feel.

Lakehouse Living Area view

Another example of how to mix warm elements with cool greys is seen in the living room project pictured above. Our client loved charcoal grey and wanted to include it in her new home. We matched the cool tones of the walls in the stone fireplace and large furniture pieces, but added warm pops of hot pink, chartreuse, magenta and white for balance. The light coming from the floor-to-ceiling windows also helped keep the room from feeling gloomy.

Living Rooms

5) Using pops of grey rather than setting it as the basis for an overall design is a lovely way to bring the color into a space. In the whole house remodel pictured above, our client wanted yellow and grey throughout the design scheme. We put yellow on the walls to keep the space lively and colorful, and included grey through many elements. A custom refrigerator door was paired with grey-based countertops in the kitchen. Grey fabric covers were used for select furniture pieces. Finally, grey floor coverings and accessories were spread throughout the home.

6) Another approach to using grey is to select multiple values of the color. Moving along the color gradient from white to black throughout a space creates contrast over the whole color scheme. For example, in a kitchen, you can mix white periphery cabinets, a grey island, black countertops, stainless steel appliances, and pale grey walls to achieve a warm, black and white look. If you are not comfortable with such a minimal color variation, add bright contrast elements for pop. However, some homeowners love the elegance and sophistication of the clean, soft look.

Have you used grey in your home’s color scheme? Let us know how it worked for you! Leave a comment, or send us an email.

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