This week we are mostly Mad About . . . Grey Paint. Grey has been a fashionable colour for a while now, by which I mean it has been largely in evidence in glossy magazines. Now that we are all used to it, it’s starting to appear in real houses, including mine!
Grey really is the perfect neutral colour. It goes with everything you can imagine and comes in so many different shades. If you’re nervous you can start pale and then as you get used to it, I guarantee you’ll want to go darker. It’s the reverse of dying your hair. The first time it’s a few highlights and then one day you discover you are completely blonde.
My sitting room is south facing so painting it grey hasn’t made it darker at all but if you have a north-facing room you will need to make sure it’s a warm grey not a cool one. It looks great in the evening with cosy table lamps and really makes any paintings or art work “pop” off the walls. Here it is:
So, how to choose your shade of grey?
The first point to remember is that yes there really are 50 Shades of Grey (well I had to get that in somewhere didn’t I?) and you can’t choose the right one from a computer screen. You really must buy a sample pot and test it on different parts of wall that receive light at different times of day.
Sarah Cole, the director of Farrow & Ball offers the following advice based on the company’s colours: “Use warm greys like Elephants Breath or Skimming Stone in north facing rooms, as blue greys like Pavilion will feel much colder than in south facing light.
“In rooms that don’t have a lot of natural light, stronger greys like Down Pipe or Plummett will create a dramatic and intimate feel.”
“Cool greys such as Cornforth White and Blackened are particularly good with stainless steel and can be used to great effect in kitchens.”
Cole adds that a feeling of airiness in grey rooms can be achieved by using two grey-base whites together such as Wimborne White and Strong White or Pavilion with Blackened.
Fans of the Scandi look should use either Pavilion Gray or Lamp Room Gray which will give you the classic Gustavian look.
Elisa Cirulli , an interior stylist based in Harrogate, who has just been nominated for the Livingetc Best Room 2012 Northern Design Award, and who has just done her own bedroom in Farrow & Ball Lamp Room Grey paint, has the following advice: “Don’t be afraid to go against the grain and use a dark colour even if the room doesn’t receive much natural light. When the walls are dark, the boundaries of a room tend to disappear, creating an illusion of infinite space.
“If a room is south-facing, try Fired Earth Antimony, which has a hint of blue that will add depth and drama while creating a sophisticated feel. Keep the woodwork and ceilings bright white for a fresh and crisp look.
“In a north-facing room try using greys with hints of yellow and brown. Playing with the different shades for walls, ceiling and skirting will create delicate contrasts and optical illusion. The key is in the accessories and artwork used to finish off the room.”
The final piece of advice she adds is that the Farrow & Ball have their own pigmentation process which means that the room changes colour according to the outside light and furniture. This does mean that liking a shade in a friend’s house doesn’t necessarily mean that the same colour will work in your own room.
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