Fifty Shades of Grey....

Not that Fifty Shades. There are far more than fifty to get your head around in this post! We're talking about decorating with Grey! There is masses of choice and its here to stay.  Its definitely the go to neutral of the moment. Every home, shop and restaurant is using it in some form, and whatever your decorating style there is a shade for all of you. No safe words needed! Just a little guidance when wading through the colour chart choice!

Now I am totally on this bandwagon, I love grey it all its shades, admittedly the darker the shade the probably more drawn I am but still I prefer it to a cream shade any day!  Apparently more to do with the introduction of LED bulbs in our homes as opposed to the old 60w style bulb, more proof its not a passing fad. So how do you choose the right shade of grey? And whats the difference between Grey and Gray? ( Purely the spelling Between the British English and American English) but I love the description of Gray...Refined, Dignified, Understated and Elegant! Sums up the shade perfectly, I need a bit of understated elegance in my life!  

So once you've made the decision to go grey you are suddenly bombarded with colours from French Grey, which is more green, to Blackened which in my opinion is very pale blue! When using grey, context is everything as it will be influenced by all the other items around it from furniture to paintings and artwork. This is why one colour can look different in one persons house to the next or even from room to room.  It can also change according to the amount of natural light in a room. Fact: the Little Greene paint Co. has 28 shades of grey and only one - Gauze, is made purely from black and white, its worth noting it isn't a bestseller! Interesting, no?

Grey can be the perfect backdrop to let your things shine.  It doesn't have to be dominant.  Jewel colours really pop in front of a grey backdrop, but equally it can be restful and calm, just by choosing the lighter end of the grey scale and layering with tones of similar colours.  Painting furniture the same colour as your wall creates a great 'layering' effect of colour and texture, adding visual interest to your room. It also hides the piece of furniture you may not be keen on anymore! Its a great trick on the eye, it almost becomes invisible.

If you're considering going grey it's probably best to test it.  In an ideal world we should probably paint  a whole wall in one colour to give us a true reflection but instead I suggest painting a large piece of paper approx. A3 in size with a generous amount of paint (you need to get the depth of colour as if you were painting the wall twice).  Tape it to the wall with low tack tape and stand back to take it in.  Move it around the room at different times of the day to see how it reacts with the natural light you get in your room.  Take in your surroundings, your sofa and window treatments and anything else that might be staying, as lets face it once you've forked out for all the sample pots, you're not gong to be replacing them anytime soon! I'm clearly referring to myself here as the sofa we bought as a 'practical choice' with triplets due (cue the amounts of projectile sick 3 babies can muster) is still with us and we keep promising ourselves a new one,  but we never quite get there!

But once you have successfully chosen your perfect shade you should give yourselves a big pat on the back! You have conquered the minefield! Grey is so difficult to choose because of the many underlying tones and the way the light affects it.  I have recently painted a bedroom in Farrow and Ball Skimming Stone for the restful very soft grey it appears to be in a friends house only to find it's very white in my room because of the amount of natural light this room gets! I can overcome this however by making this attic room a retreat.  I am going to layer it with lots of texture, from sheepskins to chunky throws and large feather scatter cushions. I'm imagining sinking into this lot with a good book! Dreaming?? Most definitely!

These images demonstrate how different the colour grey can appear in a room. Strong and masculine, feminine, whimsy, industrial....the looks go on and on, much like the colour chart choices! Good Luck! I'm off to paint some very large testers in the hope of narrowing down my choice! If all else fails paint it as dark as you dare - cosy!

As always comments and smiley faces always welcome! Feel free to share to!