How To Decorate With Grey

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Grey decor has become a popular, stylish trend for interior design. Find out how you can use grey to create a chic new look for your home.

Why Choose Grey Home Design?

When you think of a grey color scheme, do you imagine something dull and drab? Surprisingly, that doesn't have to be the case. Here's why:

  • New shades of grey: Gone are the days when grey was just a mixture of black and white in varying degrees. Today's grey tones are sophisticated, interesting and can even carry some warmth. Subtle hints of other colors, such as brown, blue, green or yellow are blended into the new grey shades to produce complex tones that draw the eye in and hold the viewer's attention for a modern, sophisticated effect.
  • Stress relief: Think of the way a grey, quiet sky makes you feel. For most people, grey has a calming, tranquil effect. The clean, balanced look of a grey decorating scheme helps create a peaceful retreat for de-stressing from this fast-paced world.
  • Neutrality: Classic grey and all the new grey shades are considered neutrals that will compliment any color scheme you've already established in your home. Additionally, decorating with neutral shades makes your home more attractive to potential buyers when you're ready to relocate.

Grey Furniture Ideas

An easy way to bring grey into your home design is with your furniture. Try a few of these grey pieces or transform an entire room:

  • Tables, dressers and other wooden pieces: Paint them grey or strip and refinish them in a pale, pickled grey tone.
  • Chairs: Paint or refinish, or for a quick change just add a grey seat cushion or throw.
  • Sofas: Try light grey for a clean, fresh look or a darker shade for a more dramatic statement. To introduce grey to an existing sofa, try a grey slipcover, throw or accent pillows.
  • Beds: Grey is just right for beautiful, restful beds. You might choose patterned bedding that uses a number of different grey tones, or experiment with a variety of fabric textures. Coordinate your bedroom look by painting your headboard to match your bedding or add some colorful accent pillows if you'd like a less monochromatic look.

how to decorate with grey

Working with Walls of Grey

Grey walls bring a quiet open feeling to any room with these simple guidelines:

  • If you'd like to paint all the walls of a room grey, a light to mid-tone shade works without overwhelming the space.
  • Dark, strong grey shades are also appropriate for wall covering, but work best for coloring one accent wall rather than full room coverage.
  • For a cool, calming room choose a shade of grey paint with a touch of green or blue pigment.
  • For a peaceful, warmer atmosphere choose a shade of grey paint with a touch of brown, pink or yellow.

Grey Floor Décor

A cool grey floor adds space and sophistication to your room. The new polished concrete flooring provides a sleek, modern look that you can warm up with an area rug if desired. If a brand new floor isn't in your decorating budget, consider refinishing your floor with a pickled grey finish, painting your floor or topping it with grey area rugs or wall-to-wall carpet.

Grey Ceilings?

If you'd like a grey ceiling, choose your shade carefully. A grey that is too dark or cool might make you feel like it's always a rainy day. Look for slightly warmer tones, and you might want to consider a ceiling that's a shade or two lighter than your walls, particularly if the room is small.

Tips For Working with Grey

If you're excited about decorating with grey, but this color scheme is brand new for you, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • For rooms that don't have much natural light, warmer shades of grey work better than cooler ones.
  • Rooms with lots of natural light take on a bright serenity with cool grey shades, particularly blue-grey tones.
  • Aged wood furniture sometimes takes on a gorgeous natural grey patina. Check out garage sales and thrift shops for unique vintage pieces.
  • Grey isn't an all or nothing commitment. A few pops of color such as sunny yellows, pumpkin orange or lime green bring a playful feeling to your room without sacrificing its calm atmosphere. Warm, earthy colors such as cream, ivory, chocolate or coffee also look great with grey and soften the overall statement.
  • Choosing soft or sheer fabrics in grey tones adds romance to an already serene look.
  • Cool grey shades are more challenging to work with than warmer ones, and can result in an institutional look if you aren't experienced. Warm olive, khaki and brown-toned variations of grey are perfect for beginners.

Lots of decorators and designers are realizing grey is well worth a second look. With its versatile palette of restful warm and cool hues, it may be just right for your home too.

Last Updated: June 20, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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