50 Shades of Grey in Interior Design

There are many shades of Grey, how do you use them in your interior to best effect?

Interesting fact before I go further: have you noticed that there are two spellings of Grey/Gray? Which is correct? Like many words in the English language, it is a geographical distinction.

Gray is how it’s spelled in the US

Grey is how it’s spelt in the UK

New Zealand and Australia generally follow the UK spelling – Grey.

The color Grey is an unemotional colour. From a colour psychology perspective, Grey is the colour of compromise – being neither black nor white. The closer Grey gets to black, the more dramatic and mysterious it becomes. The closer it gets to silver or white, the more illuminating and lively it becomes.

How can you use Grey in your interior? Grey has a steadying effect on other colours with which it comes into contact, toning down the stronger and brighter colours and illuminating the softer colours. Have you noticed in the Resene colour charts that a Grey isolating card is usually included?  This is done so that you can more clearly see the colour, without it being tainted by surrounding colours.

Rarely is Grey a perfect mix of black and white – it often has elements of other colours such as blue, green, pink, mauve or yellow within it which lift and energize it.

Grey is a wonderful base colour palette that makes other colours shine. Don’t be concerned about Grey being a cool colour if you are wanting a warm palette. Using a warm based Grey and using warm accent colours will provide a serene interior with warmth and style.

Key considerations for using Grey in your interior:

  • Dark or light? Look at the difference in the photo above; the interior shown predominantly uses dark Grey, with quite a depressing effect. The photo below uses a softer, lighter touch of Grey, resulting in a serene, elegant space.
  • Warm or cool toned? This will affect the accents you use and the mood reflected.
  • Balance – how much Grey are you going to use? Will it be an accent or the main colour? If it is an accent you can afford to use a darker colour. If it is the main colour then you will want to keep it lighter.
  • Texture – the use of texture and sheen level will also effect how dominant the Grey is.
  • Room use – is the room a peaceful room? If so, a soft Grey will be ideal.  Is it a room for creativity? Then a small amount of Grey could be used but you would need to also use more vibrant, stimulating colours.

The Grey palette provides wonderful range of options for your interior and doesn’t need to be a depressing colour. Grey can be used as the basis of a soft neutral scheme or it can be used to dramatic affect.

Nicola Manning Design



Phone 09 523-0106, 0274405091