For some time now grey has been the colour of choice for interior and exterior finishes, stone benchtops, bathroom tiles, fabrics and even timber floors that are engineered with a grey base. Grey has been and always will be a classic and elegant choice. In my opinion grey works best when partnered with black or white and then with a strong accent colour, maybe a pop of yellow for warmth, or a touch of indigo blue to add a sense of calm.
Having said this have we taken this trend towards grey too far? If I open another home décor magazine and look at another interior that is basically 50 shades of grey I might as well give up and go home! (only joking I do love my job), but seriously everything in good measure. Don’t get me wrong grey has it’s place in a design. It’s a colour that recedes into the background. Our eye is not drawn to it, and for certain applications this is a good thing as it let’s our feature pieces in our designs shine. However if you don’t balance grey well with other colours, textures, or materials that do come to the forefront you could end up with a very depressing and underwhelming space. Colour psychologists have been quoted to say that grey is the only colour that doesn’t hold any positive psychological properties, and they’ve even gone so far as to say that over time it can be an energy draining colour. I think this is the case only when it’s used incorrectly.
So for all you grey lovers out there here are my top 5 tips on how to use this classic colour, in your home without turning your beautiful space into a depressing cave:
- If using grey for you main paint colour, then consider a yellow based grey rather than blue based. This will provide you with a warmer (less cold and depressing) base colour to build the rest of your design around.
- Add in generous amounts of any of the following colours: white, taupe, black, or any off-white that you are drawn to. This will balance the grey and help either ground or freshen up your design.
- Don’t use too much grey in areas where children are active and play or in home offices that needs to inspire. As grey doesn’t really support good energy levels it’s better to use it in smaller amounts.
- Mix in bright accent colours, textural materials and metallic surfaces to add depth and interest.
- Finally break up the grey with fabulous patterns in your artwork, rugs, cushions, or accent chairs (preferably not all at the same time!). This again creates a focal point and lets the grey be the back drop.
Check out this interview with a colour psychologist on the psychological impacts of grey. It’s fascinating to understand how colour can impact our general wellbeing. And whilst I think some of the comments in here are quite extreme you can’t ignore that feeling and energy that some colours seem to evoke in us: http://www.thedesignsheppard.com/interviews/using-grey-in-interiors