Another Shade of Grey: Interior Paint Color Considerations Reply

It wasn’t long ago that if a client wanted a neutral interior paint color, their choices were limited to different shades of white or beige. Color names like “ivory”, “canvas,” “off white”, and “pearl” adorned the walls of homes. Occasionally a room would be painted green, brown, blue, or yellow…but instances of grey were few and far between. Furthermore, professional designers and paint professionals were loathe to suggest or recommend a grey pallette to clients because matching grey to other colors felt like an insurmountable challenge.

My, how times have changed.

grey walls interior

Grey has become more versatile, and can even work great in a child’s room!
Image courtesy of MomToob.

In recent years, grey interior paint has seen a spike in popularity as homeowners, office managers, designers, and paint professionals each realize the undertones of grey paint make for an excellent neutral complement to most any color. If you are not considering grey as an interior color, then you are limiting the possibilities of your room, office, or building. That isn’t to say that choosing the right shade of grey is suddenly easy. Grey is a complex color and takes careful consideration to avoid turning your space into a dreary place. Here are four tips for choosing the right grey pallette for your paint project:

  1. Look and feel:  It may be common to think that grey is dull, drab, dreary, and dark, but nothing could be further from the truth! Grey is a naturally occurring color that can be found in the rocks of riverbeds and the bark of trees, the roll of the tide and the clouds of a serene sunset. Break out of the mindset that all grey paint colors are the same and represent dullness. Instead, look for inspiration around you and you’ll certainly find gorgeous shades and tones of grey most everywhere you look.
  2. Undertone and color:  True grey color is defined as a combination of white and black. In reality, most paint colors that are considered grey actually include elements of other colors. Compare and contrast different shades of grey and you will start to see tones of blue, brown, green, or pink/red in the color. The key to picking a great grey tone for your space is to consider the other colors that will be present. For example, a grey with brown undertones might look great in a room with wood stained furniture. Grey with a green undertone might look great in a sun room that has windows looking to nature outside. The undertone will tie the room together, so be sure to consider a wide range of options.
  3. Depth and darkness:  Like any other color, grey paint can come in light shades, near-black shades, and an infinite number of shades in between. A lighter shade will lend itself well to being the base color throughout an office or house, while a darker shade should likely be reserved as an accent color or kept in a specific space like a dining room or office. And as with any paint color, err on the side of a lighter shade over a darker shade. Remember that other objects, trim, and furniture in and around the space will be providing the real decor. A dark or harsh paint color can needlessly become the focal point of the room.
  4. Get extra samples:  Choosing a grey color and shade is not as common as choosing a white or beige neutral tone. Even the most experienced designers and paint professionals struggle with finding the perfect grey paint. Use more paint samples, drawdown cards, and paint fan decks when choosing a grey shade. True, you might overwhelm yourself with options. But the more time you spend considering even subtly different shades of grey, the more attuned you’ll be both now and in the future when deciding on a grey paint color.

While some might say that grey paint is a fad that will soon pass, the reality is that more and more painters and designers are expanding their creative horizons. This means that the future should be full of a wide range of neutral tones, including grey. Considering grey as a base color gives you an extraordinary number of options when painting a new space. Use the tips above to find the right shade of grey and you’ll no doubt be both surprised and elated by the results. Click here to learn more about paint color psychology and choosing the right color pallet!

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