Home Living

Shades of Grey – the colour of grown-up homes

Shades of grey - the colour of grown-up homes

Grey is everywhere, fashion, interiors, cars, dogs, hair – it’s sophisticated and the perfect neutral backdrop for spot colours which pop against it like magic. When I shot this beautiful house where we stayed for easter I was enchanted by the shades of grey in the living room with my mini Schnauzer laid centre-stage soaking up the sun. Having already posted about growing my silver strands out in Grey Gal  I thought I should follow up with a selection of interiors to inspire grown-up decorating.

What is a grown-up decorating? Well it’s the kind that you see in glossy magazines, the ones you aspire to when everything is freshly painted, tidy and co-ordinated, the kind where you can just sit back, relax and not spot anything that needs your attention. It’s a dream really – so don’t beat yourself up about it if you still have coca-cola splashes up the walls. The perfect finish of the house we were staying in is beyond most of us (even empty-nesters) so my grey selection has been chosen with ‘real’ homes in mind.


Both of these bedrooms ooze style and calm, one uses rich and dark tones, the other a mix of paler neutrals. They’ve both got those all-important colour pops with pink florals in one room and bright yellow in the other. It’s a simple and easy look to copy – but the walls must be matt!



Grey can look stark and institutional in a bathroom. It needs a bit of warmth and wood does this very well – I love the sensuality this picture evokes of oak underfoot and the feint scent of logs.


Personally I think kitchens need to be light and airy and I love the pale dove greys in this space. Grey is an incredibly versatile palette with a colour spectrum which ranges from cool blue, through neutral and into warm putty tones. This would be quite a different room in clinical white, but the softest of greys on the walls combined with the limestone floor creates a misty, early morning freshness with echoes of beach and driftwood.

Living Room

I had to include my own lounge here and show off my polished plaster feature wall. Having fallen in love with the finish and realising that my Victorian wall was in no condition to accept paint I decided to learn the art of Italian plastering. I signed up for a weekend course with Hawk and Trowel in Brighton and came away with enough knowledge and enthusiasm to apply it in the bathroom, dining room, kitchen and finally here in the lounge. This is the best result because the grey has real depth and I was brave enough to make it darker than the other rooms. It’s not a quick process which is why it’s so expensive to get it done by a professional. It is applied in five thin layers, three of which are marmorino plaster; the final layer is polished with a super-shiny trowel to give a silky, lustre finish which looks like marble on the walls. As you can see I’ve gone for a solid grey carpet and spots of fuchsia pink to bring the whole together. My next job is to re-upholster that sofa in – you’ve guessed it, another shade of grey.


Dining Room

I put this picture in because it has the kind of shabby eclectic mix that I think make for ‘real’ interiors. It also shows how good grey is at covering up a multitude of sins. It makes easy work of blending in this less than perfect brick wall.


I wanted to include an image of planting against grey and this one is perfect – the subtle shades of slate, granite and stained wood form a wonderful neutral canvas for structural plants. Of course it really just echoes nature’s overcast skies and rocky outcrops but re-created as a contemporary garden it is simply stunning.

If you’re looking for more grown-up interior inspiration take a look at 10 Home Improvement tips for Empty Nesters.
Avril x

Thanks to houzz.com for images, click on any photo for more details.