Guest Post: Shades of Grey

In this week’s guest post, Michele Wheeler, vice president of architecture and design for Denton House Design Studio, talks about going grey — at home!
Move over brown, tan and taupe! For several years now, grey has been one of the most popular colors for exterior and interior finishes, and it continues to be the color our clients request most often.
There are many shades of grey to choose from, and it can be difficult to select the perfect hue for your space. If you’re ready to go grey and don’t know where to begin, start by evaluating the undertones in your home’s current color palette. Is your color scheme cool or warm? Do you see mostly blue, purple or green undertones? Once you identify those undertones, you’ll be able to pick a grey that will work best in your space.

 Photo courtesy Coco+Kelley If you’ve chosen a blue-based grey (which most people do), you’ve landed on a cool undertone. Now you’ll just need to decide if you want to go dark or light. Dark, cool greys in this category can be very dramatic, whereas lighter shades are more forgiving. For interiors, cool hues work best in rooms that receive direct sunlight. It’s easy for a grey space to feel cold; to avoid this, warm up the space with natural woods, warm metals and other complementary hues. Photo courtesy Houzz If you’ve picked a purple-based grey, you’ve selected a variation with warm undertones. While these shades are not typically recommended by designers (most woods have orange or red tones that tend to clash with purple-based greys), they can create a sense of romance and sophistication when paired with the right colors and finishes, like bold blacks and whites, metallics, and other complementary colors. Photo courtesy Design*SpongePhoto courtesy Design*Sponge If you’ve chosen a green-based grey, also known as “greige” (a favorite hue among designers), you’ve selected a shade with warm undertones. Green-grey hues are very welcoming and livable, are usually the most neutral of all greys, and complement a wide range of wood tones and other colors. When selecting a green-based grey for interiors, think of the shade as a neutral backdrop—it’s the perfect base to build upon. Photo courtesy Brunch at Saks Once you’ve landed on your undertone, get a little bit of inspiration before heading out to buy paint. Look online at websites like Houzz and Pinterest to see how grey paint has been used in interior spaces. Select a few of your favorite color options before you head to the wall of swatches at your local hardware or paint store!  I’m a fan of Benjamin Moore paints; their website allows you to view your selected paint color in a room, as well as additional shades (and complementary hues) within that color family. While you’re on the Benjamin Moore website, take a look at some of my favorite, no-fail grey hues. Maybe one of them will prove to be just what you’re looking for! Want a few additional designer tips before going grey? Bring your grey to life with accent colors that complement your undertone. My favorites are turquoise, emerald green (Pantone’s 2013 color of the year), yellow, red and white. Know that the best greys don’t always look as appealing on a color chip as they will on your walls. Always test your paint swatches on the wall before fully committing.


Photo courtesy All The Kings Houses

Now all that’s left is to pick your perfect shade, stock up on painting supplies and get ready to take the plunge!

Categories: Interior Designers