No, this isn’t a post about the upcoming film. I have seen the trailer and it was everything I thought it would be. I do think Beyonce sounds hot though singing her new version of Crazy in Love. Anyway, moving on.
Judging from a few conversations I’ve had recently, finding the right grey has also been a complete pain in the bum for people. As one of the newest and most elegant neutrals, grey has become very popular but it’s quite difficult to find the right shade.

My first dalliance with grey proved mightily unsuccessful. In my old kitchen (which was probably the same size as your average utility room) we added white subway tiles, replaced the floor with slate and I planned to paint the walls a soft grey to provide a backdrop for all the red kitchen appliances. What I ended up with was a sickly lilac colour after a mishap with the dulux paint mixer. The name escapes me unfortunately but as I watched the tints squirt into the tin I noticed a particularly large dollop of red paint go in, hence the purple undertones.

That’s the thing about grey. They are actually very few truly grey paints out there, most have another note in there. For example B&Q’s Light Rain has a very blue undertone. I’ve used it on some of my lounge furniture as you can see above and it has a very cool appearance. I’ve used F&B Elephant’s Breath in my dining room and can report it takes on a greige tone in some lights and a purplish hue in another.

I’m going mention a few paints I’m aware of if you’re looking for a grey-grey(!) but I would love to hear about your experiences. All of these shades are UK based so no more mentions of Behrs or Glidden’s paints that are impossible to find in Blighty.

Dulux Night Jewels 3

I used this in my old bathroom and loved it. It was a modern new-build with no windows so I thought why bother to fight the lack of light and instead went down the charcoal grey route. The shades at the lower end of the Night Jewels spectrum are rich and deep. In some lights you will pick up a very dark blue undertone though with but it still manages to have a intimate persona rather than a cold one. Helen used this in her bedroom in her One-Bed Cluster Home and it looks stunning with white accents.

Farrow & Ball Cornforth White

If anyone ever asks me to recommend a pale grey I will always suggest F&B’s Cornforth White. I haven’t used it myself but a few years ago I was bowled over by a friend’s nursery painted in the same shade. In Danielle Moss’ lounge it looks really crisp, fresh and contemporary paired with white woodwork.

Dulux Dusted Moss

Apparently Dusted Moss 2 would give Cornforth White a run for its money. Personally I prefer the finish of Farrow & Ball and find you need less coats but Dusted Moss is gorgeous soft shade. It works really well in low light spaces and is perhaps a little warmer than Cornforth White with a slightly greenish hue (seen here varying intensities in Kimberley Hughes’ lounge and Abigail Aherne’s bathroom).

For a the faintest whisper of grey I would recommend Crown’s Sail White. For more about choosing white paint have a read of our Finding the Right White article.

Obviously every individual room has it’s own unique lighting, aspect and style and so it’s impossible to recommend a generic paint colour for every situation. Even though tester pots can seem expensive it’s always worth it. Paint large pieces of paper and hang them up on the wall or paint the inside shoebox so you can see how the light bounces around the walls.

If you’re trying to choose between an array of grey paints then have a look where it sits within the paint chart; is it in the yellow section, the blue, or the red? In north facing rooms, you could choose a yellow based shade to reflect the light and warm up the area, where as in a south facing room you can pretty much opt for any shade you like. West facing rooms look gorgeous in the afternoon light with a ‘greige’ shade and with eastern rooms remember shades can take on more of a blue appearance so this will be amplified.

What are your experiences of decorating with grey? What are your favourite shades and how are you using it in your house? Any grey disasters?