It was almost 10 years ago that I decided to decorate my large family bathroom in wall to wall large-format grey tiles. It was an unusual decision at the time as the trend for Grey hadn't really begun but I loved the clean neutral and the fresh, modern look it created with the white sanitary ware. It has always received complements over the years and I'm pleased I took the risk as it looks just as fresh and modern today.
Grey has become increasing popular over the last decade and it remains the go-to colour for Interior design, from carpets to curtains, walls to floors, bed-linen to crockery. Sure, every year or so the experts will tell you that one shade of Grey is more on-trend than another, this year the shade is 'Graphite' the darkest shade of Grey, but there is no sign that it's reign as the king of colours is nearing an end.
So what is the enduring appeal of Grey and why can't we get enough of it?
If we look at the four big areas of any home; walls, floors, furniture and lighting we can see why this colour works so well in our 21st Century homes and why it is not going anywhere anytime soon!
Lets start with furniture, timber furniture.
Grey is the antithesis of Golden Brown. If you think of the wooden furniture that your grandparents, or your parents had it was probably golden brown in colour, mid century modern to late eighties. Popular timbers like pine and oak and teak have a natural yellow tone and old fashioned varnishes and lacquers added to this golden hue. The perfect complimentary colour to this timber was cream, or the infamous Magnolia. When I was a child every wall was painted Magnolia and fitted carpets and sofas were beige. We think back to it as being so old fashioned, but it worked then. The warm golden tones were the perfect complement to the furniture of the day.
Fast forward to today and the timber industry has undergone a revolution. Smoking, bleaching and tinting, not to mention modern veneers and laminates, are just some of the new timber treatments that alter the natural yellow or red tone of wood and create a bleached or grey hue. Everything from inexpensive wood laminates to exquisite solid timber flooring sit perfectly with the modern neutral ~ Grey. And of course we have all sorts of great contemporary materials being used in furniture, aluminium, chrome, stainless steel, powder-coating gunmetal .... You get the picture!
Next lets look at lighting.
Old light bulbs naturally have a yellow tone and emit a warm glow. Halogens, LEDs and Energy efficient bulbs have a white tone and a cooler light. Another great complement to Grey (and White :)
Wall coverings have also undergone a revolution in manufacturing terms, the textures and finishes you find in contemporary wall-coverings are truly extraordinary, and many now include metallics and glitters which look fabulous with Grey tones.
Like any good neutral, grey can be used for just about anything and sits really well with most accent colours. So when the Pantone Colour of the Year changes from this years Greenery, you can be sure that whatever they choose, it will look fabulous with a Grey neutral.
There is no sign of this perfect modern neutral being usurped by any other colour and designers expect this to be the case for some years to come.
So if you haven't taken the plunge yet, take some inspiration from these great interiors and bring some of the great Grey magic into your home.