Grey’s so sexy and sophisticated – no, calm down, dear, not the masterful hero of best-selling novel, 50 Shades Of Grey – but the decor colour.
Millions of women may be swooning over Christian Grey and his wooing of Anastasia Steele, but designers have taken all shades of grey to heart.
Flirting with its subtle, versatile tones, from crisp charcoal and French grey to shimmering silver and mysterious smoke-grey could be just the way to turn up the heat at home.
“Grey is a surprisingly calming and harmonious colour to live with, but you must choose the right tone,” advises Mark Upstone, head of global visual display at The Conran Shop.
“Greys with more brown in the mix will feel warm – white based greys will feel colder.
“Be bold. Don’t restrict yourself to a feature wall – grey looks better en masse – and use different finishes of the same tone to create interest and depth.”
Tone it down with pastels, white or a zingy kick of sharp citrus, which will ensure it has less of a masculine edge.
“Dark grey is perfect to showcase artwork, pictures and mirrors on your walls. It’s far more effective than white, and makes them stand out,” he says.
“Alternatively, put the focus on a piece of grey furniture, or enhance a setting with accessories. Make a statement by painting a front door grey – it’s this season’s black – and you’ll ensure you make an entrance, simple, stylish and very current.”
Face the wall
If you’re committing to a new relationship with this colour, the best place to start is with the walls.
“Grey is a wonderful colour which has so many nuances, from soft, pinky ‘dove greys’ to deep charcoal tones,” says Edward Bulmer, director of specialist paint company, Pots of Paint. To find the one grey you love – experiment! Try colours in different tones by using sample pots, but ensure you see how they change with the light in your home throughout the day.
“It also works well to simply paint one wall in your chosen grey and use it as a backdrop to a focus piece of furniture such as a striking sofa or sideboard.”
Turn on to grey: B&Q’s excellent grey paint range, features one particular star, Colours matt emulsion in grey slate, £13.98 for 2.5 litres, which perfectly complements a grey wallpaper scattered with yellow canaries, Colours Opera Aviary wallpaper, £8.98 a roll, available from October.
Grey’s a perfect partner for practical areas. Artisan tiles, in five soft, organic-wash shades including French Grey, from £83 a square metre, Laura Ashley.
Texture, shape and symmetry are vital ingredients for successful grey sanctuaries, says Jane Cowdry, founder of soft furnishings online boutique, Lily Matthews.
“The key to using grey is layering and texture,” she advises. “Using one tone throughout will look flat and dull but mix in wool, silk, linen, and velvet and you have a sophisticated uplifting room. This season, splashes of colour are an antidote to our winter gloom and almost anything goes with greys.
“Pinks always sit well, or you could be a little adventurous and choose a vibrant raspberry, deep purple or burnt orange and soft yellows for a lovely contrast.
“Grey works in modern and older properties, and will look as beautiful in a minimalist setting matched with sleek white shelving as it will with period wood panelling and mahogany furniture.”
Turn on to grey: Languorous lounging’s easy on a luxurious Osbourne sofa, upholstered in a silver velvet, £1,900, Sofa Design.
Clutter needn’t spoil the serenity of this look if it’s safely tucked away in a pill-boxed shaped set of Mono Drawers, finished in macho dark grey and tweed, £60, Matalan (available end of September).
Transform a stuck-in-a-rut bedroom palette with greys in decor or silky fabrics to bring an air of relaxation to an uptight setting.
Hang drapery panels which puddle on the floor to frame your windows with a layer of textured sheers behind them for the ultimate in privacy.
“We’ve seen a fast-growing trend for using grey in bedroom interiors over the past year,” says Jeremy Borlant, designer and partner at Seymours of Darlington.
“Grey tones in fabrics and wallpapers create a glamorous and striking effect, especially paired with pattern and texture.
“It’s a chic, streamlined look which also taps into the five-star ‘hotel’ trend which will be very evident in interiors this autumn.
Turn on to grey: If passion for the look is running high, you’ll want a dream bed such as a Nautilus period period-style sleigh bed, from £5,990, from And So To Bed, which can be painted in any shade from the Farrow & Ball range – including grey of course!
Dress a bed appropriately in shades of grey Astoria bedlinen from the Kylie Minogue at Home range, including a double duvet cover, £75, from Seymours of Darlington. Matalan’s Grey Polka Dot duvet bedlinen collection, from £20.
Subtle hints of grey add intriguing interest to rooms and snazzy grey seating is sure to be useful.
A Scilla Knitted floor cushion, £39.98, B&Q (available October), is a winner on style and price.
Lighting’s key for atmosphere and a Zinc wall light, £59, Idyll Home has a chic industrial look. Dim the lights with a Tamsin tripod table lamp, in warm grey, £39 from made.com
Humour’s just as seductive as colour. Combine the two with a witty and timely take on the trend, a poster entitled Fifty Shades of Grey, showing the full grey colour chart, £10.95, The Literary Gift Company.