Hues and Shades of Grey for Decorating Any Home
Grey has been a popular colour for decorating a home for some time and there are many different hues of grey that you can use in rooms that are cool or warm or to create a relaxing atmosphere.
When people generally think of the colour grey it is associated with the utilitarian grey that is used to paint office filing cabinets or the cold grey of a concrete floor. We are so used to grey being a cold, unfeeling colour that we tend to overlook the fact that grey is not a single colour and that there are so many different hues of grey that it is almost impossible to cover every variation. But that doesn't mean that there aren't some grey hues that are more popular than others.
Any hue of grey
is considered a calming colour that is perfect
for a home office.
When thinking colours, particularly paint colours, it helps to refer to the colour wheel, that time-honoured tool that decorators used when selecting complementary, adjacent and contrasting colours when putting together a scheme for interior designs. Many still use the colour wheel for client consultations and we will also use the colour wheel to better understand the relationship between cool, warm and comforting grey colours.
When it comes to selecting colours, there are two methods for this; CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the other is RGB which stands for red, green. blue. The latter - RGB - we also refer to as Primary colours and it is from these colours that all colours are derived, with the addition of black and white to darken and lighten the colours.
Colour Psychology of Grey
The colour grey is seen by many to be utilitarian, a colour used to paint an item for practical purposes rather than aesthetic appeal. It might not have the same impact as colours found in the colour wheel, but the colour grey does have its uses. Grey is considered a calming colour and is the perfect neutral for combining with other colours.
In line with modern decorating trends, grey is not just the mixing of black and white but rather the addition of primary colours to create warm or cool greys.
Grey is also the colour of intellect and diplomacy that spans the difference between white and black. It is a refined colour that is understated and sophisticated and we normally associate grey with wisdom. What is surprising is that the colour grey was a highly sought-after colour during the 18th century as a contrast against boldly coloured silks and satins that were fashionable at the time.
Coming back to RGB - red - blue - green - these colours cannot be combined to make grey, and it is only by mixing black and white is a true grey achieved. Most modern greys used other colours in the colour wheel to add properties and it is these hues that we look at below.
Grey with a hint of Red
When you mix grey with red, yellow or brown undertones the result is a warm grey that is the perfect colour for rooms that tend to be on the cool side or that don't receive a lot of natural sunlight. Warm greys can be combined with almost all the colours on the colour wheel for cosy or sophisticated interiors
Warm greys are the perfect colours in a room that is on the cool side, or for when you want to create a cosy setting. The warm undertones work well when combined with black or white to balance out the starkness of these two colours
Unlike stark white when used to decorate a bathroom, warm grey does exactly that... warming up an otherwise cold feeling bathroom with nothing more than colour. If you are looking to create a calming, serene bathroom that is sophisticated and modern, consider warm grey hues.
Light or dark shades of warm grey have the same effect of warming up a room. Lighter greys work well to make a small room visually larger while dark warm greys can be used on a feature wall or in a larger room.
Grey with a hint of Blue
Warm greys might be ideal for those rooms that need a little warmth, but cool greys rule the roost for rooms that get overly warm during the hotter months of the year. Think a sunny bedroom, open plan living to outdoors, a bathroom with large windows that get a lot of sunlight, or any other room that heats up during the day. The colour itself might not affect the temperature but your brain picks up the blue undertones and fools you into feeling cooler.
If you can't stand the heat... keep out of the kitchen or decorate with cool grey hues to bring the temperature down.
In a bathroom, keep the white for your sanitary ware fittings, ceiling and trim and paint the walls in a cool grey for a sophisticated and timeless bathroom design. The cool grey walls contrast with the white fittings and fixtures and, despite the blue undertones, create a soothing colour palette than an all-white bathroom.