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The right shade of Grey

DesignInteriors|08 May 2019
The right shade of Grey
Making the decision to go grey is the easy part, but which grey? Grey is one of the most difficult shades to get right because of the colours that lie beneath. You need to consider warm light, cool light and natural sunlight.

Orientation: North, South, East or West?

The first thing you need to consider when it comes to painting your home grey is light. Does your chosen room get natural light? And if so, how much does it get over the day? The orientation of your space will affect the way your colour looks on the walls and is exactly why the same colour grey can look completely different in different rooms. Paler shades of grey will vary enormously according to the natural light in the room. If you have gone for a cool grey paint for a north facing room, you will need to find ways to warm it up with wooden floors and soft colours for it to bounce off.

Window frames are great for experimenting with grey tones too. Just because they were once painted white doesn’t mean that’s the colour they should always be. Try painting them a darker shade of grey that what’s on the walls. It will create depth and also frame the view of outside.


Light from the north is steady, and constant and is known to have a hint of blue in it. This is why choosing a pale grey for a North facing room can be difficult, sometimes the grey can look cold and blue and nothing like the paint chart. Whether your north facing room is small or large, embrace it and go for a darker tone of grey. It will create a real atmosphere and will look amazing when the light shines through. If you want to paint your room pale, whether it’s north facing or not, then you can contract the cold, blue tones by adding texture in the form of natural wood furnishings and warm materials.


South facing rooms are always full of warm golden sunlight, making it the perfect room to relax and chill out in – you want a grey paint that will reflect that vibe. This also means you have plenty of freedom when choosing your colour scheme, almost all shades look great in this light. Pale grey tones will only add to your relaxing vibe, it makes for a perfect alternative to bright white. But you can also have darker, more dramatic walls if you wish as the room will never feel dark and dingy when you have such beautiful golden light coming through your window.

East & West

Rooms that face East and West are probably the most difficult as the light will change from warm to light as the sun moves across the sky during the course of the day. The key to picking the best shade of grey is to find a grey tone that can warm the cool as well as toning down the warm. That way, whatever light shines into the room, it will never change the shade of your chosen grey.

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