Grey has become more and more popular as a wall colour over recent years, with some interior design magazines proclaiming that ‘grey is the new white’, taking over from white as the wall colour of choice for many design professionals.

As a neutral, a light grey is a sophisticated choice for walls and acts as a perfect backdrop for both monochrome or schemes with bright accent colours.

From a technical point of view, grey is often used by colour specialists as a backdrop for colour. For instance, in our paint laboratory, our specialists examine colour in a light box that is lined with grey. This is because grey is achromatic, meaning literally that it is a colour “without colour”. It therefore does not taint or affect the appearance of other colours helping to give a true representation of them.

Shades of grey

Pure grey is a shade between white and black, however slight tints of other colours are often added to grey to make it look warmer or cooler.

What is considered to be a warmer grey usually has a touch of yellow or red added to it, while a cooler grey may have a slight touch of blue or green to it.

Grey throughout the ages

Grey has been popular in architecture, art and interiors in specific periods in history. During the Renaissance and Baroque grey became very popular – with black, white and grey being associated with nobility. Grey was also extremely popular during the Art Deco period, along with metallic such as chrome and deeper blacker shades.

Later on, grey became associated with a more industrialised look as it grew in popularity with modernists and polished concrete was used more widely as a finish.

Grey then became popular again in interior design during the Eighties, and was often teamed with pinks and pastel colours.

Creating a colour scheme with grey as the base

Grey can be used to create a simple, clean look such as the classic white and grey interior. But as grey works so well as a base for all colours, it can also be used as a backdrop for adventurous and stunning splashes of colour.

For a bold look, team grey as a base colour with one or two bright accents – how about grey walls with a grey couch and bright mustard cushions and fabrics, or grey with flashes of deep purple and a  light green? Or grey with orange?

For a more subtle look you can use graduated tones – for instance pick a cool grey for your walls then deeper greys and blues for your accents.

As grey goes with everything, your colour scheme options are unlimited. This makes it easy to add some colour to any room that features grey as a base. Whether or not grey is the new white, grey is here to stay. 

View our grey, blue and purple paint colours

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    1. Payne's Grey
      Payne's Grey


      A dark iron blue with hints of warm grey, this shade was used by 19th century painters as a warmer alternative to black. Inspiration for this colour was taken from the Modernist period. Use with our 1829 White Undercoat.

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