Pudding sofa bed: modern Living room by Loaf

​Ideal interiors: Working with light grey paint

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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There’s a lot more to grey than simply being the colour that’s perfectly in-between black and white. Thousands of different grey hues exist, each with its own unique look and style (and name, like Cloud, Fossil, Charcoal, Anchor… ). 

But things can get a little tricky once we start decorating with grey, regardless of whether it’s for a public space (like the living room and kitchen) or a more private zone (like our bedrooms).

But don’t fret – as usual, we have done our homework to guide you through this delicate process of choosing the right shades for styling up your home with light grey paint…

1. Prep before you paint

As there are a myriad of different greys, you can choose a unique grey for every room in your entire house. A fresh change from the overly done beiges and off-whites, grey is the new neutral that has creeped into countless of interior colour palettes worldwide. 

Plus, it acts as a great backdrop against splashes of other colours, whether it be hot pink or ocean blue. 

But to get that picture-perfect finish of a wall painted grey, there is no shortcut. Preparation is crucial, and it starts with cleaning the surfaces about to be painted before you even so much as touch a paintbrush. Be sure to wash the entire wall with a diluted solution of sugar soap and leave it to work for a few minutes. Then wipe the surface clean with clean water.

This, of course is after you’ve removed nails and other elements from the wall. Should there be any cracks or holes in the plaster, ensure these are filled first. Then, by using sandpaper, work your way around the entire wall to turn it into a smooth, level surface. 

Once all the prep work is finished, the actual painting can begin!

2. Priming it perfectly

Grey Travertine:  Walls & flooring by Quick-Step
Quick-Step

Grey Travertine

Quick-Step

With an undercoat or primer, your walls will become a blank canvas ready and willing to receive a variety of colours that are the closets match possible to the one intended by the manufacturer. And that includes the greys! 

If you’re using oil-based paints, any primer will do. But if you’re using emulsion to cover your walls, use a primer or base coat that has been specifically designed to prepare walls for painting. 

Consider your tools before the painting process starts. Don’t overload your roller with too much paint. It needs to rotate freely instead of skidding over those surfaces of the walls or ceiling. Patient, vertical strokes will help to avoid paint splatter, and these must be combined with parallel movements that are within comfortable reach.

3. Light grey paint: Cool versus warm

From cool off-white tints to warmer neutral tones, grey encompasses multiple hues. And whereas a black-and-white colour palette can be quite harsh, a softer one consisting of darker-and-lighter greys can change subtly throughout the day with the shifting light, ensuring loads of personality and character for your room. 

To add a dramatic look to a wall, we recommend darker greys like charcoal – even for smaller spaces like a hallway or entryway. Clever lighting and mirrors can always be added or tweaked to create a look that is both strong and inviting. 

Plus, darker greys make up an ideal background space for smaller amounts of brighter colours (like mint-green scatter cushions, a flame-orange wingback chair, etc.).

4. Light grey paint for small, light-filled rooms

Dazzler bed: modern Bedroom by Loaf
Loaf

Dazzler bed

Loaf

Always consider the amount of light (both natural and artificial) already present in a room, as it can definitely influence the colour of the walls. For smaller rooms with lots of incoming natural light, light grey paint can be a more stylish alternative to plain white, seeing as both create the illusion of space. 

And grey with a warm tint can also enhance a space’s sense of cosines while adding a touch of sophistication.

5. Light grey paint for north-facing rooms

While north-facing rooms enjoy sun in the mornings, they also endure a slighter colder light during the rest of the day – and, as such, need to be treated to grey paint with a warmer tone. An earthy grey paint could also work, something with a brown undertone like SW 7030 Anew Grey.

Interestingly enough, in Sweden (which is prone to very little sunshine), blue-toned greys are popular in north-facing rooms. The reason is because these types of greys look amazing when paired with creamy hues, some pink, and even a touch of gold, which really help to add some visual warmth to the grey colour scheme.

6. Light grey paint for south-facing rooms

Pudding sofa bed: modern Living room by Loaf
Loaf

Pudding sofa bed

Loaf

South-facing rooms enjoy much more light during the day. To maximise your space, consider greys with hints of soft blue. These will accentuate the room even more by contrasting with the warmth brought on by the sunshine. 

Bluish greys can help to add depth and dimension to a wall, regardless of whether it has a rich, deep finish or a cooler touch. Consider a colder grey (like SW2832 Colonial Revival Grey) to add a calming and soothing touch to the room which can beautifully balance with the incoming light.

7. More tips to help you pick the perfect light grey paint

Hillcrest: modern Living room by De Rosee Sa
De Rosee Sa

Hillcrest

De Rosee Sa

• Purchase some paint samples of your favourite light greys and test them on multiple walls in the room you wish to paint.  

• Leave those painted wall samples for at least 24 hours. This will allow you to see how the colours changes with the light during the day. Don’t be scared to paint those samples bigger than the usual 1m square block if you’re struggling to make up your mind 

• When choosing between a cool or warm grey for a room, take into account the flooring, cabinetry, lighting fixtures, wood trim, as well as the bricks’ colours. Your interior elements’ undertones should match with your grey paint’s undertones.  

• When light grey and red is mixed, a variety of moods becomes apparent: historic, nautical, French, etc. Mixing darker greys and red results in a more solid, masculine ambience. And for an opulent and refined style, combine light grey paint with pale yellows.  

• To give your room a classic look, go with grey walls and a white ceiling. Should you feel a bit adventurous, try painting the ceiling in a soft grey shade – one that’s about two or three tints lighter than the wall colour. Go with a darker grey paint for your ceiling if the room is very large. 

From pale greys to more in-your-face colours, let’s see how to Enliven your home with coloured paint.

Where in your house are you going to play around with some light grey paint?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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