It’s no revelation that grey has hit interiors like a storm. Certainly neutrals like grey, beige, white and black are classic and enduring, but in different eras and combined with different colours, they can also be very trendy.
In my creative role at Benjamin Moore over the past 15 years, I have had the thrill of designing spaces and colour plans for folks both real and fictional. With this I am always looking back and forth at how the colour trends develop and morph and while looking through some of my archives for another project, it surprised me how quietly grey began to steal the spotlight. After its’ hey-day in the eighties, grey played more of a supporting role in nineties interiors by simply “greying” other hues. (Remember the grunge look in fashion? Everything, including colour was “greyed.”) Sand, tan and khaki tones (admittedly you could call them “greige”) dominated the home fashion scene.
As we moved into the new millennium with a little more hesitation then we anticipated, every variation of neutral became popular again, so grey too was welcomed back in all its variations. Here are a few of my favourite “timeless” grey rooms from my archives at Benjamin Moore.
My first venture into “grey land” with Benjamin Moore was in a 2004 house project where we gave each room 2 different looks. Here the master bedroom was painted with 2 grays: metropolis CC-546 and boulevard CC-394. Red was still a very popular accent choice in those first 5 years of the new millennium – classic but still daring.
This grey living room came to the forefront in our 2006 Colours for your Home Trends, setting the tone for some time. Here asphalt CC-548, a deep grey, fills the background and is layered by lighter values of grey in furnishings and rugs. The pop of hampton green 2150-50 was an unexpected pairing in this formally furnished grey room and so began our take on the “pop” colour trend.
For our 2007 Colour Trends, we went off the wall with grey! chelsea gray HC-168 hit the ceiling and trim, and sandlot gray 2107-50 the walls, giving the modern town home a rich heritage feel. A little more eclectic in styling, we began experimenting with scale and pattern, incorporating traditional and modern lines which the grey helped to accentuate. (Chelsea Gray by the way is one of Candice Olson’s designer picks.)
In 2008 we were all about loft-living (even if you weren’t living in a loft!) The soft grey escarpment CC-518 referenced the industrial concrete block and felt shades lighter with all the natural sunlight, disappearing behind the creamy white furnishings. Texture, texture and more texture is what makes the monochromatic grey story work.
The versatility of grey has loads to do with its composition — sometimes warm, sometimes cool and sometimes perfectly balanced. Here we used a warm grey, thunder AF-685 to help ground the heavy wood beams in this amazing space we envisioned as an artist’s studio. I can soooo envision myself painting by the fire….(my retirement plan!)
And finally with the deep grey desert twilight 2137-40 composed of a rich, green undertone, the walls in this family room are like a chameleon changing throughout the day and night. We furnished the room with various shades of grey inspired by the slate floor for a textural grey story that is anything but drab!
Today’s grey is a sophisticated, adaptable neutral that we just can’t seem to get enough of!
Have you embraced grey this time around or does the memory of the harsh “eighties” grey put you off?
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