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Shades of grey; Touch up

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Ilove grey but I’m afraid to use it in case my home looks drab. For a time now, grey has been the new white. El­e­gant, so­phis­ti­cated and upscale, it’s rarely dull. But the se­cret of­ten lies in choos­ing warm greys, par­tic­u­larly those with just a hint of pink, which are soft and chalky and work per­fectly with the on­go­ing trend for muted pinks, blues and mauves. Warm greys, and that also in­cludes “greige” (a mix of grey and yel­low) and sub­tle green-greys, make a room feel wel­com­ing and are the per­fect neu­tral for bolder ac­cent colours. Cool greys, while they have a place, can make a room feel cold.

First, con­sider your room. Size, func­tion and light will all af­fect shade choice. If the room is small or lack­ing in nat­u­ral light, a pale sil­very shade is best; pretty and clean-look­ing, sum­mer-cloud greys not only add in­ter­est but also brighten small spa­ces. And here’s a tip. When pick­ing your colour, test it first in the cor­ners of the room that get the least light. As the light falls, the pig­ment in the paint will get murkier. If look­ing into the cor­ner of the room at dusk makes you feel gloomy, you know you’ve picked a grey a shade too dark. Grey, af­ter all, is the colour of shad­ows.

How you use the room also has an ef­fect. For ex­am­ple, bed­rooms, used mainly at night, are par­tic­u­larly suited to sooth­ing, rather than stormy, greys. Dove grey is a good op­tion. Moody tones, on the other hand, are great at adding char­ac­ter to larger liv­ing ar­eas, es­pe­cially when teamed with white. Think char­coal walls, creamy white trims and ac­cents of indigo, laven­der and mus­tard. Cool greys, those with un­der­tones of blue, are of­ten good in bath­rooms, where their crisp­ness in­tro­duces a clean, fresh feel.

An­other con­sid­er­a­tion when pick­ing a grey is con­trast. The greater the con­trast the more im­por­tant it is to get the shade cor­rect. There are ex­cep­tions, but a dark grey car­pet teamed with stark black/ white walls, for in­stance, will make a home feel like an of­fice. A warmer wall shade (greige, for ex­am­ple) will be more co­coon­ing. Just don’t for­get to add brighter ac­ces­sories to stop it from look­ing too monochro­matic.

And then there’s light­ing. If you’re the type of per­son who flicks on the over­heads if the sun goes be­hind a cloud, grey might not be the colour for you. Over­head fix­tures, in par­tic­u­lar, cast shad­ows, which will ex­ac­er­bate the black pig­ment in grey paint. Avoid, if you like bright. Al­ter­na­tively, ditch the over­heads and “layer” your light­ing by us­ing sconces, pen­dants, ta­ble and floor lamps. Tracey Strange

Cop­per and for­est green are per­fect shades to pair with grey. Art­work by Arti Shah at Artis­tu­dio, artis­tu­dio.com.au

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