The Simple Things - - NEST -

Per­fectly still, grey-toned skies can seem an in­fi­nite ex­panse, an ab­sence of colour. Misty, pale smoke greys cre­ate a blank can­vas upon which other colours can play. Mid-tone greys of peb­ble, con­crete, steel or pewter – solid and dense – re­spond strongly to sump­tu­ous sur­faces that en­cour­age and en­hance their depths. As dusk set­tles, the dark of night brings deep­en­ing greys lay­er­ing grad­u­ally with black, shadow, ash and char­coal sink­ing into mid­night, ebony and raven’s wing.


Grey oc­cu­pies all the un­sung spa­ces be­tween black and white. Adapt­able as they are, greys need care­ful at­ten­tion when se­lect­ing shades for the home. A tint or tone in the wrong di­rec­tion can mean a slip be­tween feel­ing too warm or too cool. Greys that con­tain too much lilac or icy blue can make a room feel rather un­wel­com­ing – paint­ing all four walls the same grey makes this worse.

Use pale greys as your back­ground, then ap­ply lin­ear ac­cents of colour in small-scale, con­sid­ered place­ments. Re­strained greys blended and con­trasted on walls, ceil­ings and wood­work re­sult in a thought­ful pat­tern that feels both bold and rest­ful si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Em­ploy darker colours on ra­di­a­tors, skirt­ing boards, doors and door frames, and a paler shade on the ceil­ing. Avoid­ing whites for this sort of pal­ette means each colour is a tonal vari­a­tion.

Green­ish tints of pale grey span this­tle to sage, celadon to lichen. Darker shades in­clude olive, khaki and slate. These softly tinged green-greys pro­vide won­der­ful backdrops in the home, of­fer­ing a nat­u­ral warmth while at the same time feel­ing peace­ful and neu­tral. These are laid-back, placid shades, ef­fort­lessly sur­round­ing us with a ca­sual sense of quiet style.

Deep shades of dark­est greys and blacks work well for dis­play ar­eas fea­tur­ing trea­sured items, cu­rios and other col­lec­tions of ob­jects. A dark back­drop has a dra­matic ef­fect on the bright coloured ob­jects in the fore­ground. This ‘cab­i­net of cu­riosi­ties’ ef­fect is time­less and cre­ates a staged ‘the­atre’ for your care­fully cu­rated per­sonal be­long­ings.

Adapted from Love Colour: Choos­ing Colours to Live With by Anna Starmer (Ivy Press)

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