Amanda Hanley by Design |  Interiors, kitchens, furniture and fabric | Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire
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50 Shades of Gray

50 Shades of Gray

It's no secret that grey has become one of the most popular neutral colours over the last couple of years. But grey isn't a colour that a lot of people would choose to use in their home decoration. That's probably because grey tends to be associated with dreariness. However, it doesn't have to be this way. Grey is a terrific colour that can offer a soothing, cooling presence for a room. It's a neutral colour so it works well with many other colours. It's a good choice for both a primary design colour and for accent pieces. The Little Greene Paint company's 'French grey' range and Zoffany's 'Paris Grey' range are perfect for this part of the country. What you need to know about decorating with grey is that it takes a little bit of playing around to get the hang of how to use this colour property in your home. Sit down and think about the mood that you want to create. Then find the right combination of colours and textures to make grey work to create this mood. Don't be afraid to combine grey with other colours to alter the mood of the space. Grey can really enhance bright colours especially when those colours are used in dramatic ways like as paint on the walls of a big room. The grey softens the impact of the bold colour and creates an interesting visual appeal.

Dull as dishwater, a weather metaphor for a bad day and unsatisfying suburban compromise between city black and rural white, Think again and go grey. Tucked away in my art studio, one of my favourite colours is the stunning Payne's Grey. It lifts the colours next to it, especially blue hues, and it manages to be warm, add depth and suggest other colours. But until recently I kept grey locked away. Looking around at the stunning shades now available on our interior palette, I realise what a waste! Grey has many shades, if you'll forgive the pop-fiction pun, from silvery-whites to deep charcoals, and can work in any room and in multiple shades and materials. I like my grey served best on
hard surfaces: charcoal granite worktops, tiling, flooring and softer grey walls. But soft furnishings work beautifully with an added lustre: be seduced by luxurious grey velvet, silks and satins in bedrooms.

There are 3 main factors to consider when selecting a neutral paint.
1. Size of room: a pale hue with make it look more spacious, dark will encase it.
2. The room's function: will it be a snug, relaxing area or a busy family room.
3. Natural light: if there are a few windows, try a dark and dramatic feel. A mid neutral will work in a room with lots of windows. In a small, dark space, opt for a pale shade.

There are so many neutral shades to choose from that the only way to see the difference clearly between them is by looking at colour charts. Focus on the base of the neutral: does it have a blue, pink or green undertone, And what colours do you plan to use to furnish and accessorise your room, Choose your neutral with this in mind. Always use a tester pot on your walls, as you may find that the undertones look difference depending on the light.

Light & Bright - Open up a small area with Strong White Estate emulsion from Farrow & Ball and Dimity - The perfect alternative to pure white. Strong White is pale enough to use as an all-over shade yet it's tinted enough to create beautiful contrasts with white woodwork. It is refreshing - somehow it's cleverly cooling and invigorating without being cold. Skimming Stone, String, Clunch and of course Elephants Breath from Farrow & Ball could not be easier to live with. They are packed with pigment, which is what makes them immensely easy to work with. Little Greene, French Grey and Rolling Fog are also well worth a visit.

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