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Friday, 17 January 2014

Shades of Grey


We’ve reached the stage in the building project where we need to make decisions about the interior decor.   Time to make those aspirational pin interest boards come to life.  The task of decorating a whole house at once (and at speed) is proving daunting, especially for a procrastinator.  My default position thus far when the builder has asked for paint colours has been to utter the words ‘white’ and run away clutching my paint swatch cards.  

The original plan was to have a consistent colour scheme running throughout the house, creating some continuation between the rooms.  As a general rule, I like life to be bright and cheerful, (my wardrobe for example) yet I wouldn’t dream of painting a wall red or purple. Instead I prefer to add these as accents or accessories against a neutral colour palette. (Like...um...white.) The thing is, I do fear that neutral is rather boring. Neutral; a word guaranteed to conjure up a lack of excitement. Neutral; the blah blah blah of the colour palette. Hmmmm.

Husband has issued an edict - no more white. It’s been stressful. In recent days, Farrow and Ball have come to my rescue. Their website has a helpful section on how light affects colour. For an east facing property like ours, colours with underlying green and blue hues are suggested as good options. The only problem being, I'm not sure I want to live in a green or blue house so, grateful for their advice, I have (sort of) ignored it and examined the options available in grey and white palettes with undertones of these colours instead.

Forbidden to paint the whole house white, I’ve settled on Pavilion Grey. Sounds rather grand doesn’t it? (Certainly better than the alternative of ‘Mole’s Breath’. Ugh). I like it’s taupe, almost (but not quite) greeny undertones. It feels a peaceful colour to me. I hope so; currently two sets of wardrobes, the kitchen cupboards, the staircase and some panelling in the downstairs loo are going to be painted with it.  The grey will be offset with um... white (obviously Husband is not aware of this yet) but mostly in higher areas, those that are above the head height of two small boys with very sticky fingers.

If you’d told me two years ago that I would consider painting any element of my house grey I would have shuddered in disbelief.  Yet, modern, architectural grey has enjoyed something of a renaissance in the past couple of years. I’d like to think my taste is individual enough to be uninfluenced by trends, but given my recent colour preferences I am not so sure.

On trend, off trend, do I really care? I don’t think so. Pantone have recently revealed their colour of the year. Radiant Orchid.  I like it, but perhaps as a nail varnish or for a summer handbag. Not to have as a major feature inside my home.

In the meantime, I’m sticking with grey. To match my hair.  Finding colours for the house is a little like getting my highlights done (incidentally, long overdue); it’s very difficult to find something I'm really happy with.

Do you have a colour scheme running through your house? Which colours have you used in your living spaces? Do you have a favourite paint colour or a scheme that worked particularly well in one room?  I’d love to hear.


8 comments:

  1. I had grey years ago before it became a trend, loved it, now I'm over it and going for white (don't tell your husband!) off to F&B next week to pick through their colour boards, decorator arriving 3rd Feb!. I love colour and I really want blue or aqua throughout (I know, you hate it :) ) but living by the sea has that effect on me!! I always worry once the colour is on the walll I won't like it, so think sticking to whites then adding accents would be better for my nerves :)

    I expect Elephants Breath is worse :)

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    1. Oh no, maybe I do care about trends? Especially if I'm behind one! I think that if I lived near the sea like you do I would be much more likely to indulge in blues or aquas - but in London it just seems wrong. In fact, grey seems rather appropriate....

      Agree with you about the Elephants Breath. x

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  2. Actually, that sounds like a really nice, neutral tone. I'm with you... I like a clean, neutral background with colour detail added via art, the furniture etc. And in some rooms, you could always add a feature wall or a different tone of paint, one that contrasts with the neutral you have chosen. Mole's Breath - seriously!? Who thinks up these names?X

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    1. I nearly wrote a blog post just on the subject of paint names...there's some fabulous ones! Sounds like we have similar decorating styles. I reckon if I start neutral it's far easier to dial it up gradually rather than go wild and then have to pare back.

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  3. It's definitely the in colour to have as a base and with which to work accessories around, as I was reading on Jen's blog - http://lovechicliving.co.uk/ . She mentions the orchid as well. I have Gardenia inside and out (cream / pale yellow combination depending on the light) which is dead old fashioned but I like it. It's spruced up with red / burgundy in the kitchen, silver in the hall and a variety of blues and greens in the bedrooms. My bedroom was supposed to be Lavender Grey but three batches didn't match the taster pot so it ended up too purple for my taste (the day before the carpets were laid) The Gardenia is cheerful. Like you, my whole house was decorated at the same time but SEVEN years ago so is long overdue a freshen up, but I can't face / afford a whole re-think and re-do yet! Good luck :)

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    1. Thank you for the blog link to lovechicliving, I had a good mooch round Jen's blog earlier. Lovely. I love the sound of Lavender Grey - but then I'm rather partial to a little bit of purple here and there. We're going to have exactly the same problem as you when it comes to redecorating, the whole house will need doing at the same time. I can see why you can't face it!

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  4. I'm a big fan of grey. OH hates it with a passion. We went with a compromise greyish-beigish-brownish colour throughout Bod Towers (sounds awful but actually works rather well as its neutral - it's a bit like Slipper Satin or Diminity on Farrow and Ball neutrals page) but we've just accented the hall and staircase with olive below the dado rail. Hope all goes well with the decorating - pictures when you're done please! (And I haven't forgotten about persuading you to attend Brit Mums this year....)

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    1. I love Dimity. I painted most of my last house in it! Ah yes, Brit Mums...it's coming around so quickly - isn't it?

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