The best grey paint matches the room’s light, size and use
Though Australians love their crisp white walls a new contender is muscling in for the title of favourite neutral. Grey paint is winning people over with its ability to vary from subtle and calm to warm and strong while creating a luxurious and spacious feel. The range of tones and shades means the right one for your space is out there, but it also makes it a seemingly impossible task. Luckily there are some guidelines to follow for finding which tones and shades work best in a space, and we have broken them down for you here.
Whether you have already searched for ‘light grey paint’ and have picked your favourites, or you thought dove grey paint was what you wanted only to see all the what you thought were dove greys from Dulux alone, we will help you learn how to use grey wall paint in your home.
Know your light and orientation to navigate the shades of grey
Though grey may be described as neutral, the term is a little misleading. It comes in so many different tones that it often has a character of its own that does not just fade into the background. These tones give the grey paints a temperature, coolness or warmth, which responds to certain lights in different ways (this is also true for other paint colours, including white). We have categorised the greys by the temperature and shade of the colour and combined these factors with the best light for each. Light or dark grey, warm or cool grey, the actual light of the room you are painting will have a big effect on the look and feel of the final finish.
Grab a compass and get ready, below we look at how light affects a room, and some of the best grey wall paint products for each space from some top brands including Dulux, Farrow & Ball, Sherwin-Williams, and Benjamin Moore.
Cool Greys and North-Facing Rooms – Make the most of all that light
North-facing rooms are the brightest in the house. They drink in all that flattering, middle-of-the-day sunlight and colours are stronger and more true. If you have north-facing rooms with plenty of natural light, pairing it with a cool grey paint will work to enhance the space. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, using a cool colour here will make the room crisper, brighter, and contrast the natural warmth of the light. Warmer colours can come out looking yellowish. Colours that would work well include:
- Benjamin Moore – Gray Cashmere
A beautiful, crisp grey paint, this colour has the right amount of blue and green to elevate it beyond the grey, and allow for exciting and striking colour combinations. No matter the room, this elegant grey will elevate it. Refreshing and fresh.
- Farrow & Ball – Manor House Gray
Tinged with a hint of soft blue, Manor House Gray feels cool, calm, and clean, perfect for contemporary homes or minimal themes. It will bring dimension to your walls and maximise your space, while also being soothing. The paint equivalent of diving into the sea on a warm summer’s day.
Warm Greys and South-Facing Rooms – Complement the cool, faded light
Light in south-facing rooms is cooler and flatter than other rooms, and this will make them appear colder and darker. To combat this, choose a light grey paint with a warm hue like the ‘greiges’ (grey beiges) currently so popular. It will give the room a cosiness and will fight the flatness of the light to make an inviting space, especially in a large room. Darker and cooler greys just suck even more light from the room, making them cold and gloomy. Shades that work well include:
- Dulux – Flooded Gum
The perfect mid-grey to pair with light timber tones such as oak and ash. The warmth of this paint is subtle and sets off beautifully against cooler blues.
- Farrow & Ball – Mole’s Breath
With the popularity of ‘Elephant’s Breath’, Farrow & Ball turned their attention to a far smaller creature. Mole’s Breath is a strong, sophisticated grey that works well as an accent for trim and walls, or to create a room with depth and warmth. Pair this rich, warm grey with complementary neutrals or whites for heightened drama and elegance.
- Sherwin-Williams – Agreeable Gray
Just like its name suggests, this shade is an agreeable and warm grey suitable for any room but particularly where the light is cooler.
Make a Statement with a Dramatic True Grey
The colours above get their warmth or coolness through tinges and hints of other colours like pinks or blues. A true grey is just that – a grey that is just grey. But being ‘just grey’ does not mean these colours are boring. In fact, true greys are some of the most dramatic of the grey wall paint options, and some of the most sophisticated.
- Farrow & Ball – Down Pipe
A favorite among designers and homeowners alike, this Farrow & Ball grey paint is the perfect strong and striking dark grey paint to make a statement. Fabulous when used for trim, the smoky leadness is dark but not depressing and for those who dare it can create true drama in your home, hallway, kitchen, bedroom, or just about anywhere.
- Dulux – Domino
A luxurious grey for use as both a classic feel and a modern accent. Define an architectural feature to give it some added drama or use it as a main colour for maximum impact.
- Benjamin Moore – Cheating Heart
A deep charcoal, this colour is sure to bring drama when used on walls or as gorgeous features on trim and cabinetry. As well as being visually interesting, it is also adaptable. It matches well with a range of style and colour palettes.
Cool morning light and warm afternoon glow
Just like north and south, east and west-facing rooms have different lighting conditions. East-facing rooms get delicate, cool morning light while west-facing room are lit by golden warmth. Bring out the subtle blue and green tones in east-facing rooms to make the most of the slightly blue light. In west-facing rooms, use lighter tones to try to make the room lighter all day round. Ultimately it comes down to hen you use the rooms most, and the lighting at that time.