Shades of Grey: Decorating with the most elegant of neutrals

Shades of Grey: Decorating with the most elegant of neutrals

The colour grey is absolutely on trend: it is fresh and modern, and blends perfectly with all other colours. The book “Graue Eleganz – Die perfekte Wohnfarbe” is the translation of the original title “Shades of Grey: Decorating with the most elegant of neutrals” by author Karen Watson-Smyth. The original book was published at the beginning of 2016 by Ryland Peters & Small. In the same year, Wiebke Krabbe translated the book into German, and it was then published by Busse Verlag GmbH. The book offers an inspiring insight into the world of grey hues and helps you to find the right shade of grey for your various interior spaces.


Grey: non-colour versus trend colour

If we consider the history of the colour grey, it becomes clear that the colour has undergone a fundamental image makeover. For centuries, grey was more or less considered a “non-colour”, and was not seen in a very favourable light. It was the colour of prisons and warships, and in the Middle Ages it was even dubbed “the colour of the poor”.

Precisely this image is also reflected in the German language, as many of our familiar associations with the colour grey are negative. For example, when we speak about a “graue Maus” in German (“grey mouse”), we are referring to a “wallflower” – a rather shy and unimposing person that does not stand out and is very introverted. And when we say the weather is “grau in grau” (“grey in grey”), it is certainly not a positive statement, as it means that it is raining all day.

Fortunately none of this applies to grey as an interiors colour. It has long since brushed off its dusty and negative image, gradually transforming in recent years to become a favourite with interior designers. This is also reflected in the current colour palette from international paint manufacturer Dulux, which now comprises 550 shades of grey, despite the fact that grey is considered one of the most difficult colours on account of the numerous tonal combinations.


Living amidst elegant grey

Living amidst elegant grey

While grey is a neutral colour, it lends sophistication to any home and furnishings, giving it a streamlined elegance. The colour can be fresh yet dark and theatrical all at the same time. Depending on where and how it is used, however, it can also achieve a pale and Nordic-cool appearance. It works best when used in a Scandinavian-style interior. It also suits the style of industrial design, which has been making a come-back in recent years.

Jane Rockett, co-founder of fashionable interiors online shop “Rocket St George” loves grey and once said: “Grey is the ideal partner for all those treasures you have in your home, because it is the perfect background against which to showcase them.” So if you want to make your treasures sparkle, you are sure to like grey, the all-rounder of colours.


Not all greys are the same – how can I find the perfect shade of grey?

Not all greys are the same – how can I find the perfect shade of grey?

The number of shades of grey and tonal combinations is so vast that it is difficult to find the perfect hue. It is particularly important in this regard to be aware of the impact that the shade of grey you use will have. Does it feel rather cold and dark or even energy-sapping, or it is understated and elegant yet modern? How do I know which shade suits me and matches my home?

Kate Smyth provides the answers in her book. Combined with lots of expert advice, useful information, facts on how the colour grey affects our psychological state and historical background information, she leads the reader step by step in choosing the right shade of grey. Atmospheric and inspiring photos of sample interiors with different styles, accompanied by the expert opinions and informative quotes of well-known interior designers, trendsetters and entrepreneurs, round off the book.


Author Kate Watson-Smyth

Kate Watson-Smyth is a journalist specialising in interiors and design. She wrote for “The Independent” for 15 years, and her work appeared regularly in “The Financial Times”, “The Daily Mail”, “The Daily Telegraph” and “The Guardian”. In 2010 she sold her house, which she had renovated extensively and which was subsequently shown in various magazines. This also marked the start of her award-winning blog
Mad About The House”.

Shades of Grey: Decorating with the Most Elegant of Neutrals*

Posted on 18.10.2017

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