It does seem a bit odd, writing an article about colour on a colour that is a balanced combination of grey and beige, but alas, when we’re talking about houses we can’t be talking of rich, jaunty colour all the time now, can we? And let’s face it, most of us are a little reserved (perhaps timid) when it comes to choosing colour for our houses, but this doesn’t mean that the results have to be characterless. In fact, one of my favourite interior styles is derived from French country houses and it just happens to be that these spaces epitomise luxurious grey-beige.
As I have probably said before, the most important thing to remember when choosing colour is the mood you want to achieve in your space. As a starting point, defining how you want a space to feel is the very best way to moving towards your end goal and all of the decisions that come along the way (colour, fabrics, finishes, objects). Without a strong underlying Concept, its reasonably unlikely that the best of us would be able to come up with a fabulous result. So no matter who you are, what level of design skills you have, whether you plan to make all of the decisions yourself, or whether you’re intending to employ a professional, the very first step is always to decide on what look you want. Often this comes most easily by way of finding examples of spaces you love, and building slowly from there. Once you’ve done this you should have a collection of images/objects/favourite things that define a very clear style (which may be different for every room – in which case, divide your inspirational stuff into different piles for each different space). If at this point, you still aren’t sure, get in touch with a professional so that they can help you put your ideas into practice, and otherwise, start to think about how these feelings might be catalysed by colour (and see other Colour of the Month posts for some ideas).
If after all this thinking you realise that you’re looking for a space with an overwhelmingly serene, timeless, and elegant feel, Greige might indeed be a good option as your backdrop. What is so nice about Greige is that it is inherently a mix between cool and warm tones, making it extremely flexible according to your space and design Concept. The fact is that light affects colour in such a huge way that it’s really impossible to determine the perfect Greige (or any other colour) without a test pot, but the beauty of this colour is that it’s simply meant to shift and change in the light, and can be a bit cooler (more grey) if you like, or a bit warmer (more brown) if that’s your thing. So whether you’re looking to create a very classic, quite upstanding mood in your space, or a more inviting, relaxed character, it’s all possible with Greige.
It’s easy to find good examples of Greige in situ – and the best ones combine it with classic fabrics, materials and finishes – linen, brass, terracotta, stone, brick, iron, timber, and ornate architectural details. Greige looks lovely next to anything with a patina and wears very well itself over time, so really suits older houses with lots of character. Up against very crisp, modern lines and shiny, polished surfaces Greige can tend towards coldness, so if you have this kind of space and are keen on the colour, go for one with a distinctly browner undertone.