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The goodness of grey

From the Resene Style Guides - styling ideas for your home

In any one of its shades, grey is my go-to neutral. From misty, silvery shades to serious urban tones, it’s no wonder that many shades of grey have become the backdrop in our homes.

Hugely versatile, you can partner grey with pretty much any other colour – think vivid yellows, cruisy blues, blush to hot pink, deep magenta, and any monochromatic black or white. You’ll only be restricted by your imagination!

Choose dove or French greys to work with bone whites, pale timbers, layers of texture and accents of bold colour and black for a Scandinavian look, or whitewash timber and rustic furnishings for a beachy or country look. Or with brighter accents for a fun contemporary twist.

Just like white, not all greys are created equal. ‘True’ greys are a straight mix of white and black, but there are many others that have a subtle twist of added colour to turn them stormy or warm, creating the perfect solution for those who find true grey hard to handle. If you’re considering a warm grey, then look to nature for your inspiration. River stones, rock, bark, and even animal fur can inspired you. Stormy greys are those with an undertone of blue or green, just like a stormy sky.

Make chevron stripes with masking tape

Chevron and stripes

Create a modern version of the feature wall by breaking out the masking tape, and creating a fun geometric pattern. It’s a great way to showcase any colour without it overpowering the room. In this room, the neutrality of grey can easily be dressed up with any accent colour, depending on the gender and age of the occupant.

Note: Use a low-tack masking tape from Resene for projects like this. This type of tape will come off easily, without damaging your freshly painted design.

Get the look: Resene Grey Chateau, Resene Half White Pointer

Paint a wall two tones

Tide line

Keep the look fresh by pairing your low-level colour with a lighter alternative up top. By running white into the ceiling it creates an illusion of an even higher ceiling, and therefore a larger room.

Tip: Get your proportions right – with its high-stud ceiling this room calls for a half-and-half wall treat.

Get the look: Resene Atmosphere, Resene Sea Fog

Dining room style

Dining style

If true greys are too cool for your look, opt for one with a warm edge, and use as a feature wall to anchor or separate areas in an open-plan space

Get the look: Resene Half Friar Grey

Tip: The Resene Whites & Neutrals range lets you build entire colour schemes by using variants of the same grey. Check it out at your local Resene ColorShop.


Tip: Greys with blue undertones are steely and cool. Treat with caution and consider your accents and placement to get the look just right. Green-tinged greys are warmer and easier to work with as they go well with many timbers and natural materials. Greys with purple or lavender undertones are feminine and warm.

Tip: Give your greys some sparkle – check out the host of options in metallic silvers and pewters from the Resene Metallics and Special Effects range.


Download a PDF of this article

Words: LeeAnn Yare. Pictures: Larnie Nicolson.

Resene Style Guides
Styling ideas for your home – how to achieve popular decorating looks with inspirational photos, great advice and paint colour suggestions.

View more guides


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