Interior Design

Adding colour to grey designs: which colours work with grey?


A mix of black and white, archetype grey has proven to be a big hit in interiors over the past year or so. When looking at kitchen design trends for 2019, we mentioned that soft neutral colours including grey are popular and you don’t need to look hard to see that this is the case across industries. Whether you look in a landscape architect’s sketch book, walk into an interiors shop, or even a car sales room, grey products are centre stage. In fact, grey was the most popular car colour in the UK in January this year.

The Guardian have hinted at worrying for the nation’s mental health in light of our obsession with this colour. “The nation’s decorators have seized on the drabbest colour in the palette. Are they trying to say something about our collective psyche?” So what’s all the fuss about and exactly what is so appealing about such a neutral – or as the Guardian put it, drab – colour? Here’s a quick background on the psychology behind grey interiors.


Grey kitchen interiors: colour psychology

Grey is virtually absent of colour, meaning that when we look at it, we see a colour that is neither black nor white. Grey is actually the only colour that doesn’t have any positive psychological properties, meaning that it has neither a positive or negative impact on mood. Because of this, grey draws no attention to itself, keeping its distance and remaining separate. Hence its strength in a neutral colour scheme.


Creating a calm space

These neutral qualities mean that grey is the perfect colour for creating a neutral and relaxing environment where you can switch off from your surroundings rather than being stimulated by them. Surrounding yourself with grey is like cocooning yourself from the outside world. Over time, a pure grey colour scheme can be energy draining. While the kitchen is a space for relaxing, it is also a place for creativity and activity. This is why it’s a great idea to pair grey with splashes of colours that do have a positive effect on your emotions (without overwhelming them, if a calming feel is what you’re aiming for).

Complementing grey

The best part about choosing complementary colours to go with your grey is that its understated persona makes grey the perfect partner for supporting accents of colour. As grey doesn’t have a ‘personality’ of its own, paired with any other colour, it allows that colour to be visible whilst the grey itself takes a back seat.


What colours match with grey?

Choose a grey that’s from the same colour family as the rest of the colours you’re using. Read this post from Dulux to see what we mean by this and to help choose your grey. That way it will harmoniously resonate and not jar or drain the other colours. If you have a colour that is overpowering, you can tone it down (drain it) by using grey. Look at your surfaces, walls, floor boards and kitchen accessories and check the theme or which features of your kitchen you want to accentuate. It’s best to use the shade of grey that resonates with you and compliments the rest of the room.

Grey is an extremely versatile colour with many shades and tones to choose from. There are warm greys (yellow based) and cool greys (blue based). Here’s an overview of which families of grey go with which colour combinations.


Accent colours for grey kitchen

Grey colour combinations: light and cool shades of grey

Combine lighter and cooler shades with:

  • Lime green/banana yellow
  • Cherry Red
  • Sunshine Yellow


Grey colour combinations: dark and warm grey

Pair darker shades with:

  • Electric blue
  • Dark green
  • Mustard yellow

Warm greys such as angora grey, dusk and stone work well with:

  • Beige
  • Orange soda
  • Blushy pinks
  • Navy blue
  • Gold yellow


Read this post from Dulux to help choose your grey and take a look at Shutterfly’s post for visual inspiration on the above colour combinations.

To see some of our latest projects, visit our Instagram profile. And for more info and inspiration from Burnhill projects, view our Elegant Kitchens page.

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