I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog recently - life’s ups and downs have gotten in the way and I lost a bit of motivation for a while. But, thanks to the new Great Indoors podcast from two of my favourite interiors gurus, Kate Watson-Smyth (Mad About The House) and Sophie Robinson, my enthusiasm has returned with a vengeance. This is mainly because in the very first episode the ladies discussed the possibility that - shock, horror! - grey is dead.
Yes, you heard correctly. As someone whose go-to neutral is grey (seriously, surely no-one needs 16 grey jumpers but that’s how many I have!) I was a little disturbed by this. Although I didn’t totally jump on the grey bandwagon and paint the whole house in it, I have accessorised with it quite a lot.
The problem with grey is that is has become the easy option. Most people tend to think that by painting a room with a designer brand of grey it will instantly make it classy and stylish. It’s no surprise that two of the most popular shades are Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe and Little Greene’s French Grey (shown, left). In that sense it has become the 21st century Magnolia: the lazy decorator’s neutral.
The other thing one should bear in mind when reflecting on the grey phenomenon is the social and economic climate. Trend forecasters such as Pantone take this in to account when compiling their yearly colour palettes. Let’s not forget that the UK and indeed the world has been through several years of austerity and budget cuts and this has filtered its way in to our homes with many people taking the Scandinavian, minimalist approach to decorating. Luxury and decadence were to some extent deemed as vulgar during these solemn times; we wanted our homes to be simple and unfussy, utilitarian but stylish at the same time. Using grey is the perfect way to achieve a modest interior which also manages to look elegant.
Now that times are a-changing and there is optimism in the air we are returning to colour. It is as though the sun is beginning to burn its way through those designer grey clouds - we want warmth and fun back in our homes.
Yes, colours such as pink, blue and green are gaining popularity but Farrow & Ball’s newest examples of these colours, ‘Jitney’, ‘De Nîmes’ and ‘Treron’ have serious grey undertones and last month Benjamin Moore announced its Colour of the Year for 2019 as Metropolitan AF-690 which is, you guessed it, grey.
These so-called ‘new neutrals’ are, in my book, just greys by another name so don’t panic if you’ve just decorated your entire home in this timeless colour.
Grey is dead, long live Grey.