Decorating: Inspiring Ways to Add Colour to a Grey Scheme

There’s no denying the appeal of an all-grey scheme, but an accent colour can give it that extra bit of magic

By Michele Longoni  / Courtesy of

If you think grey might be just a bit too cool for a family home, think again. Mix it with a splash of colour and plenty of natural light, and grey can transform any room into a chic yet practical space. Many of you will remember the magnolia era, and may well have embraced the switch to grey. If not, it might be time to finally find your shade andtransform your interior into something spectacular. 

The magic of grey is that it provides the perfect backdrop for an accent colour or two, and can both frame bright colours and enhance subtle hues. Check out these ways to bring colour into a grey scheme.

Add colour through soft furnishings
Grey can be a wonderful choice for anyone who has constantly changing tastes. Teenagers in particular are known for wanting to paint their bedrooms in all sorts of interesting colour combinations. Using grey as the base colour for brighter accents, in the form of artwork and soft furnishings, gives you – and your kids – the freedom to express your personalities without doing any permanent damage.

Check out 10 ways to personalise a rented home

Opt for metallics
Colour doesn’t have to be matt. In this pale grey kitchen, a polished copper panel and pendant lights add an interesting dimension to the room. Grey softens the look, allowing the metals to take centre stage.

Transform a traditional feature
Saturated colours really stand out against grey. In this example, a usually mundane and traditional object – a radiator – has been turned into a feature using fuchsia paint against a grey background. The grey allows the pink to stand out, and is a great way to transform a traditional element into something bold and contemporary.

Inject personality into a cabinet
For a colour as fiery as red, moderation is key. It’s so bright that contrasting it with white or black in such a small space might be too harsh. Soft grey, on the other hand, works beautifully with the red to give this fitted wardrobe a fresh, modern twist. 

I love to use this trick with a drinks cabinet for a bright surprise when you open the doors.

Go for a large expanse
A grey and white scheme with one striking bright looks modern and stylish. Using your chosen colour over a large area, such as on a rug or floor-length curtains, makes a strong statement. Pepper the room with small accessories in the same shade to tie the look together.

Soften a splashback
The kitchen splashback is a classic place to use colour – it’s a relatively small space, and there’s a wide variety of materials and shades available. But a bright splashback does require some softening, and grey cabinets above and below the turquoise splashback in this room ensure it’s bright without being overwhelming. 

Browse clever style steals to add personality to your kitchen

Warm up a cold bathroom
An all-grey bathroom can be a bit too bland and functional. Invigorate the space by introducing some bold colour. This room shows how you can tweak a potentially stark grey slate bathroom in a fun and surprising way by adding a single brightly coloured wall panel.

Showcase jewel brights
Using jewel-coloured furniture against dark grey walls can create a dramatic and sophisticated effect. Go for rich colours and fabrics, like these turquoise and emerald velvets, for the ultimate in contemporary elegance.

Perk up a patio
Grey works wonderfully inside, so why not give it a go outside, too? For the winter months, though, it’s crucial to mix in some colour to keep your garden space bright and uplifting. Dividing walls, built-in seating and planters can all be painted grey. Then drop in brightly coloured seat covers, contrasting cushions and zingy furniture to complete the look.

Get eclectic
While grey can provide the perfect backdrop to highlight one accent colour, there’s no reason why you have to stop there. If you fancy more of a mixture, go right ahead. As you can see with this artistic living room, variety really can be the spice of life.