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50,000 Shades of Grey

50,000 Shades of Grey

At some point, every colour is declared the ‘new black’. Our journal this month continues our colour philosophy theme by exploring whether ultra-versatile grey might be the closest contender yet (in both shade and appeal). So why is grey, a colour, which many might associate with boredom and misery, so popular?

Grey, and in particular the omnipresent Anthracite Grey, has the same superpower as black: a stealth-like neutrality. Dark grey - which is essentially a tint of black anyway - is an amazing base colour that plays wonderfully with almost any other colour. It is less harsh and absolute than black but retains the same neutral quality that gives other colours a platform to shine. For instance, if you were to place a yellow teapot on a worktop, in a room painted completely grey - your eye is drawn straight to it. Dark grey is more than capable of dominating any room, but it often goes about it quietly. Some might even label it passive-aggressive, or if you prefer, aggressively passive!


Using shades of grey is a bit like having the ability to paint with light. It gives you the power to manipulate light and shade. Pale greys can add depth and dimension to a stark white room, whereas a dark grey almost lets you paint with shadows - it can really enclose a space and add atmosphere. Grey can move walls in our mind by altering our perception of scale. Almost like a 1960s Bridget Riley Op-art painting, but a little more subtle.

Image Credit: Hummingbirds Design

50,000 shades of grey.

There are so many beautiful shades of grey that fifty doesn’t even come close. There are daringly dark greys like Down Pipe by Farrow & Ball, which they claim ‘makes a fabulous backdrop for art’. Farrow & Ball also offer cool, sophisticated light greys like Skimming Stone. With grey you have the option to go for an atmospheric wall-to-wall monochromatic grey, or combine lots of shades to manipulate the light. For a bolder statement, contrast grey cabinetry with a completely different colour - vibrant or pastel, depending on how brave you’re feeling.

Image Credit: Edwardian house on the hill 

Grey in the kitchen.

Grey is a very on-trend colour at the moment, but it’s not an entirely new idea and we can’t see its popularity fading any time soon. It has a timeless neutrality that is elegant and extremely versatile. It fits any aesthetic, whether clean modernist simplicity, Shaker-style painted cabinets, or industrial functionality. Grey gets it done. Contrasting darker grey base cabinets with lighter wall cupboards prevent your kitchen from looking too ‘top-heavy’. Dark grey walls with white cabinetry and a classic fireclay sink can create a sharp contrast that looks fresh and modern.

When considering grey for your kitchen don’t limit yourself to paint alone. Materials like stainless steel and polished concrete can add shine or texture to an industrial scheme. Similarly, granite or slate will do the same in a rustic farmhouse. When choosing your brassware, chrome finishes will add sparkle, whereas pewter will provide a more understated look with its matt finish. For the ultimate sense of luxury, gold taps really pop against a dark grey work surface. Our friends at manufacturers Perrin & Rowe allow you to specify a chrome, pewter or gold finish - or a nickel, brass or bronze finish - on any of their beautiful handcrafted brassware. If you want the focal point of your kitchen to be your crisp white Shaws sink, try mounting it to dark grey cabinetry or any dark worktop to really draw attention.

We think the most interesting thing about a grey kitchen is that it will never be boring. 

If you have a grey kitchen with a Shaws sink, share it with us on instagram we’d love to see it!