Bookmarks: Shades of Grey

Shades of Grey book with brass candle holder | H is for Home

Interiors journalist, blogger and now author, Kate Watson-Smyth, has produced our favourite interiors book for ages – Shades of Grey.

Shades of Grey frontispage

We do love a bit of grey! We currently use it as the backdrop for all our web shop photos, but also have plans that involve our house too… once we can arrange some decorating time.

Pile of textiles in various shades of grey

But why is grey now so popular? Many people cite the rise in popularity of Scandi dramas; it’s the colour of their landscapes and their homes. Shades of grey are easier on the eye – and therefore easier to live with – than stark black and white. Grey is very versatile; Watson-Smyth calls it the perfect neutral. It goes with just about everything – black, white, brights, pastels and metallics.

Four grey décor vignettes

Watson-Smyth advises that once you’re ready to take the grey plunge, there are a few things you should think about when choosing the shade. The orientation of the room; what direction it faces. The time of day the room is most used. Even in which hemisphere you live.

Advice on using grey in a north-facing room

Every page is adorned with inspirational images of grey interiors in every shade – from the palest ash to the darkest midnight. Helpfully, many of the photographs include details of the colour and manufacturer. If you already have a particular brand and shade of grey in mind, the index at the back lists the page of each photo that uses it.

Dark grey armchair in front of a wood-burning stove

The book is full of essential, easy-to-read advice; helping you avoid the (often expensive) pitfalls that can occur if updating your home’s colour scheme.

Wood panelled bedroom painted in Farrow & Ball's 'Railings'

It’s also peppered with quotes and advice from interiors experts such as interiors maven Abigail Ahern and Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director at Dulux, along with lots of grey-related facts & trivia.

Silver and green-grey bathroom

After reading the book from cover to cover, I’m pretty sure of the path ahead. I want to go for a vertical graduating effect with the colour deepening as you move up through the floors of the house.

'Choosing the right shade of grey' chapter

We live in an often gloomy Pennine valley bottom so our east-facing front room which is used during the day will need a warm, light-enhancing shade such as Little Greene’s French Grey.

Grey painted vintage industrial kitchen

Our bedroom is on the middle floor; west-facing and often bathed in wonderful, golden evening light. Getting out of bed on a cold winter’s morning however, is a different story. Mole’s Breath is a beautiful, soft mid-grey which waking up enveloped by would be a joy.

Grey painted bedroom with shelf of light coloured ceramic vases

We spend much of the evening in our top-floor den, so the very deep dark grey of Farrow & Ball’s Railings on the walls, skirting and ceiling would transform the room into a dramatic – yet cosy, embracing cocoon.

Dark grey painted fireplace and alcove with floating shelves

Shades of Grey is available from Amazon and Hive.

[Many thanks to Ryland Peters & Small for this review copy]