I recently completed a project to decorate and style the ground floor living spaces of a Victorian home in South West London. The clients love the colour grey but are not averse to pops of colour.
When the clients bought the house the large kitchen diner, which is south facing on to the garden, already had a contemporary kitchen installed and dark grey floorboards. For the walls, I chose Farrow & Ball 'Ammonite' which has a lovely understated appearance so would not overpower the space. As Farrow & Ball describe Ammonite "it is not gritty or industrial but has a subtle grey tone that suits all contemporary homes". Given the contemporary kitchen, I wanted to soften it with some upcycled vintage pieces which the clients love. We chose a beautiful French sideboard and a glazed cabinet from Quirky Dovetail a local interiors shop and had them painted in Farrow & Ball 'Downpipe' a dark lead grey with definite blue undertones, with a distressed paint finish. A large free-standing shelf unit from website www.notonthehighstreet made from reclaimed scaffold and piping adds a distinct industrial look which juxtaposes beautifully with the vintage pieces. A zinc topped table and white chairs adds character to the space as does the dark navy sofa from sofa.com. I added pops of colour especially yellow with accessories - cushions, throws, plates from Anthropologie in the glazed cabinet and other items. I never style a room without flowers and this enormous vase of amaryllis is perfect on the large island.
The sitting room was more of a challenge as it is a north facing room so gets no direct sunlight. The room has traditional shutters on the sash windows so we decided against adding any further window dressing. The original floorboards were already stained dark brown. I chose Farrow & Ball 'Elephant's Breath' for the walls and alcoves which is a warm contemporary grey so a good colour in a cold north facing room and I chose teal/blue as the accent colour. I had their sofa re-upholstered in a dark grey velvet with warm lilac undertones by J Brown called Modena velvet - 14401 Gallant Grey. The teal/blue accent colour was added in an upcycled Victorian style armchair which I had re-upholstered in Romo Black Lecce Gunmetal 7660/01 and piping in Kirkby Sahara K5044/97 Teal and in the cushions on the sofa in the same armchair fabric and two in the wonderful zigzag Romo Marlow Bilberry 7626/03 add colour and pattern.
The mirror was a great find at the local interiors shop, Quirky Dovetail and adds an interesting focal point. I like to put my clients to work (just kidding!) so I had the husband paint the demi-lune table in Annie Sloan 'Graphite' and I even set him the task of colour coordinating the books on the shelves to create more of an art feature. He actually enjoyed himself! The room is a work in progress - it still needs a statement chandelier/overhead light, wall art and a some lamps - but it is already a stylish space that they are proud of.
And last but not least, the entrance hall which is painted in Farrow & Ball 'Purbeck Stone' below the dado rail and Ammonite above. The tiles are contemporary Fired Earth tiles which the previous owners had added so we had to work with them. The clients are not fans of the floor tiles but with the Roger Oates 'Henley Soft Black' and the console table which I had painted in Annie Sloan 'Graphite' the tiles have in fact been enhanced by the dark grey runner and console table. I love the way the orange tulips complement the orange in the tiles!
I hope this project has given you some inspiration for your own grey room schemes. The important thing is not to be afraid to add pops of colour in accessories and flowers.