Shades of Grey… the story so far [Part 1]

Almost 3 months since my post discussing the ‘great decorating project’ and finding the perfect shade of grey for the job, I figured it was time to share the fruits of our labour with you.

I’ve been waiting and waiting because it’s still not finished. The work itself was finished within about 2 weeks, which might seem a long time, but we refitted all the picture rails and installed architrave around the knocked through archway that we did when we moved in. That was a lot of woodwork to prime and paint, never mind the rest. We also had new carpet fitted which added a little more time.

So in that respect it’s finished. We’ve also added a few pieces that I’m quite proud of, new light fittings which I’m really pleased with, a film-set style lamp and a hide rug, now simply known as ‘the cow’ in our house. 🙂

What I haven’t finished are the tiny finishing touches that make a room. All the recent series I’ve done on grey with accent colours has been inspiring me to add a few flashes of colour and I’ve found a few bits but I need to actually follow through and buy them. Add to that a lot of weekends away and a ridiculous amount of day time work and I just haven’t gotten around to finishing up. But that could take forever, so I thought I’d jut get on and share the ‘after’ with you all aready.

First up, the befores….

I guess some of you would be thinking that you quite liked it before, it certainly wasn’t a fixer-upper, but the red damask wallpaper felt old to me now. My tastes have changed and although it worked well with the house, I wanted a more grown up take on it 5 years after moving in.

As I’m writing this, it’s turning into a massive post so I’m going to divide up the ‘big reveal’ and start with the lounge. It’s the less exciting of the two but I’m pretty pleased with it all the same and the images illustrate some of the more basic but nonetheless important changes.

Ta da!

We didn’t change that much in the lounge, because it really would have been change for the sake of changing. I liked the muted tones of the room, which although not normally my style at all was always very calming when I wanted to just relax on the sofa. We also had to work with existing furnishings, the hessian textured sofa and a chair we have that is in an almost chenille woven fabric that can look chocolate brown, but is shot through with royal blue. The cushions are also blue/brown and the blinds are similar neutral hessian look material with a blue/brown trim.

Because of all this although I wanted grey, it had to be a softer grey and had to tone with the existing furniture. Whilst it would be nice to start again, I’m guessing the majority of you have to do what I did and work with what you have. That, and I wouldn’t swap my sofa for anything! We decided to choose the paint around it toning with the sofa, and after pinning up swatches on every single wall – the light was so different on all of them and made the shades vary from blue-grey to lilac-grey to beige-grey, we went for the one that worked best with it and elsewhere.

We also chose to go with 2 shades of grey, one above the picture rail and one below, giving a subtle reverse ombre effect rising towards the white ceiling. The last paint effect was a slightly unusual choice, we decided to pick out the relief on one row of our original plasterwork coving. I’m really pleased we did as although it’s subtle, it stands out and makes more of a feature of the plasterwork.

The other major thing we did was re-instating the picture rail. We had to go next door and measure their (original) railing to make sure we got it to the right height and the one room took the best part of the day (between my Step-Dad and Pete.) I’m so pleased we did it though, the bright white really stands out against the grey paint and adds to it, giving so much more character to the room and keeping it fresh.

The last addition was our carpet, a loop weave in dove grey. It has subtle flecks, doesn’t show up the cats hair everywhere and works perfectly with the walls and darker wood IKEA TV unit and side table.

The rest of the room despite being the one with the least change over all is the least finished. Although we had intended to move them to the other room, we kept the prints above the sofa as they were, they just looked right and we love them. Currently obsessing over ceramics meant I also kept my old vases, bought in Debenhams home before we even moved here. I’m also loving the addition of mixed metallics so Mum polished up this brass thai budda that has been lacking in love recently and we gave it a prominent place on the shelf alongside my myriad home and garden books.

It’s the fireplace that is so lacking in attention really, previously with a picture over it, I was planning on buying this mirror and still might, but we’re also debating a picture instead. I also want to add a picture shelf to display books on behind the club chair and find a cushion (I’ve already sent one back!) that is neutral but with a splash of colour, I’m thinking neon pink… In the meantime, it’s just a few bits I’ve picked up stopping the mantlepiece look empty!

Next week I’ll share my favourite room with you, the dining room, which I am so proud of 🙂

Do let me know if you have any ideas for the mantlepiece!


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22 thoughts on “Shades of Grey… the story so far [Part 1]

  1. Lovely…I am such a fan of grey…we painted our study grey last yr (a very light grey on 3 walls and a darker on the wall my desk sits against) and I love it.
    I was worried it would be cold but if you find the right shades it isn’t at all and I find it incredibly releaxing…I’m planning on adding green shots of colour but a year on am still trying to find the right shade of green!

  2. My vote would be for a huge big mirror for the mantlepiece! It will make the room seem so much bigger than a picture.

    Thinking the white absolutely makes the greys work if that makes sense? Grey just always seems better with a pop of white to set if off I think. Lovely.

  3. We’re just in the process of going grey ourselves in our hallway. Its quite a dark hallway, so we were worried it the grey may have been a bit too much, but the colour we went for the end (Dulux Perfect Oyster) is just great. A hint of warmth in it still (although don’t be fooled by the colour on their website by the way.. its nothing like that), and it seems to reflect whatever ambient light is around perfectly. Certainly a heck of a lot more appealing than the rather dull magnolia that was in situ before that.
    We’ve paired it up with crisp satin white woodwork, and I’ve made some art prints for the walls in grey/off-white/mustard tones. Just need Emma to decide on a fabric for the curtains now 🙂

  4. I’ve just realised, I didnt say which paints we actually chose!

    The main colour is Eglise Grey by Crown (the Petite Palais range) and the one about the picture rail is Polished Pebble, by Dulux. If you look back at the ‘Shades of Grey post I did about chosing them it shows how different the swatches look!

  5. Love the grey, looks so calming but in a warm cosy way which you wouldn’t always expect with grey. We went for a mix of grey and duck egg blue in our living room but chickened out and went for more blue than grey.

  6. Really like the cleaner look in the lounge and that carpet is lovely. Loving grey and love how you replaced the picture rails and did a two tone colour – so clever and looks fab!

  7. Love the two tone colours – I’ve been thinking about painting above the picture rail in the lounge which is also pale grey and this is a fab idea 🙂

    Just wanted to let you know that if you purchase the mirror from here: you’ll get free shipping (it’s the same price as G&G otherwise) and the guy who runs the site is really lovely and very helpful! It’s where I got the mirror in my dressing room (they have a lot of the same styles as Graham & Green as it happens, many of them cheaper!).

    I really like the pictures you have above the sofa but I would suggest lowering them so that they are closer in relation to the sofa instead of appearing to ‘float’ above it. You want pictures in a room that you would mostly be sat down to be at an ‘enjoyable viewing height’. So sit in the little tub chair near the fireplace and have Pete move them down the wall til you get to a place that works from a seated position 🙂

    Good luck with it all and really looking forward to the dining room reveal! It looks great already, your hard work has definitely paid off! 🙂 xxx

  8. Lounge looks gorgeous Rebecca, loving the greys and look forward to seeing a colour pop soon too! I love the ceiling light in the lounge, can I be cheeky and ask where it is from? Always on the hunt for nice ceiling lights. Look forward to seeing the dining room complete!

  9. I’m so glad I signed up for your weekly round up email last week after you posted about it as I have been waiting eagerly for this and can’t believe I missed it! (My reader usually means I catch all the posts but this one must have slipped through – I think I might have clicked to start reading it then got busy at work so it changed to read!)

    Anyway, so excited to see the fruits of your labour! Re-instating the picture rail is genius, I wish we thought of that as our flat only has one room with the picture rail still there. I love your choice of greys and the fact you painted part of the cornicing. Really like all your accessories so far too, especially that little owl!!


  10. This looks great, I love the grey colours. It’s not a colour I would have chosen for a living room, but having seen it in yours I would definitely consider it when we move again (having just painted our living room “mellow mocha” which I thought would be a pale coffee (surely the name suggests that!), but it has turned into a disappointing lilacy-cream colour. It took ages to do though, so I can’t face re-doing it since we are only in this house for another year or so. There is definitely a lesson to be learned there : use sample pots!
    I also love your ceramic vases, they look lovely against the grey. Well done you!

  11. Hi, I love the shades of grey and was planning doing something very similar in my house. Can I ask where you bought the glass pendant lights from? Thanks

  12. Hi, your house is lovely and I adore the shades of grey. Can I ask where the carpet is from and the colour? Thanks so much

    • Hi Clare 🙂

      I actually don’t know the make of carpet, we bought it from a local Carpet shop who were excellent… Diamond Millennium carpets, on Barlow Moor Rd in Chorlton if you happen to be Manchester based. It is a true dove grey though in a loop pile. I was afraid it would be too cold, or clash with the warmer tone on the wall, but because there are so many complimentary neutral shades of grey and brown, it all seems to blend.

      Hope that helps,

  13. Hi

    I’ve just come across your site while searching online for grey colour scheme inspiration. We love the colours you have used and have decided to copy using the light and dark grey either side of our dado rail. One thing I’m not so sure on is the paint to use on the woodwork (dado and skirting) – gloss seems too shiny but it’s all I’m used to so I’m unsure whether to try satin or even an emulsion instead. I can’t tell from your pictures what you used on the picture rail and skirting – can you share?


    • The grey will look good above and below a dado rail – with the darker shade below.

      We kept all our woodwork white (I like the clean contrast against grey) and we always use an eggshell emulsion for a slight soft sheen.

      Hope that helps and good luck with your decorating!

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