The trend for grey living room colour schemes – and a grey palette used in any room for that matter – is going nowhere. Why? Because grey living room ideas have so many guises that it makes it an incredibly easy colour to use.
Most people see it as a modern neutral colour scheme with more of a point of view than white or oatmeal tones. It can be warm, or it can be cool. It can be muted, or to it can be ultra-bold.
Here we look at some of our top grey living room ideas – 15 grey colour schemes and combinations to try for yourself.
Image Credit: Studio L
Chic and carefully stated, Studio L’s take on a classic grey living room idea features floor-to-ceiling grey curtains, a textured raffia wallpaper, organic rug and sophisticated modern furniture.
“The aim of this grey colour scheme living room was to make the formal, first-floor front room feel luxurious without being overly stuffy and appeal to both men and women. We combined modern furniture with metallic accents for a touch of glamour and pieces with Mid-century references such as the chandelier and the curved sofa in leather to help it feel more casual and fun.”
Image Credit: Greg Natale
Bold, daring and sultry, going for a darker grey living room and using it in a maximalist way is a look championed by Australian interior designer Greg Natale who has become world-renowned for his risk-taking living room colour schemes.
Choose a more saturated grey for living room walls and think about carrying the same colour onto your ceiling. Surprisingly, it won’t make your living room feel smaller, but it will absolutely make it more dramatic.
Grey living room decor means a cold scheme, right? Wrong. Grey has so many tints that you can develop something that’s very much warm in tone.
It’s not just about pigment though as Elizabeth Krueger, the designer behind this warm grey living room scene, explains: “The grey lounge feels warm because there is a variety of texture, shape and value. I think it feels warm because the arrangement is interesting and the materials feels inviting. The metal, the beams, the mirror on the table top – they all add to the visual interest and warmth in the room.”
Image Credit: Mandarin Oriental Hotel
If you’re looking to create a setting that’s unlikely to date, choose a shade of grey for your living room that’s not trend-driven (we love nearly-black greys but they are more like fun short-term makeovers rather than timeless).
A mid-grey, like dove grey, is more classic. It pairs well with most other colours, but because it falls in the middle, it means you can use shades that are lighter and darker to achieve harmony.
Mid-grey therefore suits living rooms in period properties very well, like this grey living room decor at London’s luxury Mandarin Oriental hotel.
Such a meant-to-be colour coupling, grey and white marks a simple but beautifully cohesive colour combination. Dark grey, mid-grey and pale grey all work well with white, and the colour duo suits any style of property too, from a sleek and contemporary loft apartment to a modern country barn conversion.
“Grey living rooms make for very elegant and private spaces, which actually can be very difficult to execute,” says Louise Bradley who designed this space, “As in all interiors, balance and harmony are key when creating exceptional spaces. That’s relevant to both interiors which use broad palettes of saturated colours and to spaces which have a more limited palette – the latter is actually more challenging to work with. What to a naked eye might look like a grey living room, at closer inspection is a space featuring various tones of the colour, accompanied by hues of white and black, together with muted golds and even touches of very dark blues and purples. The whole scheme is further brought to life with specialist wall finishes, fabrics of different textures as well as bespoke rugs and accessories. In truth, these grey living rooms are vibrant and full of expression.”
If you’re designing a grey and white living room like this living room, commit to the combination by using contrasts on your walls, floor, furniture and accessories. It’s a sure-fire way to achieve a crisp aesthetic and easy coordination.
Image Credit: LuxDeco
A grey living room can also be achieved by using lots of layers of colour. Wall colour is an obvious place to start.
Here, our in-house Interiors Director, Linda Holmes has developed a scheme that uses a soft, brown-based grey on the walls and developed the rest of the living room’s palette around it: “The base colour of your grey is what will really define your living room’s atmosphere, and it should guide what else you put in the room too. This grey is soft, warm and subtle. I’ve then used a similar grey on the pendant’s lampshade and a coffee table with a smoked metal frame. The picture frames and art within them have grey tones too, and even the wooden flooring has hints of grey. This gentle accents of colour will help you to create a grey living room, but one that’s on the quieter side.”
Take the grey and white living room look one further by picking out a strong grey, like graphite grey or charcoal, and using it full-scale on your walls so your living room is enveloped in its dark hue.
Then, inject a statement piece of white furniture and the odd sharp white accent, like a picture frame or ceramic vase, to cut through the grey matter.
It’s a look that’s not quite as harsh as a monochrome contrast and, while it’s bold because you’re putting polar opposite shades in a room together, it doesn’t have to be scary. Dark grey and white are a match made in heaven.
Grey living room furniture is a popular choice for that bachelor pad vibe. Because of its neutral base, it’s easy to style your grey living room so that it feels more stereotypically masculine or feminine.
To channel a more masculine look, try using a few different grey tones in your lounge but with the focus being on dark and mid-grey.
You could even mix in a few combination colours like petrol blue or teal.
Furniture-wise, keep the grey theme going with chrome or nickel finishes, or even matte black frames and ebony-hued or burnt wood finishes.
Image Credit: BHDM Design
One of the most sophisticated ideas to warm up a grey living room in a perfectly handsome way is to enhance the colour palette with the warm tones of a tan leather.
This BHDM living room contrasts the moody tones of Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal with woven Bobo Intriguing Objects chairs and widely-mounted Louis Vuitton book pages.
“Grey living rooms are easy to live in and to layer up with other neutrals,” claims the studio’s Dan Mazzarini, “Here, we picked a smokey colour to complement the hearth-side appeal of this library. Moody and dark, this room is cool during the day, and embracing in the dark. We love to mix greys with saddle, black and white for a graphic, neutral space.”
Image Credit: Hilton Opera Paris
Lime green is a colour that raises eyebrows, but, when it’s used in combination with the right neutral as the base shade, it suddenly becomes less 10-year-old’s-bedroom and far more grown-up.
We love it here in one of the suite sitting rooms at The Hilton Opera in Paris. The barely-there shade of grey used on the living room walls, in the rug’s weave, on the lampshades and upholstery is instantly elegant and calming.
Using white on the other hand would’ve been a contrast too crisp and a touch tropical for lime green’s zingy nature.
Image Credit: Katharine Pooley
When you think of calming colours, grey tends to be near the top of the list. The lighter shades of grey are soothing and fresh.
Use those on your living room walls, such as in this Katharine Pooley apartment which has grey living room wallpaper in silk which has a subtle reflective sheen that encourages soft lighting.
The mixture of calming colour and textiles that feel soothing against the skin will come together to help you achieve a space to unwind in.
Looking back to teal for a moment, you can add a third colour to your teal-grey palette to break things up. Adding white means that you have three colours sharing the limelight.
Split the three shades equally or if you want one to rule, just play with the ratio, like in this grey living room by Finchatton where grey is the primary shade with the occasional white or teal accent.
Jiin Kim-Inoue elucidates, “What makes grey such a versatile choice for a living room is that, due to its many shades, you can create an elegant living space with virtually any tone. In order to avoid looking “flat”, I would suggest using varying shades from one to another. For example, if you decide to use mid-tone grey on wall, I would opt for a richer tone of grey on curtains to set the walls off. Then use a lighter shade of grey on the sofa so it creates an interior with depth and layers.”
Glossy paint finishes are for the brave. We’ve become used to matte finishes on our walls with the occasional appearance of eggshell paint finishes in certain rooms, like hallways, kitchens or bathrooms. But full gloss? In a living room? If it’s a look you’ve been tempted to try, mid-grey is a good place to start.
Mid-grey is a safer shade than some – it’s one we feel at ease with, and pale grey can be a bit too light-reflective and so would dramatise a gloss finish.
Image Credit: BHDM Design
“While grey can be warm and cocoon-like on its own (think of a great cashmere sweater), we like to use it as a backdrop to other colour,” says Dan Mazzarini, “From black and white to enlivened colour, grey acts like a shadowy scene-setter and can let other pieces take centre stage.”
Pieces like a framed agate and stone collection and the sharp tang of an orange throw is the perfect counteraction for this purple grey living room.
Image Credit: Jean-Louis Deniot
Since their 2016 launch, Jean-Louis Deniot’s designs for Parisian hotel Nolinski Paris captivated the hearts and minds of creatives the world over.
The common areas are nothing if not immersive – the stairwells are bedecked in ominous painted clouds and the dining area is awash with teal tones and a sculptural tree. It made sense, then, for the designer to return to his classical architectural training for the private spaces, resulting in refined, calming guest rooms and suites.
Representative of the predominantly grey bedrooms, this living room contrasts grey walls with white wall mouldings and accents the colourless palette with coffee brown drapes and deep brown woods.