Greige is the New Beige

Greige: the state of undyed, unbleached cloth. In the design world, it’s the new beige. A color with a rawness and unfinished look. In terms of color, it’s seen in the million shades of grey. It is also defined as a color between grey and beige. In terms of design trend, it’s the feel that you’d find in more modern homes, rustic modern (see my previous post) and traditional homes with a modern look. Benjamin Moore came up with a new color palette called Color Stories . The palette consists of 8 color volumes and it’s no accident that two volumes, “Shades of Gray” and “Naturally Neutral”  have greys and grays. Grey colors are traditionally vague since we have warm greys and cool greys and then we have colored greys under the umbrella of grey matters.  For specific greige colors, see my more recent post: “Name that Greige”.

Benjamin Moore used this image for inspiration when the company came up with some of the grey colors in their “Shades of Gray” color line. This image tells me a grey story that’s at the same time nuanced and broad in spectrum. I have yet to grasp the concept of full spectrum color – using no white or black in the base for paint – offering such a breathtaking array of greys. Another contradictory issue is that grey is supposed to be neutral or achromatic, yet warm greys are colors that have a slight pigment of yellows or reds while cool greys tend to show a tint of blue or green.

Well, enough about color theories and nomenclature. On to the visual goodies… The grey color family produces its own “grey areas” and its offspring can get quite complicated for some of us who are not equipped to be genealogists. So, we start with simply warm or cool greys which are the two predominant variants of the family.

Cool but borderline warm grey.

Nothing but warm grey. It helps to have an interesting space where one relies on geometry to set off the spatial play in a sea of greyness.

Definitely warm grey with the additional rustic textures.

Antiqued warm grey.

Warm grey with white background.

Cool grey metal tub setting the tone for the rest of the bathroom.

Cool grey works well in a bathroom especially when tied in with White Carrera marble.

Cool grey cabinets for a kitchen.

A nice balance of light warm grey and white.

 Grey doesn’t have to be in paint. There is depth when we see grey in the texture of salvaged wood.

Grey in concrete has its charm.

There is a fail proof quality in using plaster for grey in walls.

Grey in wallpaper!

One dimension greyness. It becomes quite dreamy when used quite monochromatically in the examples above. One has to be very assertive about liking this much grey and not be afraid of it becoming drab. There is a zen quality in this peaceful use of restraints.

Some of us would rather be more colorful with grey even if it’s just one little touch of color for accent.

Cool grey and light blue is a popular combination.

Light grey and green can be quite refreshing.

Orange with warm grey – how creative.

Cool grey works with orange as well.

Grey pairs well with its twin – Cool grey Carrera marble with warm grey wall.

Warm grey paired with gold – Who would have thought of that?

Grey has been the modish color to use when it comes to modern interior thanks to its neutrality in hues. But to achieve warmth, one has to resort to texture such as tile, concrete or wood.

Grey wood cabinet. Just the ticket to a warm modern interior.

 Who wouldn’t begrudge the owner this monumental concrete fireplace?  Such presence against the grey waters beyond.

Tile – More power to the wall when it’s clad in tile from floor to ceiling.

How much grey can one interior take? How does one decide how dark a grey can be?

One can play it safe with a light grey. Let the details speak by themselves, unencumbered by colors.

One can go quite dark with grey for mood and brood.

Is this greige trend going to be a short lived fad? Is it too depressing to have that much grey in one’s home? Is this a tell tale sign of our economic downturn? Does this only work in a colder climate since a lot these interiors might have stemmed from Belgian and Swedish interiors? Design in interiors is as trend motivated as fashion with the difference being that our season is a tad longer than quarterly. I think the trick is to use grey in a sleight of hand manner- light, quick flashes and easily adaptable.

For me, it’s the zen quality in using greige that I am most drawn to. If interiors speak to us in a language, let there be poetry in it.

Photos via: Benjamin Moore, Image Search @, shopgramercy.blogspot, greigedesign.blogspot,, belgianpearls.blogspot, tenscenicdrive.blogspot, Peter Zimmerman Archtiects + Hobbs Inc.,, Brunchatsaks.blogspot,, goldchalk.blogspot,, Jonathan Adler,, Decorno.blogspot,,,,, myfrenchcountryhome.blogspot,,, Richard Powers,

2 thoughts on “Greige is the New Beige

  1. Pingback: Name that Greige | Living x Design

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