Painting with grey

At the beginning of the year I moved into a new home that could only be described as a granny flat. It’s previous occupant was a seventy-something with a fondness for pond green swags, beige everything and rhubarb pink. It’s new occupant however is a twenty-something with a love for interior decoration and modern, if slightly quirky, design. So, as you can imagine I’ve been very busy with various DIY projects as I re-vamp my flat, room by room. The first room I decided to decorate was the living room and I wanted to do so with grey paint.

I decided that I would go with just the one feature wall (pictured below) as not to drown the room – even though it is a very light room thanks to the large bay window and high ceilings. The shade of grey I chose to go with was Bowler Hat Grey from the Dulux Classic’s range, painting the rest of the walls/features in a simple Brilliant White, also by Dulux. Dulux Classic’s are lovely shades and pretty much – in my eyes – on par with Farrow & Ball’s chalky soft paints. When I started painting I was unsure of how I was going to tackle the shelves and the surrounds so I thought I’d take it step by step. I have to admit, I am not a fan of built in shelves and cupboards; I don’t like their shape or their lack of flexibility. The obvious answer was to rip them out but that currently is not an option, so I have to live with them and hopefully try make them disappear.


When I arrived at the above stage I did not feel comfortable with the outcome, it did not look right. The white frame around the shelves looked prominent and fussy, which definitely was not my plan! When using dark or strong colours it can be a bit daunting making bold decisions, so it’s always helpful to get the opinion of another. Obviously my first point of call was to Pippa! I emailed her a few pictures and asked her opinion on what I should do… paint everything grey, paint just the surround, paint the shelves, paint everything including the cupboards??? Pippa confirmed my feelings and suggested I paint the surround and shelves grey, but paint the cupboard white. And thats exactly what I did (see below) and I think it looks great. The fireplace pops out, the fresh white paint looks sophisticated and most importantly, the shelves appear merged and subtle!! I also think my collection of accessories look great against the grey – especially the coloured items… well I think they do anyway.



Meet Pippa

Pippa Jameson is an author, tv designer and interiors expert. The previous interior editor on several leading UK titles, Pippa has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Throughout her 25-year career, Pippa’s unique and creative approach has won her commissions for large retail brands and celebrities to deliver exciting and engaging projects. 

She’s written the curriculum for the British College of Interior Design, produced and styled shoots for well-known brands including John Lewis, H&M & Team GB/DFS, worked as an International Stylist for leading paint brands in Asia, consulted on the launch and creative direction of major retail names including George Home and Wren, and most recently, published her first book, The Sensory Home. Pippa possesses expertise unmatched in the interior industry.