Fade to Grey

Potography: David Prince

Colour Guide

Colour Scheme
Refined, dynamic, chic, elegant, tonal, harmonised, genteel

Key Textures

Velvet, wool, glass, paper, gloss, felt

Thought I would change the pace a little this week and choose an image that plays with a monochromatic scheme. There are a couple of principles you need to keep in mind if you choose to go down this road. Mix it up with by using various materials which in effect will create texture and depth. Think about how light is reflected and absorbed on the materials. And one other thing, combine 90º angles with curves to keep the space feeling dynamic.

50% of this room is grey. To create a balanced monochromatic scheme use the mid tone as the predominant colour and the light and dark tones as accents. Apart from the walls, grey also has been used on the upholstery, lamp shade and the curvaceous Swedish Mora clock and together they introduce shape and texture. The clock is juxtaposed with the angular sofa and graphic rug. It’s curves loosen and relax the rigidity of the room.

There are a myriad of textures available and this room has used four – matt wall finish, the soft sheen of velvet on the sofa, felt upholstered occasional chairs and ottoman and gloss on the floor and side table. Another technique employed to create texture is detailing like deep-buttoning and piping. It’s all about playing with light- let it skim across a flat surfaces, roll over curves and trip on raised lines. This might sound corny but let light dance around the room from item to item, (Cue the Sound of Music theme).

Moving onto white which is 17% and appears on the ceiling, window frames and skirting. It defines the walls along with giving the sense of them extending further in height.

The curtains are slightly off-white and together with the lamp base equals 8% of the scheme. The subtle change of white between the ceiling to the curtains softness the starkness of the ceiling to the grey tones. By layering all the whites in this way it produces a harmonising scheme. The shape of white lamp base is defined by the grey background. Our eyes are drawn to this contrast. This solid white object in the middle of the room is used it as a point of reference enabling us to process the other elements around it. Let me explain this another way – imagine a grey card with scribbles all over it, put a tiny hole through the centre. Where is your eye drawn to first? The hole! With your eye focused on the hole you are able to adsorb information nearest to it then working your way outwards. The lamp is the hole. Every room needs a focus point, it could be anything – a contrasting colour, unique object – it’s what makes a space feel dynamic and interesting.

The frame of the glossy black lacquered side table is mirrored by the under frame of the armchairs, ottoman and the curtain poles. Just as you have the solid white lamp base, you have the solid black strip on the Hermes throw being used in the same way. A majority of the black gloss floor (which happens to be what we have and FYI, it doesn’t show the dirt any worse than a white floor), has been covered by the graphic patterned rug. Even seeing only a small portion of the black floor it helps ground the scheme as a whole. A total of 12% black has been used.

7% of a lighter grey appears in the throw and the rug. It’s ever so slight and with this kind of scheme you can get away with adding loads more tonal variations.

The 5% charcoal in the rug is the bridge between the floor and the walls as helps layer the colour palette overall.

Whilst the cushions on the sofa are grey they have a slight mauve tinge to them. They just add the 1% of subtle difference.

Two other materials I’d like to mention are the glass and the foliage. As I keep banging on about, the glass ceiling light and vase add sparkle and together with the flowers add life to the room.

Having read all of the above, look at the room again with fresh eyes. There are two neutral colours top and bottom with the mid tone or shade in the middle. If you want to learn more about tonal schemes come along to my Murobond workshop in June. Visit their web site for more details.


TIP: Extend curtains and poles past the window frame to allow in as much day light as possible.

TIP: As with all drapes, once they are hung and light shines from behind them they will change colour. To ensure you keep the correct colour line them with black out cloth.

TIP: To elongate a window fix the pole above the frame and extend curtains to the floor. To do otherwise will make the window feel small and finishing curtains at the bottom of the frame it will visually cut the wall in half.


*The colour on screen is not a true representation of actual colour