Grey’s Anatomy

Photography Ben Anders

Colour Scheme

Colour Guide
Textural, tonal, monochromatic, calm, Scandinavian

Key Textures
Matt finishes, sheep skin, wood, wool, cotton, chrome, mohair, concrete


Notice anything unusual about this image? Look at the ceiling. It’s painted the same colour as the walls and not only that, it’s also an average ceiling height. I’ve done exactly this in our entrance hall, mind you I didn’t tell my husband I was going to do it. ‘I accidentally got paint on the ceiling whilst painting the walls’ – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

When you enter a room where you are enveloped by colour such as this and continue through to a connecting room, it transforms your sense of space and makes it feel much larger or brighter than it actually is. The negative argument against painting the ceiling is generally that the ceiling is too low and that you would feel as if the walls are falling in on you. I disagree, by covering all surfaces it will increase the overall ambience of the room. It’s all relative, ask yourself what feeling do you want to exude. Maybe it’s a moody, cosy or dramatic (depending on the colour) feel you want to create, painting the ceiling will help to achieve this.

The varying shades of grey are, psychologically speaking, neutral. In other words this image should make you feel indifferent but in fact I think it does the opposite. Grey to some is depressing but to others it’s sophisticated. Look at the room as a whole and how it has been furnished but also more importantly how it’s been laid out – the room is dynamic.

The surface area of the mid grey ceiling, walls and sofa upholstery all together total 50% of the interior. The sofa fabric has a slight sheen so it subtly reflects the light where as the walls, being a flat finish, absorb the light. It helps separate each item and saves them from all blending into the wall.

The perfectly even 20% lighter grey on the floor is either a result of linoleum or painted concrete (polished concrete will give you a smooth finish but will reveal the varied concrete texture). Either will give you this finish and both require a professional to install. You don’t often find linoleum or rubber used in living areas in the Southern hemisphere but it’s a good alternative when you want to achieve a continuous and seamless floor covering. The giant anglepoise floor lamp and lampshade are also a pale grey. They are framed by the surrounding darker shade.

14% white appears in flashes throughout the room. The horns, throw, striped cushions, along with the picture and piping detail on the sofa cushions. And lets not ignore the sheep skin stool. Each time it has been used in a different way which adds interest.

A charcoal tone frames the opening of the fireplace, and to add depth to the scheme, the same colour appears in the ticking striped cushions and on the frame of the utilitarian rocking chair. The darker grey has been used on the architectural details like the modern linear window frames and fire hearth as well. All adding a further 8% to the colour scheme.

The wood, with all its variations in colour and texture, is integral to completing this look. And unlike other schemes it’s not a matter of being able to substitute the colour – brown – with a flat paint finish. When you are planning a scheme take the rooms functions into account. The pile of logs play an important part in helping give definition between the sofa and the wall as does the tree stump side tables. They all add texture, depth and a sense of personality to the interior along with being eco. The wood texture is 5% of the space.

By using a grey rug on the floor – with its touch of brown – you achieve a subtle connection between the brown of the log tables and the grey of the floor. Considering the finishes are all generally matt or flat, the 2% neutral tone also adds texture.

Remaining is the mirrored lamp base and black picture frame. Neither warrant a percentage of the overall scheme but they need mentioning as one adds a touch of bling to the room whilst the other allows the picture to stand its own ground against the visual volume of logs.


TIP: Playing with textures is a common tool used to create depth and definition in a monotone scheme.

TIP: If you aren’t able to find the colour or finish you are after, look at what’s available on the commercial market. For example: the choice of colour and designs in flooring brands like dalsouple.

TIP: As much as curtains will live pushed to one side for a majority of the time, you need to take into account how much of their colour will be visible when closed.


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