Love It or Hate It? The Color Greige

Consider it the new neutral.
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White Kitchen

You’ve probably encountered this infamous hue at one point or another and chances are, you have pretty strong opinions on it. Call it beige, dirty cream, or what have you but, the not-so-official, official name is greige. And sure, while there is nothing even remotely alluring about what it’s called, we’re all for giving the gray-beige combo a second chance. Yep, we’re taking a stance and siding with the semi-controversial hue. Just hear us out.

Ahead, we look to the spaces that have taken on the shade with a fresh, new approach, proving that there is a whole more to it than just a mix of gray and beige. Say what you will, but it’s more exciting than just your standard, one-dimensional neutral. Here’s how to make it work.

Jenni Kayne Brown and White Bedroom
Photography by LAURE JOLIET

Considering that fact that the spectrum of shades available for both gray and beige tend to vary widely, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact tone of the color pairing—i.e. we’re stuck with plenty of room for interpretation, which can be a major bonus. Greige is an arguably a spicer take on a neutral yet, it lacks the typical warmth of a beige or cream and falls short on the cool and rigid qualities of tonal grays.

When it comes to decorating with greige, it’s important to start out by pinpointing exactly where the shade will be designated. Whether you choose to bring it in via the flooring, furnishings, or wall paint, it’s important to consider the outlying elements of the room. Being a neutral of sorts, finding a complementary spectrum of hues is easier than one may think, while shades of a bright contrast can work equally as well.

Blue and Red and Taupe Flowers

Pair with hues that contrast.

Take, for example, the backdrop of this eye-catching arrangement, where a saturated pairing of red, blue, and orange establish a dynamic effect that invites a layer of interest to the scene. Recreate this palette in the living room by reserving a similar hue for the walls. Bring in furnishings that will inspire a bold contrast against the backdrop—think an orange velvet sofa or bright red side table (if you’re not feeling quite as brave).

White Bedroom

Layer with neutrals. 

While instinct may inspire you to take a high contrast approach when layering greige with colors, you may just as well adopt a pared-down aesthetic. One wherein a reserved scope of tonal creams and grays can act as a leavening agent, elevating the subdued elegance of the hue.

In this serene spot, the color comes by way of the bedding, beautifully paired against an off-white backdrop that skews towards the warmer palette. Note how there’s a split contrast between the two opposing schemes, as one skews heavily towards the warmer and the other towards the cooler tones, all the while playing to the duality of greige. A variety of cozy textures invite an element of interest while the rustic details of the room contribute to the overall finish.

Take to the floors.

Lighter toned flooring is a major trend and this particular shade fits right in, especially if you’re looking to emulate a mod-meets-rustic aesthetic. Standing in as a solid base and backdrop for the remaining decorative elements of a room, the surprisingly serene greige can complement a wide variety of palettes and finishes, as seen in this upstate New York home. Glossy black furnishings paired with sleek metallics (brass encouraged) lend a modern and style-focused finish while a curated selection of bright, cozy textiles offer up a dynamic detail.

Paint to try: Cornforth White, Farrow & Ball

Photography by JONNY VALIANT

Shiplap the walls. 

Embrace the modern farmhouse aesthetic and install shiplap walls in a soothing shade of greige—as opposed to the stark whitewash or subtle cream, which have been prevalent as of late. Matte black detailing, industrial-esque accents, and plenty of natural light help usher the look into one seriously trendy and wow-worthy finish.

Paint to try: Elephant’s Breath, Farrow & Ball

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

Layer in textiles.  

Utilize the hue to establish an element of interest to an all-white space, without having to forgo a completely monochromatic look. In this stark white bedroom, the hue comes in by way of the textured throw at the foot of the bed, inviting a wealth of warmth and character to the otherwise whitewashed surround.

Discover more ways to decorate with color:

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