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Grey's anatomy; Forget 50 shades... as its palette continues to grow, Gabrielle Fagan brushes up on how to go grey with grace and style.

Byline: Gabrielle Fagan

ONCE upon a time, magnolia ruled in homes. The warm peachy shade was for years apparently the only choice for walls - until out of the shadows came grey.

"It's an interior designer's murder mystery - did grey kill magnolia?" teases Kate Watson-Smyth, whose new book, Shades Of Grey, focuses on the power of a grey palette and explains in crystal clear fashion, spiced with a liberal dash of humour, how to use it stylishly.

Fresh, modern and easy to match to other colours, it's perhaps hardly surprising that elegant, sophisticated grey is currently regarded as the perfect neutral.

There's only one snag - deciding which shade to choose.

"To find the best shade, you need to consider a few key things, including which direction your room faces, what time of day you'll be in there, the prevailing weather and, last of all, the actual shade you like," says Kate.

MAKING GREY WORK HOW you use a room has a bearing on the intensity of grey you should use.

"If you're in a room mainly in the evening, or always have the lights on, you can afford to opt for a dark shade," advises Kate.

"Rooms in use all day long and beyond, such as a kitchen where you also eat in the evening, require a grey which works with natural or electric light. For daylight hours, dark grey will work particularly well if you have a reasonably light room to start with.

SEE THE LIGHT GREY'S enduring popularity over the last decade is partly down to the cold, clear Northern light we enjoy in this country - put simply, grey just looks good here - but always evaluate how much natural light a room gets and the direction it comes from.

"For a small and dark north-facing room, don't fight the space by painting it a pale colour," says Kate. "Instead, embrace its cosiness. Pick a strong shade of grey - as near to black as you dare - and use on every wall.

"The warm light of a southfacing room allows you more freedom of choice - pale greys can work as well as dark ones.

"East and west-facing rooms can be tricky, as the light will change from warm to cold as the sun moves across the sky.

"The secret is to look for a shade which will warm the cool and tone down the warm. For east-facing rooms, try greys with a blue or green base."

GREY MATTERS ALW L A W YS consider the effect that your existing furniture, textiles and flooring may have on a paint shade - no grey is ever seen in isolation.

"Grey goes with all the other colours on the wheel, so you could throw in some pink until you feel like a change, and then maybe swap it for orange or yellow.

"It's probably more affordable to swap the accessories than the wall colour," suggests Kate.

| Shades Of Grey: Decorating With The Most Elegant Of Neutrals by Kate Watson-Smyth is published by Ryland Peters & Small, priced PS19.99. Avaailable to readers for PS14.99 (including p&p). Call Macmillan Direct on 01256 302 699 and quote reference: GI8.

"How you use your room has a bearing on the intensity of the grey you should use" - Kate Watson-Smyth

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For east-facing rooms, try greys with a blue or green base

A kitchen requires grey that works with natural or electric light

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 24, 2016
Words:566
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