I first heard of 'greige' around 5 years ago. I was asking designers about their go-to neutral shades, and this word was coming up time and time again. It is exactly the shade it sounds, somewhere between a cool gray and a warm beige, making it incredibly versatile and adaptable to changing trends. No surprise it's become a perennial favorite among both designers and homeowners.
Gray seems to be on a bit of a downward spiral in the world of color trends. Of course, it will never totally fall out of fashion, but considering it was once the most popular neutral by far, I am seeing less and less of it in its cooler form especially. There's been a clear shift in interior design trends towards warmer, softer, more earthy neutrals and greige has become the new way to do gray.
And much like any popular neutral, there are thousands of paints to choose from. So to help find the best greige paints I asked designers what shades are their go-tos and how they like to use them in their homes and projects.
What color is greige?
Simply put greige is somewhere between gray and beige. There's plenty in between gray and beige, so there are plenty of greige shades to choose from too. See it as a spectrum, you can go right down the gray end and just get a warmer, sandier gray or you can go right down the beige end and pick an ever so slightly cooler beige. This is what makes it so versatile, it can be a warm or cool shade and it can work with both warm and cool shades, so it's ideal if you are layering up a neutral scheme.
'After a decade of gray being at the forefront of interior trends, this versatile tone has given way to an altogether warmer and more comforting hue – greige. If you love neutrals and gray tones, greige offers the best of both worlds; it still feels contemporary and harmonious but with an added warmth.' explains Helen Shaw, Director of Marketing at Benjamin Moore.
'Its versatility means it can effortlessly work with a breadth of design styles and accent colors, making it a perfect base to build any scheme. Pair with pale pink and crisp whites to create a smart Scandi-style interior scheme. The trick is to group color families together - combine warm greys with reds and oranges and cooler greys with blues and mauves.'
5 best greige paints loved by interior designers
'Gray has been the ubiquitous shade of choice of the last few years, and more recently greige has grown in popularity,' explains Patrick O'Donnell of Farrow & Ball. 'The versatile result of combining two versatile shades, gray and beige, these colors can be used throughout the home for an inviting neutral scheme.'
But with an endless amount of options, how do you choose the best greige paint? I'd recommend starting here, with interior designer's favorite picks.
1. Elephant's Breath, Farrow & Ball
Elephant's Breath is a well-known Farrow & Ball shade, often used as the perfect example of the brand's whimsical paint names. The name actually comes from the notable British designer John Fowler and is an incredibly versatile and livable greige paint that's perfect for laying with other neutral tones.
'Elephant’s Breath is a mid-toned greige, renowned for its name and subtle, comforting notes,' explains Patrick. 'Pair with Strong White on your woodwork and introduce an accent of rich Sulking Room Pink for a warm and elegant combination. Skimming Stone is the lighter counterpart to Elephant’s Breath, a delicate and stony neutral that brings gentle charm to every space. Combine with Elephant’s Breath and Strong White for a contemporary feel, or accent with bolder shades of London Clay or Selvedge.'
2. Revere Pewter, Benjamin Moore
'You can rarely go wrong with a subtly chic greige paint color! A few of my favorites include Revere Pewter, Seattle Mist, and London Fog all from Benjamin Moore. These shades all offer a versatile neutral that leans upscale and sophisticated!' explains designer Kathy Kuo.
Helen agrees that 'Although Benjamin Moore has hundreds of greys to choose from, Revere Pewter HC-172 is always a popular choice. It is a classic warm gray that helps to transition from a beige decor scheme without having to replace all the furnishings. It coordinates with both industrial and more natural greys like steel, concrete, glass, pebbles, driftwood, and even cloudy skies.'
Kathy Kuo is a celebrated interior designer and international guru within the home and lifestyle space. She has 20+ years of experience in the design industry.
3. Ammonite, Farrow & Ball
'I love Ammonite by Farrow & Ball,' says designer Bethany Adams. 'It's the perfect warm greige. We used it on these kitchen cabinets in a historic home and the color manages to read period-appropriate and modern at the same time.'
That's one of the things I love about greige paints, and Ammonite is the perfect example, the shade manages to be both modern like a gray, and warm and rustic, better suited to a more traditional style, like a beige. Greige kitchens are rising in kitchen trends for this reason, it's a shade that can adapt as tastes and trends change, it can shift between being modern and traditional. In short, greige is the ideal base color for rooms you want to always feel timeless.
Bethany Adams is an interior designer, a member of ASID (American society of Interior Designers), AIA (American Institute of Architects), and a certified interior designer with the Kentucky Board of Architecture. Bethany holds a B.F.A.. in interior design from Harrington College of Design in addition to a B.A. she earned from Georgetown University.
4. Skimming Stone, Farrow & Ball
'Griege colored walls provide a perfect neutral backdrop to layer with rich textures, vibrant colors, and beautiful, artistic pieces. Skimming Stone by Farrow & Ball is a perfect warm greige that feels both modern and timeless,' says designer
'Though it may seem counter-intuitive due to its neutrality, a gray or beige toned backdrop readies a space for layer upon layer of highly personal design that makes a home unmistakably unique to its owner.'
'This beige-gray color was the perfect material for this entryway, allowing for special artworks, antiques, and vintage pieces to sing together without the room feeling too busy. A vibrant entryway rug balances the walls nicely. Though this corner is filled with collected art and antiques, the greige walls imbue this space with familiarity and comfort.'
5. Dusty Miller, Benjamin Moore
'Benjamin Moore's Dusty Miller is my favorite griege paint color,' says designer Kati Curtis. 'Striking a perfect balance on the color spectrum; it isn't too yellow nor too blue. Unlike some other paints, its grey tones do not lean towards a muddy appearance.'
'Instead, Dusty Miller maintains a clean and fresh look, akin to the crispness of morning dew on untouched morning fields. It's this harmonious blend of hues that gives it a versatile appeal, making it a timeless choice for any interior design scheme.'
Dusty Miller is a great example of a slightly cooler-toned greige, it's still has a warmth to it, especially in afternoon light, but as Kati mentions is fresh and crisp so ideal for more contemporary spaces. Pair with a crisp white to bring out those cooler tones, or layer with browns and pinks for a much warmer look.
Kati Curtis is the founder of Kati Curtis Design, an design firm based in New York City specializing in classic design with a global influence. Kati founded the studio in 2005 after 12 years of working with international architecture and engineering firms.
Greige paints are perhaps one of the most versatile neutrals, being usable with both a warm and cool palette. In fact, greige is ideal for when you want to mix warm and cool colors, something I am seeing a lot of at the moment, especially with neutrals. Layering beiges, whites, cool greys, soft blues, and greens work wonderfully, and adding in a greige that pulls from both sides just brings the palette together perfectly.
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I am the Head of Interiors at Homes & Gardens. I started off in the world of journalism in fashion and luxury travel and then landed my first interiors role at Real Homes and have been in the world of interior design ever since. Prior to my role at H&G I was the digital editor at Livingetc, from which I took a sabbatical to travel in my self-converted van (not as glamorous as decorating a home, but very satisfying). A year later, and with lots of technical DIY lessons learnt I am back to writing and editing, sometimes even from the comfort of my home on wheels.
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