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Those who scorn grey say it’s neither one thing nor the other; it doesn’t have the brightness and purity of white or the drama of black. It sits on the fence and doesn’t demand attention, lacking clarity and definition. But the history and associations of grey are far from dull. Read on to discover more and find out how to choose the right grey for your curtains or blinds.
Grey is undeniably elegant and timeless. It suits contemporary and traditional homes and, best of all, it transcends fashion so will continue to look fabulous for many years to come. Grey will never grow old. It took a long time however to become accepted in the world of interiors, initially being considered too edgy and urban. But when it did finally take hold, it knocked magnolia and yellow-based off-whites from their perch to become widely recognised as the most versatile neutral.
Colour psychologists say that grey can make you feel cocooned, safe and calm but to avoid any negative connotations associated with being surrounded by too much grey, use it as the perfect foil to other, more vibrant colours. A grey can be found to complement every possible hue.
Silver, pearl and oyster are grey at its most ethereal. Glamorous, cool and elegant, these colours shimmer and glow with light. The Scandinavians have long seen the value of these greys and use them widely to create homes that appear effortlessly stylish and understated.
Our Pearl Silk, Silver Cotton Twill and Lead White Cotton Weave are perfect examples of pale grey. Mid greys tend to be warmer than the paler hues and can be very smart indeed. They work beautifully with earthy colours, spice tones and all shades of brown but are also the ideal counterpoint to acid greens and yellows. Our Chrome Cotton Weave, Gunmetal Linton and Pewter Silk are mid greys at their best.
As grey becomes deeper and more intense, it becomes the most effective neutral. Warmer and less harsh than pure black, moody, saturated greys such as slate, charcoal and granite provide a rich backdrop to numerous hues including red, pale pinks and grey’s own, paler tones. For maximum drama, opt for our Charcoal Cotton Twill or Invent Revive fabrics.
A delve into the history of silver - the palest of greys - reveals a past jam-packed with folklore and superstition. In Irish and Scottich mythology, the silver apple branch features prominently and whether bearing white blossoms and golden fruit, provides a passport to magical otherworlds. Meanwhile, a silver bullet is what you need to keep werewolves, witches and vampires at bay. And if you suspect someone of poisoning your food, make sure you use a silver knife and fork to eat with. A widely held belief that silver would change colour if it came into contact with poison led to silver tableware becoming very fashionable in the eighteenth century amongst those who could afford it.
At the opposite end of the grey spectrum, charcoal has far more down-to-earth routes. Favoured by prehistoric cave painters and widely used in medicine, charcoal’s most important feature is its ability to burn at incredibly high temperatures. This quality means it has been used for the production of iron since Roman times and steel in modern times. It powered the Industrial Revolution until coal took over but still provides the perfect fuel for barbeques today!