But then we took another look (maybe a certain novel gave us some new ideas…) and realised there’s a lot more to grey than we used to think.
And now grey, in all its shades from charcoal to dove, is the new neutral, and it’s overtaken taupe as our favourite use-anywhere shade.
To illustrate the huge range, you can pick up shades such as Charcoal, Mono Midnight, Viva Black, Viva Grey, Memphis Ebony, Costellow Silver, and a few more besides. So, as you can see, we also incorporate some States-side chic into the equation
Part of the appeal is that greys are simple to use and easy on the eye. Mix-and-match greys with other neutrals and the warm tones of natural wood, and you’ll always add a dash of class to your décor.
The school jumper has been left a long way behind, because grey is extremely versatile. You can give it a snap with a dash of red, or cool things right down by adding duck egg blue – and whichever you choose, it’s going to look sophisticated.
As an example, take a look at this Obi statement writing desk – its eau de nil top looks amazing against the softness of the grey work.
Where a black wall or black bedding can be a little, well… guy… charcoal grey is just elegant, and provides a superb backdrop to show off almost any kind of furniture.
It works well in a minimalist room, adding warmth to all the white, but is also very accepting of a busy family room packed with toys, accessories and fun (hides the marks, too!).
As our main picture, styled by Barker and Stonehouse, shows, grey can even take a rustic touch. The sisal-style natural rug and the recycled wood of the display units look fabulous when paired with the stripped floorboards, while the cool grey sofa and chair make this a rustic room with chic.
Grey knows how to take a pattern, too, as the Lausanne charcoal check armchair from Tesco shows. It’s stylish when paired with strong designs in silver, black or even red – a heavily-patterned grey-based wallpaper is superb for a feature wall in a living or dining room.
The shade can be whatever you want it to be. Bensons for Beds have created a stylish antique finish to their Carmen silver bedstead, which would look wonderful with soft grey and blue throws.
The best thing about grey is that now we’ve seen it in a different light, it’s starting to look like a classic already. Hard-wearing but packed with character, we can’t believe we’ve never thought more of it before.
And anyway, who would ever have been interested in 50 Shades of Beige?