I am a big fan of Scandi style and one of the trends that has come from this look is the partnership of pale grey and oak in interiors. Do you love this look? I do, and I think that it also suits other styles too. These two colours can be used to great effect in a coastal style scheme and also a Hamptons look. The key is to keep the look light and airy. These aren't heavy greys or lots of overwhelming oak tones, the palette is simple and generally pale.
The reason this combination works so well is that you have warm oak tones as a complementary colour to the cool greys. The greys that work the best are the neutral ones with a base of green. One should always be the accent, so you should aim to combine them in a maximum of a 70/30 mix.
I have some inspiration to show you here to help you get this look right in your home.
Just a touch of grey
With a grey and oak interior, you can use a backdrop which is predominantly white. As with any white scheme, you should introduce a range of textures and layers to prevent the look from becoming too one dimensional. The room below has a gorgeous oak floor with some simple oak furniture. With the predominantly white scheme, the grey side table and lamp provide a nice contrast and are just enough to break up the white and oak interior.
More Grey and Oak
In the gorgeous image below from Norsu Interiors, the execution of the grey and oak together is perfect. It would be as Norsu are known for their Scandi style schemes and this is their signature style. I really love the layers of soft grey in this scheme and the backdrop of pale grey. The oak floor, sofa and frame on the artwork complete the scheme beautifully.
What I love about a grey and oak interior is that it provides a simple backdrop for a stunning statement piece. In this case the gorgeous Banksia artwork. White does the same but it is far crisper and brighter. The soft grey is a really nice alternative.
Grey and Oak kitchens
This is a classic combination for a kitchen. An oak benchtop is a gorgeous feature and looks fabulous on an island.
The introduction of oak could just be the flooring. The herringbone floor below complements this country style kitchen perfectly.
Related: How to choose engineered oak floorboards
You can introduce some colour into the look. This kitchen below has the soft grey on the walls with an oak floor and statement table but there is lots of lovely colour on the kitchen joinery. This works as the green contains a lot of grey and isn't jarring. Although the floor is gorgeous, I would add a simple natural rug beneath the table to cut down on the amount of oak.
Grey wall options
It is more difficult than you might imagine to find the right soft grey that doesn't have an obvious undertone. You need to look for a neutral grey that doesn't have any blue or pink/purple undertones. I like to use greys that have a green undertone as they are the most neutral.
Favourites of mine are Dulux Grey Reflection and the Classic Grey range from Haymes. I love this range as it goes from a white through to a mid grey with lots of tones in between. This means that you can confidently use a lighter tone, maybe the white for the trim and then use either Classic Grey 2 or through to Classic Grey 7 for the wall colour.
Related: How to find the right neutral grey
Grey walls can also be achieved with special finishes which add another dimension. Porters Grey Fox in a coarse stone paint finish introduces a subtle texture. Or you can use a wallpaper to replicate a special finish. Natural woven wallpaper in soft greys are another good option.
You can create a more rustic look with a darker grey for the walls to create a different feel. This is an excellent backdrop for this gorgeous faux clamshell from My House Decor. You can see though with this darker grey that the mood is very different. I am always urging clients to think about the mood they want to create. Sometimes you can get so caught up with specific colours that you forget about the overall feel that you want to create in the space.
Grey and Oak Bathrooms
The grey and oak partnership comes into its own in the bathroom. Grey and white in a bathroom is a classic but it can end up as quite a cool and sterile environment. By introducing an oak vanity, you create some warmth and appeal to offset the cooler colour palette.
I hope you have enjoyed this inspiration and it has given you food for thought for your next renovation or decorating project. I have a FREE Resource Library with lots of e-books and comprehensive checklists to help you with your building and renovation jobs – you can download them for FREE here.
5 thoughts on “Trend report – Grey and Oak Interiors”
This is fabulous – thank you for sharing. I had to chose my colours for my first home build virtually and have chosen greys and oak and have been nervous regarding my selections until seeing this. Now quite excited to see it all come to life.
That’s great news Zoe – I hope you love your first new home! Samantha
Thankyou so much for your wealth of knowledge. My husband and i have been building our own home for 35yrs. yep you are reading 35yrs. Last year we had a huge hail storm that ruined our roof,tanks and cars. it has been an awful year with losses in the family and it has taken alittle of my omph out of me. but anyway up and away we must go. i am just getting my bathroom, laundry and our bedroom finished. We still have heaps to do. After raising 4 children and living on a small property, life has sort of been in the way. we are in our 60,s and well need to finish it before we fall off the perch. i have painted the walls Taudmans Cotton Ball in Dulux vivid white base, in the laundry, bathroom and bedroom. Around the windows and doors are the same but in gloss. the new cupboards in the bathroom are Porters Napoleon, laundry is Porters Mist for top cabinets and Newport for bottom. i have spotted gum flooring on the floor in our room but a light cream tile white flecs of white, on the floor elsewhere. the cupboards in our room are half strength Taubmans Charade.I done all this before finding your site so please forgive my chioces. i have never had a beautiful bedroom and i would love it to be just right. this is the first coat of paint it has ever had on it. i have a white bed spread and a pastel mint coloured throw. But i can change that no worries. i am really stuck to make this romantic and beautiful. it is a country stlye home with brick veneer exterior and large brick wall down in the lounge. havent even attemped this room yet. windows in our room are 2 by 2100 x 1800. Samantha sorry about the long msg but i am getting quiet beside myself to make this perfect. being in the country i love that airy fresh look with lots of homely things around. is there any suggestions to help at all please. ps i have been reading your suggestions in other blogs too. Regards Anna.
Hi Anna Lovely to hear from you – 35 years is a long time to be renovating! I love your choices so far and you’re clearly attracted to the cooler grey tones of blues with your choices of Porters Napoleon, Mist and Newport which I love. My feeling though for your bedroom is that the half strength Taubmans Charade is possibly a little lavender? I think your bedroom would look lovely using some more of these blues on the walls but could you also paint the cupboards, either in the Cotton Ball. Then it depends on how deep you want the colour on the walls. Possibly Newport Blue or Porters Explorer Blue is a gorgeous bedroom colour. The trim – architraves, skirtings etc. can also be in Cotton Ball to tie in with the white of the bedspread. I think this will give you a lovely fresh look that still has a touch of grey to keep it sophisticated. Hope this helps Samantha
Hello Samantha. oh thankyou so much. i can see all of this in my head and will be following it all through. you have bought tears to my eyes. not for the work involved but for the sheer beauty I see. I will have my truely romantic and pretty bedroom. 41 yrs of marriage and 5 1/2 before that of being together, this bedroom will take us right back to 46 1/2 yrs ago. thankyou from my heart.