Grey is the colour of the moment. Whether you are searching for the right interior or exterior colour, grey inspiration is everywhere. A grey exterior is a classic choice.
The designer's secret weapon though has always been this beautiful neutral.
In the past, grey has been a much maligned colour, however it is in fact one of the best neutrals to use in an exterior palette. At some point grey has always been used on at least one substrate on a house, whether it is a simple slate roof tile that brings much understated elegance to a scheme or an architect's colour choice for windows.
A grey exterior has always been a winner and ensures that house colour palettes come together well.
A grey exterior with white trim
One of the best features of grey, apart from being a sophisticated neutral, is that it goes so well with fresh white. A white trim with grey, whether it is used inside or outside, really elevates the colour to another level.
The grey shingle roof on the house above, partnered with a mid-blue grey for the walls and fresh white trim makes this a beautiful house – well I think so! It really is a simple colour palette and gives you a very upmarket look.
Don't forget the mantra with colour palettes, that less is often more. This grey exterior palette highlights the vertical weatherboards, gorgeous shingle roof and interesting windows with their generous architraves. These are all great architectural elements that speak for themselves and don't necessarily need additional colours.
This is another example of a blue grey exterior with white trim for a project that I undertook recently.
The owners use this little lakeside cottage as a weekender so didn't want anything too fancy. The poor cottage desperately looked to be in need of some TLC but really all it needed were a few minor repairs and a simple colour palette to update the look.
It really is amazing what a simple paint transformation can achieve.
I introduced a darker grey on the foundation bricks to ground the house and provide a look of some substance.
The colours I used were Dulux Dark Door, Dulux Rangitikei River and Dulux Whisper White.
It's interesting to see on a sunny day how much this house appears to be blue. This is a point you must never underestimate for a grey exterior, that the sunlight will wash out the neutral and you will be left with the underlying colour. Not a problem of course, you just need to be aware of the effect.
The above house is another example of a grey exterior with white trim for a house.
This example is from Haymes Paints using their colours, Sense and Greyology 1. I particularly love their Greyology palette as it goes from 1 to 7 in various tonal stages – great for interiors but also useful too for a grey exterior palette where you need a couple of different lighter trims.
Always look out for paint companies that offer their neutral range in various tonal stages as this is a foolproof way to partner neutrals to ensure you select colours with the same undertone.
Related: Why I love a crisp white trim
How to see the undertones in a grey exterior
Talking about undertones, this is actually the main point that you need to take away from this article. All greys, as with all neutrals, including white, will have an undertone of colour.
The grey exterior colours shown so far all have a blue undertone.
When a colour chip is viewed inside it will be very difficult to see what the underlying colour is. Here is what you should do:
- Buy a sample pot of your chosen grey and paint a large piece of card with two coats.
- View outside in all conditions; morning, evening, a dull day and in bright sunshine.
- View on different aspects of your house – the grey will appear different on the north to the south aspect.
- This is when you will see the underlying colour and gain an appreciation for how this will look on the exterior of your house.
- Repeat the process for your chosen trim colour to see how they appear together.
The house below has a grey with a warm purple undertone. This colour looks great on contemporary houses, particularly smaller urban developments. You will however love it or hate it so you need to be sure when you select a grey for your house that it is the right one.
A grey exterior that has a purple undertone also looks very effective on federation houses that have terracotta roofs with hints of purple in the tile.
Select a grey with a purple undertone for guttering and fascia on these homes and you can't go wrong. Consider too if you have brick on your house as you will often see a purple undertone here too and this is another time when a grey exterior trim like this will work well.
You're not really adding purple to your house scheme, just the right grey to complement the architectural features that are already there.
I like Dulux Timeless Grey – a great neutral for an exterior scheme. This has been used on the house below with a crisp white trim.
The cottage below has a lovely neutral grey which doesn't have too much blue or purple. These are often the greys that have a touch of brown and are much sought after at the moment.
Although a neutral grey exterior is timeless, the neutrality in it can leave the look a bit flat so don't be afraid to add a splash of colour. This can be very effective on a front door, which is a great place to inject some personality and flair. The sharp cool, yellow green shown here really lifts the colour palette and brings a touch of fun to the scheme.
This image below uses a palette of very warm greys. These are the lovely brown grey neutrals that will stand the test of times and give you a very classic house.
The different substrates on this house offer the opportunity to use the same grey but in varying strengths which is very effective when offset with white. The use of a warm grey exterior palette ensures that the house is sophisticated and contemporary, yet welcoming. I think in fact that this is one of the most timeless looks, in terms of colour, and will ensure that your house looks as good in ten years time as it does today.
How to select the right eave colour
The colour that you choose to paint the eaves can be dictated by the gutters and fascia or by the grey exterior wall colour. Although I love a fresh white trim on a grey house, I prefer slightly darker eaves that relate well to the grey on the walls. They may still appear just white as they will be a very pale grey and outside this will wash out.
My main point is that you need to consider this carefully as part of an overall grey exterior scheme.
Related: My guide to painting eaves
So, whether you want a simple grey and white palette, some colour in the mix or a palette of various different tones of grey, you can see that this is a very sophisticated and user-friendly neutral that will ensure you have an exterior colour scheme that will be enduring.
Follow my Pinterest board for lots more examples of neutral exteriors and don't forget to join the conversation and let me know about your decorating and colour dilemmas.
First and foremost though – don't forget to look at exterior colour schemes outside, in sunlight, on a large expanse before committing to a scheme. A little legwork goes a long way!
If you are in the midst of a renovation or just about to embark on building your dream home then you must download my comprehensive exterior checklist. Be organised and ready for your builder or painter or simply use it to get your thoughts in order. The checklist is free from my Resource Library together with other e.books which you may find helpful. I am regularly adding to the library – everything here is free. Download here
Still need help? I offer an online colour consultation service. From one question through to an entire colour scheme, I will have a package to suit you or can tailor one for you. Find out more here.
Interested in reading more about this neutral? Then you may like to read this post:
The white that you partner with your chosen grey can also be hard to pinpoint. You might find that this article is also useful background reading:
Still looking for more information? Then you might like this article: