Mixing brown and grey - no way or wahey?

11/23/2015 06:00:00 am HELEN STILES 0 Comments

mixing brown and grey interior design

So this week, I decided suddenly that the bedroom needed a little warming up for winter. It's one room that I've never quite finished decorating-wise, and so I always feel an urge to tinker! When we first moved into the house, this room was one of the worst. It had huge built-in wardrobes that you literally walked into the side of as soon as you opened the door. To make matters worse, they were covered in layers of yellowing gloss paint and carpeted with swirly dark red 'pub carpet.' The walls were painted an insipid yellow and the ceiling was covered in wood chip with one sad little pendant light hanging right over next to the bay window. 

We immediately ripped out the fitted wardrobes (and had very minimal new built-ins put along the back wall, filling in the alcoves and across the chimney breast - which had long since had the fireplace removed). The wardrobes and walls were then painted out in Farrow & Ball Pavillion Grey (a nice, mid-toned grey that's not too cold for this North-facing room). Finally, we put up plain grey linen curtains that pretty much blend in with the walls. I guess basically it's a bit of a grey cocoon! 

Earlier this year we finally addressed the lighting and put up a fabulous 5-arm Serge Mouille inspired ceiling light. I made an upholstered headboard out of bright yellow velvet, et voila - we ended up with a room that looked like this picture (although usually a lot less tidy!) 
mixing brown and grey interior design

And I love the yellow - it is my favourite colour. But at the moment I'm a little bit obsessed with shades of brown. From cooler taupe and latte shades to deep, rusty chestnut and burnt-toffee hues. Maybe it's the time of year, or a bit of a 70s vibe (I love 70s style interiors - gold, smoked glass, browns and oranges). Maybe it's inspired by the colours of our cowhide and sheepskin rugs - lots of lovely brown and golden shades. But how about mixing brown and grey? I mean can you do browns with grey walls and curtains? I'd always thought that you had to pick either brown hues or greys. But lately I've been questioning why you can't use both together in a room. I mean you see them co-existing in nature all the time - silver birch trunks against rich autumn foliage, or mixed pebbles on the beach. And it seems perfectly acceptable for guys to wear a grey suit with brown shoes (not that I wish to start a sartorial debate on that one!) I've seen a few images lately where grey and brown have been used together in interiors and I really like it. Take for example this picture from stylist Kara Rosenlund's home - I love the textures (linen, hopsack and velvet) but also the contrasting grey, brown and off-white neutrals.

We've just launched some lovely new luxurious velvet cushions in the online shop, in shades of tobacco, mink and peach (they look lovely mixed with the cowhide and vintage mud cloth cushions). I had some of the tobacco velvet left over, so I decided to experiment with a new colour scheme in the bedroom. It also gave me an excuse to put up my vintage painting I found at Ardingly Antiques Fair earlier in the year - which has a distinct 70s feel to it! You'll have to forgive my less than professional photography, but I love the contrast of the grey walls and teak wood - with the rich tobacco velvet. The vintage mud cloth cushions add some lovely stubby texture (as does the faux-fur throw).

mixing brown and grey interior design

All I'd love now is to add some linen bedding - like this from Larusi. I love both the look and feel of linen bedding, and these colours are everything I'm obsessing over at the minute - shades of brown, grey and salmon. Or check out the new range of cushions at Hide & Seek in lovely warm, wintry shades.mixing brown and grey interior design

So what do you think? Can brown and grey work? I mean people used to say 'blue and green should never be seen,' which just seems so outdated. Black and navy is now ultra chic. Is brown and grey no way or wahey??