Grey living room ideas to suit every style home and budget

Forever popular a beautiful grey living room idea will never go our of style with our top tips

Grey is perhaps the most versatile 'neutral' you can find right now, and it shows no signs of being replaced. It's no surprise that grey living rooms appeal to so many of us as it comes in shades that work with every style and it looks great with other living colours.

‘Grey will continue to have a presence in interior design because of its enduring neutrality as a backdrop for decoration with textiles, furniture and accessories; in addition, grey has the ability to display so many different nuances of colour through the variety of undertones it can hold,' says Andy Greenall, head of design, Paint & Paper Library. 'When selecting a grey for any space, start with the most important considerations - the orientation of the room and the proportions of the space.'

Whichever style of living room you're looking for in your home, there's sure to be a grey to suit your scheme. Grey can create a warm scheme as easily as a cool one; it can channel edgy modern and charming country; be calm and soothing or vivid, lively and energetic.

(Future / Lizzie Orme)
Take the colour through to your windows

For an all encompassing grey living room use your chosen shade on your window frames too. It's a contemporary paint effect that's similar to painting your skirtings a colour and one we're embracing as it's more subtle that the classic white woodwork.

'Add interest to a grey living room by balancing both light and dark grey tones,' suggests Dani Burroughs, head of product, Snug.

'For those with dark walls, consider using the shade across your skirting boards and window frames for added impact. Offset this with thick grey curtains and a neutral sofa before accessorising with scatter cushions or a tactile throw.'

Create your own focal point

For a thoroughly modern grey living room idea paint shades of grey on your walls to tie in with a plain grey rug. Similar to colour blocking, it's a design statement that's more sophisticated that the usual take.

'For a restful, elegant scheme, combine greys, using them at different strengths or in colour blocks to create design interest; ’Sharkskin’ with its dash of violet works beautifully with the neutral grey ’Slate IV’,' says Andy Greenall, head of design, Paint & Paper Library.

'When pairing colours, consider how the space flows from one area into another. Using greys that have the same base colour as your colour highlights, such as Monument’, with the lavender toned colour ‘Quail’, will result in a cohesive and harmonious scheme.’

(Paint & Paper Library)
Make gallery walls pop

We love the gallery wall look. Mix and match prints, photography and even empty picture frames - pick up all shapes, sizes and styles using home decor discount codes so you can really play around and see what works.

Grey walls are the perfect backdrop for creating these displays. As it's a neutral, this allows the gallery details to pop and create impact. Choosing a deep charcoal over a paler dove will make a cool contrast, especially if you're using gilt frames.

(Future PLC/ Katie Leew)
Pair with purple for a luxurious look

Think elegant luxe and combine grey with regal purple tones. This colour combination is a match made in interiors heaven, especially when used across sumptous materials like satins and velvets.

This combination works best using a paler grey, with creates a bold contrast with bright purples, and a soft effect with gentle lilacs.

(Future PLC/Rob Sanderson)
Choose a two-tone style

Can't choose between light and dark grey? Simple. Use both. Paint the lower half, or two thirds of your wall in one shade, and finish with the other.

This works best when the darker shade is on the lower half. Lighter colours above will trick the eye into making the room appear larger than it is.

(Future PLC/ James French)
Paint architectural features

If you have wall panels or other architectural details in your room, paint them the same grey as the wall. Not only does this create a cool colour drenched effect, but the ridges will pick up lights and shadows, adding interest and depth to your space.

(Future PLC/ Colin Poole)
Add colour behind books and objets

Grey living room ideas are the perfect way to decorate your home if you own a lot of colourful accessories. A warmer and more interesting background than white, this neutral allows your books and objets room to breathe and stand out, rather than clashing against yet another colour.

(Future PLC/ Anna Stathaki)
Paint all the woodwork

A super-soft dove grey living room colour scheme works as a gentle contrast to rosy toned upholstery and accents. Painting all of the woodwork in the same colour has created a chic, seamless look and creates the illusion of more space and an airy, open room.

Take care when picking grey paint for your walls – you'll need to consider your room's size and situation.

Use silvery tones

The striking rough-luxe wall mural brings texture and movement to the space. The metallic highlights of the silky silver rug and wallcovering reflect the light, giving this glam living room even more of a lift.

A plush velvet sofa in a deeper grey punctuates the space and layers on the luxe. Combining touches of blush pink with the cool grey creates grown-up sophistication.

(Future PLC/ Joanna Henderson)
Create a textured wall

Get creative with smart living room paint such as paint effects, which are back in fashion! But things have moved on since the sponge effect championed on Changing Rooms. Textured emulsion paint such as the Craig & Rose Artisan Concrete Effect Paint and Crown’s Suede paint will create a rustic, artfully imperfect finish.

Alternatively, a limed effect can be created using watered down flat matt emulsion, chalk paint or a specialist limewash such as Bauwerk's selection.

Start by applying a bonding primer for plasterboard or previously painted walls. Then with a wide brush, apply the paint in random, sweeping strokes. A second and third coat needs to be watered down to allow the layers and textured effect to build.

Complement the walls with tactile velvet, layered in tonal hues for a vibe that’s calm, yet cost and oozes easy elegance.

(Furniture Village)
Let architectural features pop

It's common to want to hide architectural features such as RSJs. But in a grey room, letting them sing by painting them in white can create an interesting structural contrast. It also helps zone the space and therefore make it seem cosier – a neat trick, particularly if you're using a cooler grey palette.

Integrate shelving

Smart and sophisticated, charcoal grey brings depth to an elegant living room. Smart geometric designs on the cushions and rug along with polished chrome accents bring a timeless touch of boutique chic to the space.

Create the illusion of expensive, built-in storage by painting shelving the same colour as the walls. For example, alcoves can become a smart feature wall that's easy to adjust. But sticking to a simple palette of black, white and silver reflects the pared back aesthetic of the room.

Use grey as an accent

If wall-to-wall grey isn’t for you, inject modern anthracite accents. A sofa in warm grey is not only a fail-safe style choice, it's a practical option too. Tie in other features around the room such as fireplace surround, door or windows.

Floor to ceiling wooden framed windows are a striking feature, and grey will pick them out against neutral walls, highlighting the shape and detailing. If you don't have wooden framed doors or windows, UPVC windows can also be painted, just look for a specialist primer or paint for durability.

Lift your grey scheme with a mix of sorbet brights

If you are not a fan of washed out sorbet tones but the idea of primary brights scare you to bits, why not try a punchy-pastel alternative. Think Primrose yellow, not lemon sorbet and blues that veer towards turquoise rather than soft powder blue.

Choose a neutral grey colour to allow you to experiment with the palette on artwork and accessories.

(Future PLC/ Joanna Henderson)
Add depth with different shades

Use a variety of greys to give depth to your grey living room. Use a lighter, warmer grey when painting the walls and layer darker saturations with a painted fireplace surround and statement furniture pieces. Layering the same colour in different tones creates a calming atmosphere that feels cohesive.

Soft grey and dark charcoals are both equally enhanced with the addition of some natural greens, whether real foliage or as accent soft furnishings. The flourish of green helps to connect the space with a sense of nature.

(Future PLC/ Colin Poole)
Wow with brooding dark shades

There's no denying interior trends in recent years have very much embraced the dark side. As confidence in colour has grown homeowners have been looking to express their personalities more with bold colour choices. A striking almost-black charcoal grey is ideal for an attention-seeking statement, like with a striking fireplace.

A colour of this nature is not just for larger rooms either. Used wisely it can be a great small living room idea also – says Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

Using dark paint to make a space feel bigger might seem counterintuitive, but Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen explains that particularly when you have a wall-mounted television, painting the space behind it will work much better.

(Future PLC/ Colin Poole)
Echo natural shades of grey

Allow the colour of natural stone to inspire your grey colour choices. Use your paint samples on a piece of card to hold against the original walls to determine the perfect pairing to complement the natural warmth on the walls. Offset the light grey decorating with darker accents on the furniture to add depth, as shown in this rustic living room.

(Future PLC/ Richard Gadsby)
Keep grey understated and sophisticated

Sometimes understated can have the biggest impact, especially when paired with bold furniture and furnishing choices. The light grey on the walls can help to act like a blank canvas, without being as stark as white.

'Our most popular group of greys is made up of Wevet, Ammonite and Cornforth White – colours that are so relaxed and easy to live with you barely notice that they are there,' explains Joa Studholme at Farrow & Ball.

'They have a gossamer-like appearance so are perfect for those who prefer understated decoration which does not challenge us very much but gives a huge amount of versatility.'

(Future PLC/ David Giles)
Create a sanctuary with slate and wood accents

Slate grey walls look anything but cold when paired with rustic, natural woody furniture accents. Fill the room with plenty of textures such as a fluffy berber rug and straw basket for storing blankets to complete the relaxed living room scheme.

(Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)
Cocoon yourself with a warming grey

Colours that whisper rather than shout are a must for rooms designed to promote relaxation. Deep greys like Stable Gates by Dulux gently cocoon and visually don't distract, so you can focus on a film or good book.

Stable Grey's warm make-up also means that it works as well with a terracotta or blush as it does with a pale or stonewashed blue – or indeed, a forest green living room. That versatility comes in handy if you like to switch up soft furnishings on a regular basis.

Warm up grey walls with bright prints

A floor to ceiling pale grey colour palette is the perfect canvas to make a splash with brightly coloured wall display. A floating picture shelf is a great non-permanent solution to displaying wall art. You can easily swap one print for another as your collection grows and changes.

Putty and blue-coloured patterned cushions and a geometric rug in dark navy add pops of muted colour for a sophisticated, yet cosy living room.

(Future PLC/ David Parmiter)
Use warm tones of grey to soften statement patterns

Pale grey walls create the perfect backdrop for statement patterns in this country living room. The warm undertones of grey absorbs busy patterns, meaning it's less stark than, say, white walls. This quality allows pattern to sit more comfortably within the overall scheme.

(Future PLC/ Polly Eltes)
Create calming vibes with natural foliage

Cool shades of grey can have a calming effect on an interior space. This can be enhanced further with the addition of natural house plants and foliage, a hugely popular accessory choice.

(Future PLC/ Joanna Henderson)
Take the colour from the floor to ceiling

Colour drenching is having something of a moment right now, so why not go all out with grey. Paint your walls and ceiling in one shade, and select flooring in as close to a matching grey as possible. Keep things light and bright with pastel accessories.

(Future PLC/ David Giles)
Try a panelled wall

In addition to the cocooning deep, blue-toned grey, the fine ribbed panelling creates cosy texture. It's a great trick for adding features to new builds and boxy rooms that don’t have any architectural interest.

A contemporary, corrugated wall panelling is totally on trend too. Pitch the line of panelling above key pieces of furniture. Ramp up the intimate feeling by painting above the panelling and the ceiling in a dramatic charcoal.

Update a grey country scheme with paisley print

Update the backdrop in a classic country scheme with paisley-print living room wallpapers. Choose cushions and upholstery in opulent weaves, soft linens and plush damasks, with Moroccan-style metal tables to add glamour.

'Be extravagant with finishing touches for an opulent look,' advises Ideal Home's Style Editor, Michela Collling. 'For example, double up on fabrics so curtains feel fuller.'

(Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore)
Use grey as a base for soft geometrics

Team cool grey and geometrics with primrose yellow splashes for a vintage look with a modern twist. Keep the scheme contemporary with grey walls and furniture. Then add warmth with summer living rooms such as hints of yellow in geometric prints and furnishings and character with a cool mix of retro accessories. Wooden cube tables and copper details complement the retro vibe.

(Future PLC/ Tim Young)
Team warm grey with soft ivory for effortless elegance

Make a living room more inviting with a warm grey wall colour that mixes well with other neutrals. Pile up the sofa with cushions and throws in complementary shades, with a Berber rug as your anchor point.

If an all-grey scheme feels too flat and monotone, work in an extra layer of colour with an elegant ivory for a subtle lift. Flashes of mustard, olive green or softer tones or blush work well with any yellow-toned greys.

(Perch & Parrow)
Curate a grey scheme

Who says grey can't be cosy, warm and inviting? Duck egg living room schemes debunks that theory.

Opt for chunky knits, pattern and texture to give a grey living room a welcoming feel. Curate a wall with monochrome prints and photography for a chic, stylish space that you just won't want to leave.

(Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore)
Bring grey to life with pops of yellow

Worried grey alone might seem a bit dull? Then choose your accessories carefully. A blue sofa, yellow chair and tomato red lamp really sing out against a mid-grey backdrop. Pull everything together with a rug that features all the different shades that you are using, and voilà – decorating perfection!

(Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore)
Add warmth with vintage pieces

In a neutral living room, grey works beautifully when added in courtesy of carpets, curtains and squishy sofas. Adding in touches of blush and natural woods will introduce cosy tones, keeping things warm and feminine.

(Future PLC/ Olly Gordon)
Inject a shot of mustard tones

If you've already dipped your toe into the grey trend with pale walls, you may now be ready to take things a few shades darker. As you can see, it's a sophisticated way to go, and will instantly make a room feel cosier.

However, if you're nervous it will seem too dark, stick to one feature wall – you can always paint the others at a later date. Deep yellow accessories will also brighten things up, provided you choose a strong enough shade like mustards and ochres.

(Future PLC/ Simon Whitmore)
Give florals a trend twist

There's something almost regal about this deep grey living room, with pops of colour provided by the curtains, cushions and purple living room furniture and upholstery. Using such a dark backdrop really brings out the brighter tones, and it does something magical to a floral print, making it appear edgy and modern as opposed to mumsy or in any way old-fashioned.

(Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore)
Go global

Grey makes a fine backdrop to energising Ikat patterns and hints of rich orange. Try this look with mid-century living rooms, such as furniture. Add elegance with smooth, dark woods, or create a Wild-West feel with weathered wood and leather.

(Future PLC/ Simon Whitmore)
Start with a feature wall

A feature wall is always a good jump-off point if you're nervous of working with a new shade. You could even start by painting a chimney breast. Or you could take it to the next level and commission built-in furniture from a local carpenter, then finish it in a deep grey. Coordinate with carpets and upholstery in a paler shade.

(Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)
Mix grey with warmer neutrals

Create a relaxing living room with a tightly controlled palette of toning greys and neutrals. Mid-tone grey walls and flooring provide a warm, inviting backdrop for a neutral sofa and rug and delicately patterned cushions.

Touches of white will help to balance the darker grey accents, bringing the scheme together.

(Future PLC/ Tim Young)
Introduce plenty of pattern and texture

Stop all-grey from looking flat by adding texture and pattern. For a winter-proof living room you'll want to hunker down in, texture is key. Furry cushions and super-soft blankets make this the perfect space to curl up in. Break up those shades of grey with some well-chosen patterned dainty curtains, a statement rug and chunky weaves are all it takes.

(Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore)
Start with a grey sofa

While dark blue and green sofas are gaining popularity, if you're looking for a sofa you won't tire of, grey is a strong choice.

While black living rooms might seem too dark for some, the light tone of this sofa along with the wooden flooring and natural light coming through the windows breaks up the otherwise dark scheme.

Experiment with different depths of grey

Pick a plump sofa for lounging. This charcoal grey number adds elegance and interest to a minimal room. Explore the many depths of a grey colour palette by layering tones to create a scheme that looks cohesive.

By using the same colour, but in both its palest and deepest incarnations, you can create a rich, contrasting look that is co-ordinated. A glass coffee table and side table add a glamorous note.

(Future PLC/ Paul Raeside)
Create a grey coastal scheme

Try a take on a traditional coastal living room but instead of sea blues, use a cool wintry grey. Start with a pale wash of grey over the walls, then bring in pieces of weathered-wood furniture and faded linen upholstery to give the room a lived-in look.

Accessorise with whitewashed basketware, driftwood, smooth ceramics and opaque glassware to carry on the coastal theme.

(Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore)
Go smart with grey

Smarten up a family living room with a modern grey and monochrome scheme with a graphic linear wallpaper as the focal point. Worried that a modern scheme might look too grey?

Add pops of a bright accent colour on cushions and accessories. Bring in an informal element with a picture ledge positioned above the sofa – line with family photographs and favourite prints that you can add to and rearrange at your leisure.

(Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore)
Pretty up grey with pink

Use the gentlest of greys as a springboard for blush pink, plum and buff tones. Mid century-style furniture rubs shoulders here with contemporary pieces in brilliant hi-gloss white.

The floor-to-ceiling living room curtain adds a lovely touch of dip-dyed pink, while cushions and floral displays channel rich plum tones. Grey and pink is a winning combination, particularly suited to modern living rooms, and works just as well as a grey bedroom idea.

(Future PLC/ Emma Lee)

Forever popular a beautiful grey living room idea will never go our of style with our top tips