23 Oct

Slate grey and oak, a natural combination

Dark grey is becoming something of a colour trend for decorating. Customarily associated with cold and modern interiors, here we discover how this on-trend shade can be used to create calming, comfortable spaces.

The grey colour pallet is an interesting one. Neither black nor white, grey evokes very little in the way of positive connotations; storm clouds, ashes from a fire, 1960’s brutalist architecture on a wet day. Eva Heller, the historian, wrote in her book Psychology of Colour: effects and Symbolism “grey is too weak to be considered masculine, but too menacing to be considered a feminine colour. It is neither warm nor cold, neither material nor spiritual. With grey, nothing seems to be decided.”

Harsh words indeed, but at least she did not use the word so often paired with grey – “dull”.

So why is this ‘nothing’ colour becoming so popular in the world of interiors?

Ironically, despite grey often looking very industrial, this ‘not one thing nor the other’ characteristic that Eva Hella spoke of creates an effect that humans find very soothing. Because grey has no real personality, in the way that yellows, reds, or indeed any other colour might have, grey shades do not overwhelm us. Grey can create a very relaxing environment for people to relax in and enjoy.

Another wonderful thing about this characteristic of grey is that it does not draw attention to itself. Not only will it go with almost any other colour, grey in a well-designed room will make another colour pop but not in a way that dominates too much attention.

Using grey to fantastic effect in your home

Recently, Westbury Windows & Joinery, along with our sister company Westbury Garden Rooms, undertook a project to renovate a tired country house. Part of the renovation included building an elegant timber garden room that complemented the architecture of the rest of the house. In addition to their new extension, the customer also wanted a modern interior style that, like the garden room itself, would suit the rest of the house and be in keeping with their style.

Often, for fear of darkening a room, light colours can be over-used and keep us in our comfort zones. Though the interiors are filled with sunlight from the garden room’s glazing, it ran the risk of almost appearing colourless without the contrast of something darker. This is why Westbury’s founder and director Jonathan Hey recommended that for this project, an oak interior offset by bespoke window frames and traditional French Door frames painted in a darker colour would create a lovely depth and bring out the character of the timber joinery.

A naturally perfect combination of oak and grey painted joinery

‘Westbury Black’ Teknos paint was selected for both its slate colour and it’s hard-wearing nature, ensuring the shade’s intensity and finish will last for years to come. This inspired pairing works so well for this project, as you can see from the photographs. The incredible impact of using this dramatic grey shade in the room is not merely created by the colour’s ability to complement the oak. As we have discussed, almost every colour will go with dark grey. The appealing nature of this specific combination is that the dark grey creates a modern, clean, soothing, but slightly cold effect – to which the oak adds a sense of tradition and warmth. With so many colour combinations, this mix of effects could be jarring, but this room is contemporary and comforting, and proof that sometimes opposites do attract. Slate and oak feel entirely like a natural combination.