Decorating with dark colours, grey lounge.

Shades of Grey – Our Gorgeous Lounge

When we first moved into our London terrace house, the amount of work to be done was so extensive that my gut reaction was to fix the problems and decorate in mostly white.  We were in a state of ‘decision’ overload! Once the level of work didn’t feel so overwhelming, I began to feel that the rooms needed colour.  So I took the plunge and painted our TV room in a rich dark colour.  If you haven’t already done so, you can see this little room in my ‘A Snuggly Snug’ blog.

A Snuggly Snug - Decorating with Dark Colours

Painting this room was just the beginning – I now wanted moody dark colours everywhere!  Dark colours create warmth and cosiness in winter and in summer, a cool place to hide away from the heat…a win, win situation.  Initially the lounge had been painted in Crown Beige White, which has been my favourite light paint colour for years now but I just wanted a different look.

Living Room

Living Room

So the transformation began.  Once again, Valspar Empirical Grey was the chosen colour.  In this room, I did the skirting boards, door and walls in the same colour.  Unlike the our guest bedroom, I didn’t paint the coving.  Painting the coving is great if you want the room to feel taller, but on the flip side, it makes the floor space seem ever so slightly smaller.

Decorating with dark colours, grey lounge.

Decorating with dark colours, grey lounge.

Decorating with dark colours, grey lounge.

Dark grey walls, victorian terrace lounge

In my opinion, one thing that makes this room a bigger success above the other dark rooms I have decorated, is having a close match between the paint colour and the curtains – the walls, doors, windows all blend in to one another giving the furniture and decorative objects a greater chance to stand out.

Decorating with dark colours, grey lounge.

Just like every other room in our home, this one has its fair share of bargains and handmade touches too.

Decorating with dark colours, grey lounge.
This little sofa was originally duck egg blue but I re-covered it to tone in with my ‘grey’ mood. I also had trouble finding a lampshade for the lamp base on the left hand side of the picture. I ended up recovering a cheap plain one with some fabric I thought would add a much needed punch of colour.
Decorating with dark colours, grey lounge.
This cute ceramic lidded pot came from my local charity shop. I bought it for £2. It is the perfect size to hide my hand stitching scissors and needle case away.
Decorating with dark colours, grey lounge.
I bought this cupboard, which originally was a dressing table with a mirror attached, for £15. The decorative detail on the front caught my eye. I gave it a scrub, took off the mirror and damaged top, and had a piece of river washed granite cut for it.
Decorating with dark colours, grey lounge.
More handmade curtains and a painted mid century sideboard as our TV stand.

You might be able to tell I have a penchant for birds.  I give myself strict orders not to put any more birds up but they always call to me 😉 I grew up with over three hundred birds singing in a huge aviary outside my bedroom window so I guess it was to be expected.

Everything continues to evolve and change and it won’t be long until this room goes through another change.  As I tip-tap away on this keyboard, my grandparent’s sofas are sailing their way towards us and will have a home here in this room.  Edna and Ossie bought these couches shortly after my dad was born in 1942.  They were a cherished possession and I am going to continue to cherish them.  They are going to create quite a design challenge for me though.  They are yellow velvet and I am only just starting to embrace teeny tiny touches of yellow which these couches are not!



  1. Although being an entrenched advocate of whites and pales, it would be hard to argue, that your Shades of Grey look anything other than amazing! I love the transformation.

    1. Oh thank you, especially as it isn’t your usual style! Although I love whites and pales too – Joanna Gaines from The Fixer Upper does a super job with that style. Dark just seems to suit this house though…

    1. Thanks Anita, I really like painting the skirting and the walls the same colour. It definitely makes the room look bigger. Cheerio Claire

  2. I’m in the States and recently people are freaking out that I’ve painted the skirts/doors/window trim/ceiling in our new colonial too (a beautiful dark blue/green from Behr called shipwreck, it’s fabulous.) But then they see it, and they love it. Now I want to paint the skirts in my whole house! Love your gray, I may have to steal it for our living space!

    1. Hi Syndi, I googled your paint colour and love it. I definitely think having walls, boards and trim in the same colour gives it more impact. I’m in the process of having some armchairs I got from my grandmother reupholstered and I think your paint colour is very similar. Cheerio Claire

  3. Love your little sofa! I’m looking for something similar to go alongside an armchair we have re-covered; where is it from if you don’t mind me asking? Many thanks, Collette

    1. Hi Collette, the little sofa is a great ‘curl up for comfort’ chair. We got it from Marks and Spencer, but it was over 10 years ago now. It was originally a duck egg blue but I recovered it when I fell out of love with the colour. Good luck in your chair hunt – it can be hard finding the right piece! Cheerio Claire

  4. Looks beautiful except for the big opening inside the fire place. It looks like something is missing. Maybe add some logs stacked up or perhaps some candles. I think that would be the finishing touch to balance everything out perfectly.

    1. Hello, your comment made me laugh – it was like you had been a ‘fly on my wall’ listening to my discussions with my husband about that exact space. I agree, the space needs something and I am in the process of sorting it out. It is a working chimney, so we have decided to go for a fire basket filled with logs. Then we can burn them on the chilly days. Claire =)

    1. Hi P, The paint colour is called Empirical Grey by Valspar, which is available from B&Q. Good luck with the paint – it can be tricky getting the right colour. Cheerio Claire

  5. Hi I love your room, I’ve a couple of questions- where did you get your lovely ceiling light from? And I know you said you made your lampshade but where’s the floor lamp stand from? I’m guessing it’s vintage.

    1. Thanks Paula! The ceiling light came from a lighting shop on Camden Road in Tunbridge Wells. I bought it close to 7 years ago now and I think it was their last one but they always have such a huge range of lights. There are two floor lamps in the lounge – I bought the silver based one from Homesense and the wooden one is a vintage one. I got that one for £10! I bought it from a local furniture charity shop but I also see them on Ebay from time to time. Have a good day, Claire =)

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