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Colour explained: everything you need to know about greige paint

Living room decorated in Lick Greige 02 paint shade
Lick Greige 02

WordsFrankie Marqueé

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Do you know your beiges from your greiges? If no, you certainly will by the end of this guide. Not only that, you’ll understand what makes Greige 01 such a good fit for a north-facing room as well as an easterly one, why a green undertone in your greige will give off a gorgeously warm undercurrent, and more than anything, which greige is the greige for you…

Let’s talk undertones

By its very nature, greige has one very big deal undertone that begins with a G and ends with a Y. To create any shade of greige, you begin with beige and then you layer in different degrees of grey. Grey is a constant, a base ingredient, a staple part of any and every greige. But grey is a colour with many faces. Some paints have a charcoal grey undertone whereas others have a powdered grey that adds whisper-soft duskiness to a paint’s character. And remember too that paints don’t have to stick to one undertone and one undertone alone. Hence why there’s far more than one type of greige out there.

Here at Lick, we’ve kept our greige palette restrained with just two to pick between (or pick both, putting one on your ceiling as a breakaway from white), and the undertones in question with Greige 01 and Greige 02 are as follows:

  • Grey: grey is a go-to undertone for cooling down a colour’s temperature. In Greige 01 you’ll find less of it, because we wanted to make sure this one teetered closer to beige and still had definite warmth. Greige 02 on the other hand has more grey going on, but a gentle dove grey in depth so the resulting shade is a demure, contemporary greige with cool notes.
  • Green: to up the ante on its warmth, we’ve blended in a green undertone to Greige 01 on top of its grey base. A green undertone helps a colour to feel more classic too making it a good match in period properties or rooms where you want there to be a nurturing feel, like bedrooms.

Drop a tint. Throw some shade

Colour buffs refer to lightening a colour as adding tint – in other words, white. And when you read of a colour having more shade, it simply means more black has been mixed in to give a colour depth.

Both of our greige paints are mid-tones, but it’s Greige 01 that has a touch more shade and depth to it whereas Greige 02 is lighter, breezier and will give your room real lift. Think of Greige 01 as the more grounding shade and Greige 02 colour as the airier of the two.

Colour compatibility and room direction

Now to that head-scratching area of colour choices and the compass point. But with just two greiges to pick between and a firm understanding already of their respective characters, this final section is more of a step than a leap to knowing which greige will best suit your room.

North-facing rooms: a warming green greige

In a north-facing room you’ll be up against lots of morning light that casts a cool blue tone. It’s fresh for sure, but can leave the room feeling chilly and tones with more grey or blue to them coming across as flat. While Greige 02 is warm in tone, to be extra safe, stick with Greige 01 whose green undertone will step forward and sheila you from any shade.

East-facing rooms: a green-based greige

If we’ve said it before, we’ll say it again – east-facing rooms see a lot of change. Whatever neutral you choose will look very different whether it’s sunset or sunrise. So, think about what time of day you'll be using that room most. But if you want a hue that’s going to work best from dawn ’til dusk, we fancy a green-based neutral most like Greige 01. It’s cool enough to balance out the warmth of that morning sun, but there’s still some warmth there thanks to that green-y base to keep things mellow and welcoming in the afternoon onwards.

West-facing rooms: understatedly warming green greige

Just like rooms that look to the east, westerly rooms are the most changeable, so you’d better pay some thought to what time of day you’ll be hanging out in there. On the whole, they tend to look all the better with a warmer hue for company – good news then, because that’s both of our greige paints, but just like our advice for the east, go for slightly warmer Greige 01 to play it safe.

South-facing rooms: a light and refreshing taupe greige

Have a golden glow going on and the good news is, they pretty much suit all colours. Even if you use a cooler neutral like and it’ll still feel modern – no balmy beams will take away from that. But ask us to pick our all-time favourite greige for southern rooms? Greige 02 because it’s warm enough to bask in the sun’s rays but with enough grey to make sure your room feels balanced and as fresh as a daisy.

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