Grey nursery ideas to create a timeless colour scheme for all

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  • Whether you’re welcoming a newborn or moving a toddler into their own bedroom, decorating the nursery is an exciting task. The key is to create a timeless nursery decor that can evolve as your little one grows. A reason we think grey nursery ideas are so in demand, as this go-to neutral reigns as one of the most popular shades of the decade.

    Grey nursery ideas for all

    Because grey is a dependable neutral, more decorative than white but not as out there as an ‘of-the-moment’ trending colour, grey is ideal for the walls and floors of any children’s room idea. Flourishes of accent colour can be added through furniture, soft furnishings and accessories to give the room a splash of vibrancy and personality.

    ‘Light grey can be used anywhere you’d consider white’ says Farrow & Ball’s head of creative Charlotte Cosby. ‘Far from looking spartan, it can add character and depth to even the simplest of spaces.’

    ‘When introducing colour accents to greys, think about the undertones of the pairing first and then the contrast you wish to achieve.’ Grey pairs perfectly with inky blues, serene greens, pretty pinks and sunshine or mellow yellows – it really is the most versatile shade for a nursery decorating scheme, to encourage baby to sleep, play and grow.

    1. Add subtle grey touches to white walls

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    A grey nursery idea doesn’t mean you have to paint the walls, why not embrace this timeless shade for the carpets and soft furnishings instead. White walls are the ideal backdrop for a clean and classic nursery scheme, where tones of grey can add just enough colour definition to add interest.

    A grey fabric window blind idea is perfect to anchor the accent shade for the accessories and furniture to be added to match. Grey is the ideal shade for a carpet, providing a light colour to anchor the timeless look – where spills and accidents won’t show up too much, compared to a lighter shade of beige or cream.

    2. Welcome statement wallpaper

    grey child's room with navy geometric wallpaper and white dresser

    image credit: Nubie Kids, Oka Nursery Dresser £864

    Give a grey nursery a touch of grown-up decoration with a statement wallpaper idea on a feature wall. Choose a design that captivates in a scale of grey and welcomes a pattern to use throughout the room – in this case it’s an on-trend geometric design.

    Add coordinating touches of geometric print to the room via cushions and rugs. To enhance the more grown up vibes of the decor choose brass or gold light fittings to add a touch of sophistication.

    3. Take a two-tone approach to grey walls

    grey nursery with two tone walls

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Rachel Smith

    Can’t decide on which grey to paint the walls? Why not let this nursery inspire your room to take on a two-tone grey colour scheme. Pick a light grey for the top half of the wall, pairing it with a darker grey hue on the bottom half. Using this bedroom paint idea divides the room, helping to give the illusion of a greater ceiling height which is particularly effective used in a small room – which is so often the case with a nursery.

    Paint exposed floorboards in the same light grey to tie the whole scheme together with ease. If you do have exposed floorboards ensure they are well insulated to avoid drafts, layering the floor with decorative rugs welcomes warmth and texture too.

    4. Add warmth with the right tone

    warm grey nursery with cot and child with toy

    Image credit: Earthborn, Inglenook painted walls

    If the nursery is small or lacking natural light look to paint the walls with a warm grey. Earthborn’s colour expert explains how ‘Inglenook’ is the perfect shade for the job.

    As ‘a sophisticated combination of taupe, grey and lilac’ this hue is not a flat, cold grey. It welcomes a colour that is perfectly paired with pink or blue accents, or any colour that takes your fancy.

    5. Introduce a subtle touch of sophistication

    grey nursery with wooden floorboards and stripped back wooden furniture

    Image credit: Tori Murphy

    This grey nursery is chic in style thanks to a paired back scheme, where all the colours are desaturated and calming. The luxury knitted Tori Murphy blankets are soft in tone but contrasting enough to welcome a delicate accent tone to the more monochrome palette. The light washed wooden furniture helps to add a hint of relaxed Scandi-style to exude an air of sophistication.

    6. Paint walls and wardrobes to match

    grey kids room with fabric bed canopy

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Emma Lewis

    Keep the background simple and create the perfect blank canvas on which to build up accent colours by painting everything in one tone of grey. Paint everything, from walls to wardrobes and any from of architecture within the room, one solitary grey tone to help to unify all surfaces. This allows the chosen accessories to really stand out against the timeless grey background.

    Having everything in one solid colour is another great way to make a small kids bedroom, such as a nursery, feeling more streamlined and less cluttered – therefore helping to create an open and airy feel to the decor.

    7. Zone with thoughtful touches of colour

    kids room with white and grey walls blue bed and book shelves

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Use colour to create feature walls that zone the space. In this light painted nursery a section of wall is painted in a darker shade of grey to act as backdrop for the bed, to clearly define the sleep area of the bedroom. You could this imagination paint idea to add a feature wall for changing station or a play area. It allows you to give definition to the small space, without overwhelming with colour.

    8. Balance shades throughout the room

    Light grey kids room with grey armchair

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    If deciding to introduce grey accents to your nursery idea it can be helpful to balance the tone throughout. Choose darker tones for bigger items of furniture that can ground the scheme. Choose lighter shades at higher eye levels to balance the scale of colour, such as this light grey window blind idea – that doesn’t compete with the heavier charcoal grey of the chair. A mid-tone grey is perfect for the carpet to anchor the colour within the room, making a practical base for a small child’s bedroom.

    9. Welcome playful pattern to floors

    grey nursery with patterned grey carpet

    Image credit: Carpetright

    If ever there was a room to have fun with the flooring it’s in a nursery. The room is ideal for playful pattern on walls and floors, as this cloud patterned carpet shows. They grey ground of the pattern helps to keep it timeless and unisex for all children, with the fluffy clouds being abstract enough without feeling too babyish, ideal to see your little one through from newborn to teens.

    Carpetright say the design is, ‘durable and resilient, making it a perfect fit to match the playing habits of energetic little feet. Ideal for use within a nursery, bedroom or maybe a playroom to give them a space they can really love.’

    10. Add warmth with lilac tones

    Lilac grey nursery with faux sheepskin rug and wooden sheep book holder

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Brett Charles Photography

    If you’re looking to add touches of pink and purple to the room look for a grey with lilac undertones. A warmer temperature within the grey helps to enhance the warmth of pink accent colours. Look to add the most vibrant touches of colour on the walls that feature the windows, as these will naturally be darker thanks to the shadows – therefore will need cheering up the most.

    11. Seek stripes to make a statement

    Grey striped nursery wallpaper and personalise wooden letters on white wall

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    Looking to add pattern, but don’t want the choice to date too quickly? Stripes and spots are both timeless pattern choices that add a sense of fun and a flourish of colour, that won’t date at your babies grows. A grey and white stripe design provides a playful backdrop for layers of any accent colour. As your baby grows you can change the furniture and accessories to suit a new age, but the stripes will retain the same appeal.

    12. Open up the space with a neutral warm grey

    warm grey nursery with pink accessories

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Jonathan Gooch

    When decorating a small nursery space which may be lacking in natural light look to the warmer end of the grey scale. Like with the best white paint grey  has hidden depths, meaning the undertones can look very different in different lights and different size rooms, and at various times throughout the day. A grey with a warm temperature will remain cosy rather than cold, which will be important for creating a welcoming environment for little ones.

    Enhance the warm tones with accents of punchy pink on soft furnishings and complement the look with bright white furniture.

    12. Welcome sunshine rays with bright accessories

    grey nursery with bright coloured pendant light and bunting

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Jo Bridges

    A soothing shade of grey creates the perfect backdrop to add pops of playful colour.  Colours that go with grey in any room, particularly a nursery,  are blush pink, navy blue, invigorating green and uplifting yellow to lift the look.

    Painting walls in grey provides a timeless background, giving you the freedom to add pops of colour through a brightly colour pendant light, bold bedding and vibrant accessories such as bunting. Adding touches of bright colour on accessories means you can change it up every few years as your baby grows and develops tastes and personal preferences.

    Is grey a good colour for a nursery?

    Grey is a good colour for any room, especially a nursery. Grey is timeless colour that has many undertones, to offer a different shade to suit all tastes. From light dove grey to a more dramatic charcoal grey, it’s all about choosing the right depth and warmth.

    ‘Colour wise, ‘Inglenook’ is a sophisticated combination of taupe, grey and lilac and ‘Cat’s Cradle’ is a calm, nostalgic neutral more sophisticated than a true grey. Both are great calming colours for nurseries’ advises Emily Morgan, Colour Expert at Earthborn.

    ‘We know how important it is that your little one is safe and cared for, which is why we have lovingly crafted a breathable eco-friendly paint, that carries the toy safety standard’ Emily explains. ‘Our paints contain no hidden nasties and are fume free, so you can effortlessly create a safe nursery, without compromising on beautiful colour. Gentle on your home and your little one.’

    What colour goes with grey in a nursery?

    Grey is considered a shade that never goes out of style largely thanks to its versatility – which is a winning attribute when it comes to choosing a colour to decorate a nursery for a little one. As one of those wonderfully adaptable shades that works perfectly with just about any accent colour it’s perfect to add splashes of bright colours against.

    ‘No matter what your style, throw too many colours in the mix and your decor plans become a hot mess!’ warns Emily Morgan, Colour Expert at Earthborn. ‘When it comes to planning a nursery or children’s bedroom in particular, we’d recommend selecting 1-2 main colours with 2-3 accent colours.’

    ‘By limiting your colour palette in this way, the room will feel pulled together and cohesive (even if it isn’t always neat and tidy!) A slightly restricted palette also helps to narrow down choices, which can make selecting items for your nursery a little less overwhelming.’