Not everyone has a stand-alone dining room these days. With the increase in the open-plan living and the fact that modern homes tend to be smaller, often the dining space is part of a bigger room, which means using a neutral shade for the whole space is a good idea for a cohesive look that doesn’t jar.
Grey dining room ideas are the ideal choice as they work perfectly for everyday family meals but can be elevated to a more elegant look when entertaining.
Grey dining room ideas
Soothing shades of grey range from the palest whisper to deeper, more dramatic charcoal tones, and everything in between, we’ll show you how to get the wow factor and different looks with dining room ideas in grey.
1. Introduce texture with wallpaper
If you are lucky enough to have a big space, it’s a good idea to break up plain white walls with wallpaper, either a grey wallpaper with a pattern or one with texture.
Grasscloth wallpapers have been growing in popularity recently due to their sustainable credentials and they are a good way of bringing a natural look into your grey dining room. This dining room wallpaper idea will add depth to the space and make it feel warmer too, then build on the look by adding a textured rug and seat cushions in a similar fabric.
2. Choose warm greys to soften a contemporary scheme
White dining room ideas and modern furniture can look stark and unwelcoming, so choose a warm grey for the walls. Greys with a beige or taupe tinge, will add warmth, softness and a hint of colour without being too overpowering.
A grey wash on wooden flooring will also enhance the scheme and again will prevent it from being too harsh. Rounded dining chairs will also add softness to a scheme and you could also add colour or texture at the window to blur the hard edges.
3. Build up a grey scheme
Adding a wall panelling idea adds interest to plain walls which can then be painted in a mid-grey for impact. Then build on the scheme with a grey and white striped blind at the window - stripes are a timeless classic and add texture with a wooden table in a taupe wash and upholstered chairs for comfort in a warm, taupe shade. A natural, honey-coloured wooden floor is a good contrast, this scheme would work perfectly for a sophisticated breakfast room.
4. Pair grey with pastels for a homely look
For a soft and welcoming grey dining room idea, think about using pastel pinks and blues to enhance a pretty, pale shade of grey on the walls, it has a slightly blue hue which taps into the pastel shades. Add life to the scheme with pastel china, glassware and flowers. A wire-front dresser and cross-back chairs add a French provincial look and the fringed taupe linen tablecloth makes it feel relaxed.
5. Tone on tone greys for a balanced look
Blending different grey shades is a sophisticated way to create a grey dining room idea. A grey slate-effect tiled floor is a good starting point for the scheme, then choose a complementary shade for the walls.
Grey chairs alongside grey tableware add another dimension. Black and white prints create a focal point in the room and as they aren’t attached to the wall, they can be changed up with colourful prints to create a different mood, they are propped on a shelf painted grey so that it blends into the dining room wall decor ideas and the visual focus is on the artwork.
6. Bring in grey with dining room furniture
Sideboards are such useful pieces of furniture in a dining room. It means having china, glasses and cutlery right where you need them. If you want to introduce grey into your dining room, choosing grey furniture is a good way of doing it.
This sideboard fits neatly into the space against a pale grey wall and grey full-length curtains have a deep blue trim which picks up the colour of the dining chairs for a wonderful colour combination, sophisticated and elegant. An unusual black lamp is a talking point and a window pane mirror reflects the outdoors bringing nature in and lifting the whole scheme.
‘Although grey can be a cocooning colour, it can also be a little cold, so in order to lift it, pops of colour or metallic shades work well.’ Says Tina Mahoney, owner, Go Modern Furniture. ‘So we recommend dining chairs with metallic legs or opt for metallic handles on sideboards. Think about other pieces of furniture too, such as metallic drinks trolleys and cabinet to add shine and a touch of glamour.’
7. Create a feature wall in the dining room with grey
Use a deep, charcoal grey paint to add drama to a room and also to zone the space. Painting a chimney breast creates a focal point – your eye goes straight to it when you walk in the room and painting one wall isn’t as overpowering as painting the whole room.
The wall colour adds depth to the scheme, then other grey touches have been added such as the grey frame on the dining table and grey and white patterned curtains. A fabulous gold mirror draws your eye to the chimney breast and it stands out perfectly against the dark background, white or cream would work equally well too.
8. Be individual
Use grey as a neutral base colour then add your own individual touches for grey dining room ideas that are unique to you. A stencilled floor is a lovely way to make the space your own, opt for a bold design or something simpler such as stripes or a chequerboard effect.
Benches rather than dining chairs have become popular in dining spaces lately and they are perfect in a small space, as they can be tucked underneath the table, so great in a multi-use room.
‘Cool grey dining rooms love a dash of heat in the accessories to balance the visual temperature.’ Says Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director of Dulux.’ So use burnt oranges, dusky pinks and mellow yellows in the small details like painted chair legs, cut flowers and table settings. If you want a wrap-around grey on every wall, try teaming it with a delicate ‘barely there’ pink like Powder Colour and just use the grey on the walls you want to draw attention to.’
9. Embrace small space living with elegance
If you're looking for small dining room ideas, a tall bar table and stools are a great idea as it has a small footprint. Keep the look simple and elegant with a barely-there.
Add a statement light above the centre of the table for a touch of luxury. This furniture would work really well in an alcove too, or tucked into a corner.
10. Think about window treatments
Don’t limit yourself to paint or wallpaper when considering grey for a dining room, think about the other elements in the room such as the windows. Grey patterned blinds or dining room curtains ideas are a great way to introduce a flash of colour or a new shade of grey. A black wire pendant light above the table adds an industrial touch, the perfect complement to a grey scheme, as is the polished concrete floor shown here
11. Invite a sense of luxury with velvet
Elevate your dining space through your choice of tactile materials in grey and cream tones. From linen curtains and table runners to good quality tableware and soft velvet chairs, the materials you layer into the space can all contribute towards a more 'grown-up' aesthetic.
Sanel Konyar, designer and founder of Interior Kollection recommends choosing accessories with texture to create a welcoming atmosphere. 'Upscale your soft furnishings with velvet,' she says. 'A sizable rug can also add warmth to a grey room that feels cold.'
12. Combine grey with mixed metals and woods
Create a fun and eclectic feel with mixed metals and woods set against a backdrop of greys and white. Ceiling lights in both brass tones and grey metal, together with industrial metal seating options and varied wood tones make for a homely and visually interesting scheme that'll look great under some candlelight come evening.
'Combining grey with mixed metals and wood is a great way to celebrate neutrals and enhance a range of materials,' comments Julian Downes at Fibre Flooring. Soften the look (and the acoustics) with a rug, and you can also add in a soft table runner, sheepskin and houseplants, too.
13. Add character with family photos
Frame a selection of large black and white family photos in black, square frames arranged in a row to make an affordable design feature that celebrates your family and special memories. Family photos are a lovely conversation starter when inviting guests round, and are perfect for the dining space where we gather around the table.
Cool grey paint works perfectly as a backdrop – note how painting the radiators to match the walls makes them disappear. You can also display trinkets, vases and other decor pieces on open shelving to create an inviting space where people will naturally congregate.
14. Keep it classic with checkerboard tiles
Checkered tiles will never go out of style, and they can look great alongside grey-painted furniture and cabinetry. The smooth and slightly reflective surface of the tiles keeps things bright and airy.
Set at a diagonal, they tend to emphasise the width of a space, making the room feel broader than it really is. Bench seating that can be tucked in works perfectly in this space and means you can squeeze more people around the table, creating a relaxed vibe.
15. Transform with a lick of paint
If you have an open plan kitchen and dining area, why not zone the space with dining room paint ideas? Be brave with a dark grey like Farrow & Ball's Down Pipe on the wall to anchor the area, and continue the grey theme by giving an old wooden table a new lease of life with a lick of paint in a paler shade.
'A tonal palette adds texture and interest to a design to avoid a flat, wall-to-wall grey,' comments Julian Downes. 'Combine with lighter greys and warm creams for a sustainable and eco feel or with bolder colours for more of a statement.'
16. Welcome accent grey on wall panelling
Adding an elegant wall panelling idea to a dining room is a fabulous way to add an air of sophistication, helping to make even everyday dining feel that little bit more special. While wall panelling benefits from a splash of colour, to accentuate the design, it doesn't have to be bold to be brilliant – as this mid-tone grey dining room from Bayer Design proves.
If your wall panelling is on one wall, the added colour helps to create a focal point. This sets the scene for the dining table to be placed centrally in front.
17. Pair cool grey with pops of bright colour
Inject a touch of vibrancy to your grey or white dining room by adding brightly coloured accessories. Cobalt blue is a dreamy accent colour to stand out against cool shades of grey, as are fuchsia pink and emerald green. The cool nature of the grey allows the accent colours to really pop.
If your everyday dining room is large in size with plenty of natural light you can afford to go darker with the wall colour. Typically it's best to avoid too much dark in a small dining room with limited light, so this can make it feel restrictive and enclosing.
18. Be expressive with paint effects
Grey dining room ideas can be more than just a blank canvas of colour with the addition of thoughtful paint effects. The trend for expressive paint effects has been going from strength to strength in recent years, as homeowners look to get more creative with their colour choices. Use a tonal grey palette to add decorative interest to your wall.
This fine example of dining room wall decor has chosen a dramatic mountain scape to set the scene for family dining. But you could tone it down slightly by simply creating a faux dado rail with the darker colour below and a lighter shade on top.
Add a further fun element by painting a stencilled rug design on the floor, to welcome pattern and colour to your grey scheme.
19. Add depth with strong saturations of grey
Add depth and warmth to your dining space by choosing a darker accent grey. Not only can darker shades help to add ambience, especially when dining by night. They can also help to make your dining room furniture choices stand out.
Take for instance how well this shade of Trilby by Earthborn paints helps to accentuate the lighter wood and honey leather tones found in the furniture and the decorative dining room lighting idea.
Creating an entertaining space with warm, gentle colours and honest materials will give your home a style and quality that transcends trends and creates a sense of calming wellbeing.
Stylist's tip: Create a foraged display for decoration. Dried stems are very of-the-moment. They are ideal for a dining room because they add natural drama without strong colours and don't require any maintenance.
20. Add another dimension to monochrome
Make grey the third colourway in a black and white monochrome scheme. Here, grey wood panelling and a grey concrete floor provides the perfect backdrop for a monochrome patterned rug and dining furniture that mixes natural materials and black iron.
A soothing grey helps to add an effortlessly sophisticated feel to this laid-back Scandi style decor.
21. Match walls and floors in the same shade
Create a cohesive look by matching the grey walls with the flooring. A pale grey parquet-style flooring can be reflected by a matching paint shade on the walls. The uniformed look can create a bigger sense of space, as the eye will be drawn seamlessly upwards from the floor.
To add a twist to the matching scheme why not try a statement dining room wallpaper idea, like the example shown above. The trompe l'oeil Andrew Martin woodpile wallpaper adds a rustic edge to this sophisticated grey dining room space.
22. Temper patterned floors with soft grey
If you have a patterned flooring idea the room will benefit from a neutral shade to dress the walls. A soft grey coordinated with the floor helps to add colour without overwhelming the space. The key to styling a room with busy flooring is to temper the rest fo the scheme to allow the flooring to be the dominant design feature.
The beauty of a pale grey means the walls are not too stark in contrast, such as if you were using brilliant white. This means the whole scheme feels a touch softer and more cohesive.
23. Introduce grey with soft furnishings
Pair the palest grey on the walls with a more statement shade of grey for soft furnishings, to keep the look simple. A small dining room benefits from using the lightest colour on the walls to keep it airy and bright. Darker shades of grey on soft furnishings cement the dining room colour scheme.
There are many ways to dress windows, but the right window treatment for your space not only invites a splash of colour. It also welcomes a touch of privacy when using the dining area of an evening – creating a more intimate setting.
24. Pair grey with gold for glamour
Celebrate in a grey dining room that's smart and opulent. Dark charcoal grey makes a sophisticated backdrop, brought to life with gold accents such as upholstery, frames, furniture and a statement clock. This colour combination is ideal for a more formal dining room, where you want to create a 'special occasion' feel, rather than everyday use.
25. Create a bright, fresh feel
Frosty shades of pale blue lay beneath these calming, cool grey hues. Light greys are perfect for a small but sunny room where the light can make deeper colours too intense, while boosting its feeling of space.
Be inspired by Nordic country interiors and use warm mid-grey on the walls in small dining rooms as an alternative to white. Add natural rustic elements for texture and warmth, such as wooden candlesticks and a selection of hand-made tableware.
26. Use harmonious shades of grey
For an off-white option, soft dove grey is an understated yet smart backdrop for other monochrome shades in a dining room. Team greys with plenty of natural wood and muted accessories for a smart, chic feel.
27. Go for a statement shade of grey
Grey is the perfect backdrop for a gallery of cool and quirky artwork. To recreate this look, fill empty wall space above a dining room cabinet with an arrangement of artwork.
Create a triangular display, lining up the bottom row with the top line of the furniture. Then fill in above with frames at staggered heights. A grey scheme works particularly well with a bright, punchy colour.
28. Combine charcoal with warm wood
We have seen the revival of grey in interiors over the last seasons but this time it's combined with earthy wood tones to instantly add warmth and depth.
This combination is especially popular in grey kitchen ideas, with a dining area present. Grey gives a calm and relaxed feel to the home, and is a fresh alternative to the classic neutral palette and acts as a great backdrop to introduce splashes of other colours.
29. Add a different dimension to a room
Grey, like white, changes in temperature depending on the natural light from outside and overhead lights. If your dining room is part of an open-plan kitchen with a glass roof lantern look for a grey that adds another dimension.
Different shades of grey offer different undertones depending on the positioning. Light-filled south-facing dining spaces benefit from grey tones with hints of blue to contrast the natural warmth of the light. While darker north-facing rooms will benefit more from using a warmer grey scale.
30. Pare it back
Opt for pared-back furniture and accessories, shown in this neutral dining room. Grey dining room ideas teamed with wood creates a naturally Scandinavian feel, so select pieces that will complete the Nordic look. Choose simple, clean lines when mixing two contrasting tones for an elegant, unfussy look.
Is grey a good colour for a dining room?
Grey is a good colour for a dining room, providing the perfect neutral backdrop without being bland and cold. It can be paired back and peaceful or ramped up with colour to create an exciting entertaining space. Choosing the best grey paint will welcome warmth to the walls without having to overwhelm with a more statement colour, depending on which shade you choose. Grey is a good base colour, so will happily take bold colours in artwork, accessories and tableware.
It has many different undertones depending on the shade. Rooms that are south-facing are full of light throughout the day making them warmer in tone. To maximise the space you have, grey colours with hints of soft blue are a great way to accentuate the room even further as they contrast the natural warm tone.
North-facing rooms have a slightly colder light throughout the rest of the day and as such, could benefit from using a warmer tone. Think about the placement of your room before you reach for the paint can as the overall look of one paint will be completely different in two rooms on opposing sides of the house.
What colour goes with grey?
Navy blue works well in a grey room, but think about the different tones, blue will suit a lighter grey rather than a darker one. If you decide to go for a darker grey on the dining room walls, think about pairing it with pink, a strong aqua or emerald green. All will have an impact and add a dramatic touch.
What accent colour goes with grey?
An accent colour will instantly change the look of a grey dining room. As a neutral, grey is the perfect base for being adventurous with colour.
Colour and paint expert Annie Sloan suggests going bold with yellow. ‘Dynamic spaces such as dining rooms lend themselves well to bolder colour choices and can be brought to life with accents of bright yellow,’ she says. ‘It gives an energetic, thrilling, nourishing feeling to a dining room and is one of the happiest colours in the spectrum.’
How do you brighten a grey dining room?
Welcome an accent colour to instantly brighten a grey dining room. Grey is one of those shades that lends itself so perfectly with a whole range of accent colours, anything from bold cobalt blues to captivating corals or vivid greens.
Choosing one accent colour, in different saturations of the same shade, allows you to inject a brighter colour on soft furnishings, table linens, light shades and tableware – adding colour throughout on different levels. Will you be giving the grey trend a go with these grey dining room ideas?
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Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
- Alison DavidsonContributor
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