Grey living room accent wall ideas – 10 ways to turn your space from drab to fab

Grey walls looking a little lacklustre? Give them a lift with these imaginative ideas

Grey living room with geometric wallpaper, grey sofas and orange accents
(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

The beauty of decorating with neutrals is that they harmonise so well with almost every other colour, so when it comes to grey living room accent wall ideas, there’s options aplenty. 

When considering an accent wall, introducing bold paint shades to your grey living room ideas make seem like the only way to make a statement, but we can assure you, it’s not. When working with a neutral room, you can, and should, think well beyond solid blocks of colour. 

We’re not just talking fancy wallpapers and paint effects (although these can look great), we’re talking hanging plant arrangements, gallery artwork displays, textured finishes, architectural features, extensive shelving… basically, anything that ‘accents’ a wall goes, as long as it looks good, obviously.  

Grey living room accent wall ideas 

One of the reasons grey is such a popular colour choice for a living room is because there’s so many shades of it. And they can all look very different depending on the light. So if you’re planning on sticking with grey across your whole scheme – accent wall and all – it’s important you take this into account. 

‘The room will naturally feel cold if it faces East or North, while those thatt face South or West have a warmer light. If you use a cool grey in a room with cool light it can make it feel even colder, even depressing to spend time in. Choosing a warm shade will counteract this’, says Elaine Penhaul, director and founder of Lemon & Lime Interiors

1. Frame a window

Off white living room with arched windows with the frames painted mid grey to match a grey sofa in front of them

(Image credit:

Make the most of what you’ve got by using floor-to-ceiling windows as your accent piece (assuming they’re worthy of it, of course). Using light on walls then painting frames in a contrasting dark shade such as anthracite or almost-black charcoal will emphasize their shape and draw attention to the views outside – kind of like a ready-made mural. 

If you’d rather hide your windows than show them off, that’s ok, a grey accent wall can help with this, too. Try painting the entire wall in a dark shade, such as anthracite; frames, woodwork, trims and all, to have everything blend in beautifully (including children’s fingermark prints!). 

If you don’t have wooden windows, UPVC windows can also be painted, just look for a specialist primer or paint for durability. 

2. Look up

Small room with dark grey painted ceiling

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

When we think of an accent wall, our mind doesn’t always jump upwards, but the ceiling is a great place to add interest to a grey living room. It works with all sorts of schemes, too, including blue and grey living room ideas. This trick has added benefits if your living room ceilings are on the low side; a pop of colour up high draws the eye upwards, creating the illusion of extra height and a more spacious room overall. 

While we may not all be brave enough to wallpaper a ceiling, playing with different paint tones can make for a stylish statement, and takes little effort on your part – always a bonus. 

‘Try something a little different by painting walls in a neutral shade such as Crown’s Flour Dust, then using a soft lavender such as Soft Ash on the ceiling so it visually spills onto the walls below – combining depths of tone in this way can be very effective. Bring the scheme together using coloured accessories like pillows and throws’, says Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown Paints.  

3. Introduce a wall mural

White and grey open-plan living room with corner green velvet sofa in front of a window-style botanical wall mural

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

A nature-inspired wall mural or large-patterned paper is the perfect way to bring the outdoors in, and light grey walls offer the perfect ‘frame’. Green and grey living room ideas are known for their calming and restful qualities, so while it may feel like a bold choice, don’t hold back – choosing an accent wall like this, with lots of space in the pattern, won’t overwhelm a room. 

For a cohesive scheme, opt for natural materials and a soft green palette across upholstery and accessories to mirror the landscape on the wall. 

4. Pep it up with patterned wallpaper

Grey living room with geometric wallpaper, grey sofas and orange accents

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

If your grey living room lacks a theme to ground it, consider introducing a patterned wallpaper. Grey walls offer the perfect backdrop which allows you to be creative in your choice, but it can be overwhelming to know where to start.  

When planning living room wallpaper ideas, think about how you want to feel when you’re in the room. Is it a place to entertain? To relax? Once you know how you’ll use the space, you can decide whether you want an invigorating, colourful design or a calming, muted one, for example. 

Here, grey upholstery and washed wood furniture help to anchor the look, while muted terracotta cushions highlight the subtle accent colour in the global-inspired wallpaper design – we love it. 

5. Pair grey with retro yellow

Open plan living space decorated in grey and yellow with retro style wallpaper

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

‘Although mustard as a condiment isn’t always to everyone's taste, it’s safe to say the colour gets a big thumbs up when paired with grey in a living room. It provides a contemporary and stylish finish, creating an uplifting feeling in the most sociable room of the house’, says Lisa Slack, head of product at Thomas Sanderson

Embrace the retro vibes and yellow and grey living room ideas, with a funky bold wallpaper, a cool colour drench wall grey or a mixture of both, like they’ve done here. Dress the room with vintage pieces to continue the theme. 

6. Try a concrete paint effect

Contemporary living room with modular grey sofa and concrete effect fireplace wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Anna Stathaki)

While tiles are usually the go-to choice for highlighting a fireplace, concrete is a great alternative – it brings texture and warmth, making it the perfect choice for a grey living room accent wall idea. If you're unsure which grey is best for a living room, this is a surefire hit. 

While it is possible to apply concrete to an accent wall, the same effect can be achieved much more simply with paint – easy-to-use specialist textured paints are readily available if you want to DIY. 

Why stop there? If you like the idea of using a textured wall to spice up your grey schemes, there’s plenty to choose from; plaster and timber work well in both traditional and contemporary homes, while a fabric accent wall would look beautiful in a grey bedroom. 

7. Add interest with houseplants

Grey living room with painted tongue-and-groove wall panelling and concrete floor

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

Expanses of grey wall can look flat, so consider breaking one of them up by hanging a variety of houseplants. ‘By incorporating plants into your living area, it instantly adds a variation of colours, textures and focal points’, says Kenneth Freeman, plant scientist from Foli8

A single rail looks stylish, but adding bold floor-standing plants with big leaves is a great way of introducing different heights. If hanging plants don’t work for you, consider integrating open shelving and positioning potted plants along it, along with ornaments and artwork for interest. 

When deciding what plants to go for, we’d recommend opting for low-maintenance varieties so you don’t have to worry too much about tending them – nothing dampens the spirits like a withering houseplant! 

8. Create a point of focus

Wall of open shelving in a living room, painted mid grey with space for TV and various storage options

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Rather than going for a single grey, try using multiple shades of grey to highlight a particular feature within the room. 

Using multiple shades of grey in the same decor is growing in popularity’, says Simon Bodsworth, managing director at Daval. ‘To ensure a grey living room scheme doesn’t feel too cold or clinical, opt for a refined combination of light and dark grey finishes to create a warm, tactile aesthetic’. 

Here, fitted bookshelves (a great living room storage idea) have been painted in a lighter tone to the walls behind them to draw attention to the area. The best thing about using neutrals in this way is that you can change up your ‘accent wall’ whenever you like, simply by getting creative with books, artwork and ornaments… easier, quicker and cheaper than repainting, for sure. 

9. Pick panelling

Blue and grey living room with grey tongue and groove wall panelling and a grey sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Not every living room is blessed with existing architectural features to draw the eye (new-builds, we’re looking at you), but if you’re willing to push the boat out decoratively, it’s easy enough to create some. For a subtle statement, consider installing timber panelling over one wall. The ridges will pick up light and shadow, adding subtle interest to a grey scheme without overpowering the room, giving you the option to introduce other colours – something to bear in mind when you’re considering the colours that go with grey.

10. Build a gallery wall

Mid grey wall with L-shaped gallery wall of art in black frames with a white sideboard beneath

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Nothing adds individual style to a room quite like a gallery wall. Choosing a neutral like grey for the backdrop is your best bet as it allows your display to truly pop. 

Create something truly unique by mixing and matching artwork, posters and photos, anything that brings you joy. You could even integrate a few objects such as a ceramic plate, or two… the wall’s your oyster! Stock up on frames using home decor discount codes so you can save your money for the art itself. 

What colours look good with grey for a living room?

If you feel your grey living room ideas are lacking, introducing more colour into your scheme might be the way forward. An accent wall is perfect for this. Kelly Collins, interior designer and head of creative at Swyft Home recommends you start by establishing the colours that go with grey. 

When looking for accent wall colours to go with grey, you can get away with pretty much anything – it’s such a versatile colour. Colours with a cool undertone, such as greens and blues, will complement perfectly, while those with warm undertones such as terracotta or burgundy will offer contrast, bringing a touch of warmth to the space’.

How do you decorate a grey accent wall? 

When it comes to decorating an accent wall, you’d be forgiven for disregarding grey as being too ‘neutral’ to make a statement. But its versatility is exactly what makes it such a great choice. 

Darker shades such as anthracite or nearly-black charcoal will create a wonderful sense of drama, particularly if you opt for the colour-drench effect and paint everything – walls, doors, woodwork, trims, the lot. You could leave this blank and it would still stand out, however, along with lighter shades of grey, it offers a beautiful backdrop for hanging plants, artwork, shelving and so on, if you wanted to add personality that way. 

Alternatively, opting for clever living room paint ideas, in particular on-trend textured paint effects, does take some of the stress out of decorating; no need to worry about wall decor ideas when the walls are providing it for themselves!