In Praise of Greige: Gray Meets Beige and Brown in the New Version of a Designer Neutral

Greige is making a comeback! The new forms, including Gristmill Greige from HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams, are warm and welcoming. See how designer Brian Patrick Flynn used greige in HGTV Dream Home 2020.

December 16, 2019
Cozy and Comfortable Seating

Cozy and Comfortable Seating

The multipurpose room from HGTV Dream Home 2020 features Gristmill Greige, from the HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams 2020 Color Collection of the Year, on the walls.

The multipurpose room from HGTV Dream Home 2020 features Gristmill Greige, from the HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams 2020 Color Collection of the Year, on the walls.

The most fun thing about color palettes is to imagine how you’d use them and to see how others would as well. In the case of the HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams 2020 Color Collection of the Year, we can see how Brian Patrick Flynn used these fun, punchy colors in HGTV Dream Home 2020. (We also recently heard from a few fellow editors how they’d imagine the colors in a space.) After visiting the Hilton Head, South Carolina home in person recently for an HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams event, I’m leaning heavily toward Gristmill Greige as my favorite shade, which is a bit of a surprise. I mean, what even is greige?

Technically speaking, greige is a portmanteau (the linguistic term for two words blended together to form a new word) of gray and beige. Frankly, my impressions of greige were much more blah than what I saw at the home; I imagined greige as colder and lighter and a little dated. Brian confirms. “This color combo of gray and beige mixed into one became a massive trend around 2008, and then it more or less wore itself out,” he explains, “but that was one specific tone of greige that is best described as a marble gray.” Ah, makes sense.

Attractive and Functional

Attractive and Functional

The cabinetry at HGTV Dream Home 2020 showcases the warmth of the new greige.

Photo by: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

The cabinetry at HGTV Dream Home 2020 showcases the warmth of the new greige.

The new version, Brian says, including the one used in HGTV Dream Home 2020, is different. “Designers often choose greige, and have done so for many decades, specifically for its warmer versions which instantly make a house feel like a home. The trick is to find a greige that has just a hint of brown. Once applied to walls, it wraps the room with warmth and works beautifully with any other earth tone as an accent color.” And Gristmill Greige does just that.

So maybe the updated greige should be called Breigey? Greigown? Beibray? Whatever you call it — I’m going with Driftwood — this revived color should be a go-to neutral for any space. It’s warm and inviting and a little darker than most neutrals but bright enough, at least in HGTV Dream Home 2020. Brian says it has to do with the lighting. “Lighting largely affects the way greige reads in a room. Spaces flooded with direct sunlight are a perfect fit since the sun tends to really bring out the true gray and gray-brown values of the color,” he explains. “Darker rooms can tend to cause the greige to feel a little more bland, almost like a contractor-grade beige.”

What if you’re using greige at home and don’t have a lot of natural light? (Insert ‘raises hand’ emoji.) Brian offers a solution: “Consider using pure daylight LED bulbs which have a slightly blue cast to them. This will help the greige read more true to its values without taking on the muddy beige vibe.”

Organic Island Style

Organic Island Style

Driftwood mounted on the wall of the HGTV Dream Home 2020 master bedroom lends the earthy greige vibe.

Photo by: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

Driftwood mounted on the wall of the HGTV Dream Home 2020 master bedroom lends the earthy greige vibe.

In HGTV Dream Home 2020, greige — specifically Gristmill Greige from HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams — is featured in many places, including the multipurpose room upstairs (which leads out onto the amazing screened porch). But other elements and accents bring in the warm greige vibe, too, particularly through actual driftwood (hence my rename) in the master bedroom and in the kitchen through the cabinetry.

“There are other designer ways to refer to greige tones,” Brian explains. “For example, driftwood is an organic material which is covered in different shades and tints of the color. Another excellent option for referring to shades of greige is tweed. Used mainly in menswear, tweed blazers are usually fabricated in muted shades of grays, browns and sand tones, and all of these are examples of greige.”

Meet the Experts

Learn about the design and build team responsible for HGTV Dream Home 2020.

Builder: Shoreline Construction

Architect: Court Atkins Group

Designer: Brian Patrick Flynn

Build Manager: Scott Branscom

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