Austere Grey Interiors? No Thank You!

by Katy on March 11, 2013 · 34 comments

I don’t know how it is where you live, but here in Oregon, everyone I know has a major case of The Blahs. You know, not actual clinical depression, but definitely a distinctive non-motivational vibe. And you don’t have to dig deep to find the reason, which is the steady grey weather. Yes, we’ve had a few sunny days over the past few weeks, but they don’t necessarily line up on non-work days. Rain from October though June is hard to take.

Grey walls and furnishing are very hip right now, but I find it all to be exceptionally depressing. Austere and classy, but goddamned soul sucking in real life.

See?

Austere grey life

My house is full of color, not one wall is white, and there are certainly no grey rooms.

I have colorful dishes.

The Non-Consumer Advocate Fiesta Bowls

Both bowls and mugs.

The Non-Consumer Advocate:

Colorful lighting.

The Non-Consumer Advocate: Marimekko lamp

Colorful outdoors accessories

The Non-Consumer Advocate: Greens and blues

Both the flowerpot and the $3 Goodwill tiled table.

The Non-Consumer Advocate: Tile table

It helps get me though the never ending grey-ness that is Portland, Oregon. And with way fewer side effects than any medication.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan March 11, 2013 at 10:35 am

I know exactly where you are coming from on that one Katy!!! I love colours and in the UK, we have more than our share of ourcast and dull days!!! I definitely get the blahs in this climate!

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Katy March 11, 2013 at 10:46 am

England and Oregon have very similar climates.

Katy

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marie March 11, 2013 at 10:43 am

Yeah, grey is not really a color.
So If you live in the southwest, do you avoid brown? Just wondering.

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L.D. March 11, 2013 at 10:53 am

I just thought of a frugal way to handle spent cooking oil from deep frying. If you are fortunate enough to own a diesel powered vehicle or know someone who has one you can strain the oil while its still warm through a coffee filter and add it to the diesel fuel tank. I would only do this in the warmer months if you live in the colder regions of the U.S. They say it makes the exhaust smell just like french fries…….MMMMMMM! Also I find if you strain the oil after each use it seems to last longer, and don’t fry fish and poultry in the same oil or otherwise you’ll get a foul taste(no pun intended). As always, “watch the nickels and dimes and the dollars will take care of themselves” Hasta La Bye Bye! L.D.

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Emily March 11, 2013 at 11:16 am

I painted my bedroom a fairly deep shade of gray last year and I loved it so much that now the dining and living rooms and the fireplace wall in the den are gray too. I figured out that contrast is almost as important to me visually as bright colors. I love the dark gray walls with white trim, white curtains, and pops of color. We have more sun in Cincinnati, but winter still can be very dim.

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Katy March 11, 2013 at 12:00 pm

The key is is the “pops of color.” Plus white curtains and trim.

Katy

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AnnDenee March 11, 2013 at 11:36 am

Some former owner of my house painted the kitchen a flat gray color and it is completely uninspiring. I am now changing it over to a light buttery yellow. And I like it so much I think the bedroom is next…. just in time for me to move out! LOL

I also don’t use flat paint, but a semi-gloss/satin finish so there is some bounce back rather than the wall just sucking in the light.

And Katy… I LOVE your use of color. In my next home, I will be bringing in much more color and will use your photos for inspiration.

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Carolyn March 11, 2013 at 11:41 am

This may be why the Scandinavians like bright colors. So many dark days.

We have the blahs here in Michigan too. However, last Friday’s sunshine and high of 40F had me thinking spring might be coming (and driving with windows down, as it felt so warm).

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Sharon March 11, 2013 at 12:18 pm

When I lived in Seattle, the phrase I heard a lot was ‘coffee is liquid sunshine.’ LOL

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Katy March 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm

That’s great, I’m going to have to steal that!

Katy

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Judy March 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm

We live in NM and certainly have enough brown outside the house. Mostly I use a lot of different colored pastels and I happen to love green! I love, love, love, all of our sunshine and feel for all of you in areas who don’t see much of it. But we totally need some of that rain!!!

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That Other Jean March 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I’m right there with you, Katie. The only walls in our house that are painted white are in the bathroom, and it has a blue tile floor and a yellow tile countertop with a wildly floral Mexican painted sink. No gray here, no matter how chic it is. And I still use a full-spectrum SAD light to get through the really dismal weather.

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That Other Jean March 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I’m sorry that I misspelled your name, Katy. I need a nap worse than I thought.

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Katy March 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Worry not. 😉

Katy

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Sabina March 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm

When I lived in Eugene, Oregon my now husband and I would visit the Oregon coast. Often we would stop at one of the little coffee shops right off of the highway for coffee because the weather was so dreary. Funny thing is my husband doesn’t even like coffee. Anyways, to this day he still talks about all the little coffee shops in Oregon. I now live in Pennsylvania where there are not as many coffee shops around.
There are many things I miss about Oregon but the rain is not one of them.

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Lisa March 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm

We lived north of the 62nd parallel for 6 years. There is not a lot of daylight in the winter time (<5 hours worth). I could not believe the house we moved into – everything was grey – grey countertops, grey carpet, grey walls, grey linoleum, grey tub/toliet/sink…grey everything in a place where colour is a necessity to combat SAD (IMHO)! We ripped out the carpet laying a light bamboo floor, painted the walls in lively colours and replaced counter tops, vanities and toilets (unfortunately, we had to live with the grey tubs). I painted my kitchen in 'lemon drop' yellow…you get the picture.

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Katy March 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Yikes, that’s sounds so incredibly drab!!

Katy

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Melissainkdesigns March 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I love gray as a neutral – wall color, couch color. It’s a nice change from beige or off-white. BUT I still absolutely love pops of color. Bright green, teal, turquoise. They really show on a neutral backgrounds, such as gray :). All gray is too much, though. The picture you show here of the gray room? Totally lost on me.

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Sandy March 11, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I live in Salem. The people next door to me painted their house gray. With dark gray trim. You can barely see it in the fog! My house isn’t exactly screaming with color as I like earthy tones with pops of color, but you’d be darn hard pressed to find anything gray in it. Sheesh! And yes. The Blahs are down here in the valley too. Everybody’s attitude? Meh with a side of cranky.

I do love me the green that the rain produces but I’m over it for the year. Over. It.

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chris March 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm

we lived in upstate new york for years and almost everyone i knew ended up with cabin fever/sad eventually every single year; it wasn’t until we moved to a sunny, warm climate that i realized what living like that had done to me; i agree with you, kathy – you have to put a lot of color into your life; when we lived in ny my house had earth tones, but here – the sky is the limit – i have all the colors of the rainbow in my house now – we all strive, i hope, to make our homes a safe haven in the storm whirling around us and it should reflect happiness, not dreariness

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JoeAnne March 12, 2013 at 4:24 am

I do live in upstate NY and agree that the winters can really sap the life out of you–especially if you are not a skier or “winter person.” We try to make our home warm and inviting and find that we use color more and more to do that. I say that I live here for the other 3 seasons 🙂 and I am so excited that we are heading into spring!

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Aleta March 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I feel similarly about some greens. Yep, I’m from Portland too. There is plenty of green available right along with the grey.

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Trish March 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm

I tend to really like the look of limited color, with the exception of small accessories (and giant bean bags) but I agree, the gray northwest winters make it difficult. I think I struggle more with dark colors, though. I need as much white as possible—white walls, white floors, white curtains—to reflect the little bit of filtered sunlight that we get.

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Madeline March 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm

I have always hated gray.I live in PHOENIX where the SUN shines and I hate gray.It is a non color. A lack of commitment. Blah.Dull. The OPPOSITE of “colorful!” It is color-LESS!

I hate gray.

Do I make myself clear!!?????

Here’s to a COLORFUL existence!

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Joy @ Joyfully Green March 11, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I must admit that I think the gray photo is lovely, but I can see how it would be depressing if it’s gray outside for months on end. (Also, I think the photo would be even better with a vase of lilacs or some pink or red flowers–the aforementioned “pops of color'”!) In the past couple of years, I’ve rethought gray clothing, too. I realized it looked awful on me with blondish/light brown hair–if I wouldn’t wear yellow, brown, and gray clothing all together, why would I wear a gray top with my hair color? I think people with black hair, white hair or gray hair can carry it off, though.

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Heather Mason March 11, 2013 at 8:40 pm

I love your colorful photos! Did you collect those dishes one at a time at thrift stores?

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Katy March 11, 2013 at 9:51 pm

My new Fiestaware was bought here and there through the years, although mostly new. (I also have a ton of vintage stuff that’s from thrift shops.) They were are all purchased before I stopped buying new. However, Fiestaware is manufactured in the U.S., (Newell, West Virginia, which is across the river from East Liverpool, Ohio) actually in the town where my grandfather grew up. I’ve taken a factory tour and about died in their seconds store.

My father also gives me the dishes as gifts when appealing new colors come out.

Katy

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greenstrivings March 11, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I live in sunny Southern California and I wouldn’t ever go for the gray room. In fact I just painted my house various shades of yellow, orange, and blue (in different rooms). I love your colorful dishes, lamp, table …

I used to live in the PNW. Never again. I have only the utmost admiration for those who can put up with the climate there.

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Barb @ 1SentenceDiary March 12, 2013 at 6:10 am

When my family first moved to Portland (I was 4 years old) from sunny Texas, my parents really struggled with the grey, rainy season. A year later they bought their first house, and my mom decorated with the yellows and oranges that were popular in the early 70s. She said that she was just desperate for color and brightness. I have exceedingly fond memories of the family room decorated with bold graphics and colors, all very “mod” if you know what I mean. (One look at “that 70s show” and you will know exactly what I’m talking about. 🙂 )

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Jennifer@Little Blog in the Big Woods March 12, 2013 at 6:17 am

I really like gray, but only when it is inturrupted with big splashes of bright colors. I love reds, and yellows with grays. It would be neat to have a room with some gray walls offset by a vibrantly colored wall.

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dusty March 12, 2013 at 7:41 am

Hubby and I traveled up the coast of Oregon several years ago in our RV, thought it was very beatiful, but being from FL would not be able to stand the weather. Even found a beach house for 165k, 2 years old, 4 bdrms, right on the ocean. Found out you can’t go in the water, even in the summer. My hubby also had the opportunity to transfer to Dublin with his company, we actually thought about it, went on a trip there, no way. I broke two umbrellas while there for 2 weeks and my hair looked like crap all the time. No thanks. When it’s rainy here in FL like today, it’s so rare that it’s enjoyable. Also, I agree with your color choices, needless to say lots of color in our Florida house.

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tna March 13, 2013 at 4:56 am

I like looking at other people’s colorful houses but would not like living in them. My house is my cave and shades of grey are fine and dandy thank you very much. Fast-food restaurants use bright colors because they want us to notice, grab and go. Nests are grey. I want a nest.

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JennH March 15, 2013 at 3:32 am

I don’t want a grey house but I’m a little in love w/ the gray velvet sectional in the pic. Where did the pic come from?

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Katy March 15, 2013 at 6:55 am

I wanted to link to the original source, but the link didn’t go anywhere. It’s from Pinterest.

Katy

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