1 Feb 2013

Provence: Fifty Shades of ‘Greige’

Years spent in Provence have meant that my taste has changed… As much as I admire colour… the neutrals have taken over my world.

I have come to understand that there is nothing dull or boring about the neutral… tones, textures and patina make the quieter shades just as interesting as the colourful ones.

In Provence there is greige and then there is even more greige… every now and then I  think.. ‘stop’ … ‘enough’ … but it works.

Greige… not beige and not grey… but every shade in between is a backdrop… a kind and gentle canvas where the natural beauty of Provence can shine.

There is so much colour, so much brilliance, so much heat in the landscape of Provence that I can understand how this greige has become the shade du jour.

Greige is everywhere I look in Provence… in the furniture… the hand painted armoirs and dressing tables… the painted chairs and commodes.

Greige is the paint colour… an indefinable mix of pigment that coats the walls inside and the shutters outside. Greige is the colour of the linens, old and new… the burlaps, the cottons and the silks are all dipped in those ‘fifty shades of greige.

Greige is all over the vintage books… the bindings and the paper are tinged in greige… and even fashion sometimes takes it’s cue from greige.

Our farmhouse is a mix with much greige… and I am noticing that over the years the interiors are becoming more and more neutral… that is not to say that I don’t add colour with extra textures and flowers…but without intention I am constantly simplifying… searching for neutrals.

The changes in our sitting room have made me aware of just how much I have been seduced by my surroundings… ‘Fifty shades of greige‘ are well on their way at home… it is as if the colour inside is too exhausting and too competitive with the outside world.

I am totally in love with greige… I don’t believe it’s a passing fancy… an infatuation… a mere fling… I think it is a long lasting love affair… a heartfelt passion… that will keep me intrigued for many years to come… xv

Be Inspired by Greige 

I Love your Style by Amanda Brooks

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In This Post:



Anita Rivera

Oh Vicki, I am with you. I am totally in love with this combination of tones, and I do believe it is NOT a passing fancy.

Way back when I lived elsewhere, this color scheme came up by “accident” one day as I started to decorate our apartment. I simply could not overload our home with TOO MANY colors. We both felt at peace and calm with gray, white, and natural wood tones. To this day, that is what we aim for in our little brick French cottage.

The grays go so nicely with patina hints of gold. Little by little, I am taking away colors that do not fit with this palette and the more JOY I get out of my living space.

YOU are so fun to chat with. Your points of interest are always rooted in the search for tranquil beauty, and you can count on me being there. Peace my dear.




Oh Oh Oh, Vicki, I love your sight so much, I live here along with Corey’s site of Tongue and Groove~ you two adorable souls always share so much ~ I am so thrilled ~ I have been visiting both blogs for a very very long time daily ~ so wonderful ~ my dream is to live there ~ love the Griege info today ~ Merci ~


I am right with you, Vickie!! As I have (yes!) aged, I also have found myself drawn more to neutrals…especially grey. My home is so toned down compared to how it used to be. Love the post!!

Heather in Arles

It was odd when I moved to Provence how many of my things just looked wrong. Art Deco? No. The red carpet? Eeee…barely. The longer the time I spend in this beautiful region, the more my tastes and palette simplify. It is just what works here and feels right…

You might have a twinge of sadness in hearing that the Venetian style shutters at the hotel particulier in the second grouping have been renovated. Yes, still a neutral, a pretty enough mocha but it is not the same…


Hi Vicki, This is such an inspiring post. I love it. Yes, Greige is the perfect non-color. But Provencal greige is so hard to export with all of its nuances. The unstudied patina that comes only with age and the culture of the land. And I love your home.
Be well. Mary


I absolutely LOVE every one of those 50 shades. I am changing my house to them with each piece that I replace. They are the perfect backdrop for Swedish furniture as well. Beautiful post! Loved it!


Thank you, Vickie, for such charming images. The color “greige” is so soothing, quiet, elegant in its own way. I am drawn to pictures of homes using neutrals. Lovely Provence is a future destination for me. In the meantime, I will visit through your blog.

La Contessa

STUNNING!Those old doors and shutters………..just gorgeous.I wonder who way back when figured out the GREIGE color……….was it mandated by region?Who picked the color so many years ago!A MAN I WOULD ASSUME!


Gorgeous images Vicki. It really does grow on you over time, doesn’t it? :) Gray and white are fairly common.. but there is something about this greige that really draws me in. I don’t think it’s an easy look to create. As you say, it gets better over time! It’s the wearing down of the solid gray.. the patina, that does it. I’ve got a little of this going in my home and plan to keep going with it. Griege works as the perfect backdrop for pops of color .. fresh flowers always look so pretty, or tapestry pillows. xxL


Beautiful images Vicki, I want to someday cover my sofa in a beautiful greige velvet…someday!

Send prayers for Monday’s Surgery…

Love and hugs,

Art by Karena

Janelle McCulloch

Gorgeous post Vicki. Just gorgeous. You’ve almost converted me to greige. I was a black and white girl for many years, then did a U-turn and went to colour. But these images are just beautiful.

Curiously, we’re planning a new book about Provence and the mock-up is all colour. We used lots of pistachio greens (inspired by some of the house shutters), lavenders, pale ceruleans and navy blues. But after reading your post, we may need to revisit our colour palette…?

Received your message re meeting in London too, and so touched. We’d all love to see you in May! Will touch base closer to date. xx


Lovely post Vicki. Greige is my colour of choice at home too, or rather fifty shades of it! My half Swedish blood has always drawn me to these colours as I have been brought up with them. They provide a fresh calm background to our home life that I could not live without.


OMG your blog is just sooo romantic, I love coming here and penetrate this universe:)
THis Beige series is gorgeous, cant wait to see more!


This color has so much soul. It says “I have lived.” I’ve been following your greige Pinterest board for some time. I love it.


Beautiful post! I too am loving neutrals where before I did not. Everything looks lovely against griege, be it gold, blue, black, white, no matter the color. I think Provence provides the perfect backdrop for griege because everything else is spectacularly intense. The sky, the flowers, the sun, the food, the landscape.
However, even without the saturated colors of Provence I’ve painted the first and second floors of our house Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb gray. It’s neither gray nor beige, and lighting determines how gray or beige it will appear. It’s a lovely background for anything vibrant because I love color.


I think what makes all these shades of greige so interesting is all the different textures. Now I want to redo everything.

Thanks for always sharing with us, Vicki!


That’s my colour…….finally has a name. Thank you Vickie! I’m a very greys and beige colour kinda girl. Although I do like a tiny splash of colour.


Dear Vicki

Admire your wonderful flair for style and subtle colour combinations. It does work so well in your beautiful house and is done with such originality. Also love the architectural design of your gardens and the subtle combinations of greens and lavenders, smoky blues, mauves and whites and the colours of the stone.

But I just couldn’t live happily in such a restricted palette. I adore colour and pattern, particularly in textiles. The older I get the more I love it. Especially some of the old romantic colours of Provence and Les Indiennes patterns and designs. I’m a great fan of Souleiado, particularly their shop and museum in Tarascon. Colour can be such an important psychological factor too, particularly in the places we live and work.

I’ve noticed with some blogs and Pinterest pics there is a kind of formula, especially used by decorators, for the provencal-style house: neutral walls, floors and neutral linen curtains, a few large wooden letters on the walls in a patinated neutral colour or off white, a super large flat clock face (again neutral and patinated) with large rustic dark hands and a couple of chairs with old flour sack covered upholstery (how unpleasant to sit on would that texture be!). Also a few old mouldy white covered French books (which I rather doubt they would read) tied up with old string or ribbon. It’s become a real cliche for provencal decorating. Yes, in summer the the outside colours can be vibrant and saturated (we have this in different versions in Oz too, particularly in the tropics) but in winter I think I’d be oppressed by all the neutrals after coming in from a grey day.

Still it would be boring world if we all thought the same and had the same tastes! A lot of your readers would probably loathe my crush on colour. Best wishes, Pamela


Hi Vicki

I live in Australia. About 10 years ago I ‘did’ the house greige… I wanted the soft monochromatic look. But you know, it just doesn’t work under the strong, clear Australian light. It just looks like mud. After living with greige for 10 years I am now introducing colour back into the home.

Years ago I bought some Laura Ashley clothes in UK and I loved them sick when I was in UK. I got them home to Oz and they looked terrible. Boring. Dull. Washed out. Dead. The colours made me look old and boring.

So… I do think colours either suit or don’t suit particular light and climate conditions.

Whilst I LOVE greige in the soft Europe light… it is just plain wrong for Australia.

Judith in Canberra


I can only agree what you have to say about greige. It’s never dull even an evening dress looks beautiful in that color with the right jewelery and how wonderful can look grey hair, especially on men.
Just bought grey linen napkins tied a small cord around and decorated with a small bunch of rosemary. It looks so wonderful on my old white china. And if I get bored of grey/greige I add any color which is available. Grey is like white… it goes with everything.


Wonderful word! I love the way GREIGE slides off the tongue. Sounds like we all have had a few too many Sauvignon blancs!I will share with all my Australian friends. We need a few new words at present- all floods and fire in the land down under. Our heart breaks for all involved. But when they rebuild( as they will) Greige maybe the lastest thing! Thank you for sharing Vicki your daily clicks are amazing!


Oh Vicki,
Greige has me written all over it. These images are absolutely wonderful. The shutters, the ironwork, the shabby paint, the patina ……… truly beautiful. I’m going to go and be inspired by Greige right now ! XXXX

miss b

I’m very much a neutrals person and have liked beige, grey or greige for so long that I know I’ll never really tire of it although lately I have been adding some bright accessories in our home and to my wardrobe and it certainly lifts your mood on a grey UK day.

Amy Kortuem

I love “griege” this time of year. After the colorful and sparkling holidays, after the autumn bursts of color…it’s nice to have a clean, neutral palette to come home to.

Helen Tilston

A beautiful post Vicki and greige in the Provincial light just belongs.
One Prof I had when I studied interior design(more than 30 yrs ago) commented that in North America the latest colour sells throughout Continental USA, Canada and stops at the border of Quebec and the Mexican border, who are unaffected preferring to ignore trends. It appears as though this can also be said of Provence.
Helen xx


I once lived in Provence and miss it terribly. While I am a color person, the neutral colors you show are beautiful. Sheila


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