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Picture Frame Colours To Compliment Grey Walls

green & white picture frames on grey wall

Ideas, Tips & Inspiration - How To Frame Your Photos & Art To Match Grey Walls

Contrary to common belief, grey isn’t a boring & depressing colour when it comes to home décor & wall colour.

Too much grey & concrete in our outer environment can appear gloomy, especially on a dull day, but grey is a wonderfully versatile wall colour for any home interior.

So what colour picture frames match grey walls? Providing you match the frames to the overall or existing décor, you’re able to use any picture frame colour, as grey is a neutral colour.

Grey walls are surprisingly versatile when matching not only picture frames, but other elements of a room’s décor scheme.


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Grey can be a colour that speaks of formality & order, but when used with certain colours it can also be a very uplifting & calming colour.

So choosing a picture frame colour will depend on the mood you’re wanting to achieve & making sure the frames tie in with other room colours.


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Choosing Picture Frames As An Accent Colour

If you’ve read any of my other articles, you may have already come across the 60/30/10 rule.

It’s not a hard & fast rule, but a good guideline for matching the best ratio of different colours to a space.

Interior designers recommend using no more than 3 colours, but these colours can consist of various hues & shades.

colour matching chart

The primary colour will be elements like the walls, floor coverings & the main furniture pieces like the couch for example.

The secondary colour consists of elements like soft furnishings, other furniture items & even an accent wall.

The remaining 10% is the accent colour that will be items like lamp shades, cushions & of course, picture frames.

You don’t need to religiously stick to this formula, as there’s some fantastic examples of grey walls being used as a backdrop for a funky coloured sofa or a vibrant floor rug.

But when it comes to picture frames, it’s usually a more balanced approach if they tie in to the accent colour rather than the primary or secondary colours.


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But rules are meant to be broken .. right?

Finding Balance

As well as being neutral, grey can be used in various shades & tints for decorating your walls.

This allows a lot of freedom, even by following the 60/30/10 rule.

Although you may have grey walls, being an impartial colour means they don’t necessarily need to be treated as the primary colour.

You could use a mix of up to any 3 colours & the grey walls are simply the neutral backdrop for the colour combination you’ve chosen.

This allows for more freedom when choosing a complimentary picture frame colour.

blue picture frames on light grey wall

Although picture frames can be used as an accent, it also depends on the amount of colours you've chosen for your décor palette.

You may have grey walls, but the furniture, curtains, floor coverings & light shades could be the primary colour.

This means your picture frames could work well as a secondary colour.

It’s really about balance, if a certain colour is dominating the room, then picture frames are a good way to bring visual relief.

Which Colour Picture Frames Work Best On Grey Walls?

There really isn’t one colour that will suit a grey wall better than another.

This is the advantage of grey walls, providing the picture frame matches your décor, you can experiment with a range of colour combinations.

But various colours do offer their own characteristics & qualities.

Warm vs Cool Frame Colour

In the simplest concept, colours are wavelengths & the longer the wavelength the warmer the colour.

This is why a bright white midday sun will look orange at sunset, the light is travelling through more atmosphere creating longer wavelengths.

I’m certainly no scientist, so I’ll leave it there!

But in basic terms, colours are categorised as either being warm or cool.

Warm colours are the reds, oranges & yellows, whilst the cooler colours sit on the opposite spectrum as the colour wheel shows.

colour temperature infographic

So when it comes to choosing a picture frame, their colour can have an influence on the feel of the room.

If you’re creating a cosy living room, warmer coloured frames will add to that atmosphere.

Bare light grey walls may make a space seem stark & by having some lovely artworks framed in warm colours, the room will become more inviting.

Darker grey walls can benefit from cooler colours too.

You may have warm coloured furniture & textures in your décor & some cooler accents through the use of picture frames will create a nice contrast.

Vibrant vs Subtle Coloured Frames

Colour affects our psychology & many studies have shown the influence colour has on our moods & feelings.


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So orange & yellow picture frames can be a wonderful way to liven up a space, especially for dark grey walls.

Red is also high in energy & will bring a vibrancy to a room.

Blues & greens are cool colours & because they reflect the colours found in nature, especially the softer shades, they tend to have a calming effect.

Of course, colours come in many shades & hues, so yellow for one example can be lively, but a softer or more earthy yellow will be more serene.

As another example, green is a cool colour & in the right shade is known for having a calming effect.

But a bright lime green is going to achieve the opposite, bringing a zesty & vibrant dynamic.

colourful picture frames on dark grey wall

Neutral Coloured Picture Frames

There can be a couple of reasons for choosing neutral coloured frames.

You may already have some vivid colours in the room like furniture, & even the artwork itself may be bold & vibrant.

So you may wish to calm it all down a tad.

Also, grey walls are ideal for creating a more formal space, so you don’t want to introduce more energetic colours.

You really can’t go wrong with black or white picture frames.

Not only do they tend to match any artwork, they’ll tie in to any colour scheme.

This doesn’t mean they’re a drab choice though.

White picture frames against darker grey walls will really pop.

Even for a more sophisticated or formal space, white frames are uplifting without being visually loud or distracting.

white picture frame on dark grey wall

White frames are also great against lighter greys, as they’ll still achieve a sophisticated or modern look, but produce a more spacious atmosphere.

white picture frames on light grey wall

Black frames look good against lighter grey, but can still work with darker grey walls too.

You’ll need to consider the room size, as a smaller space with dark grey walls may start to feel closed in, so lighter frames may be more appropriate.

Can You Use Grey Picture Frames On Grey Walls?

At first this sounds like a bad idea.

But instead of using black picture frames, dark grey frames against light grey walls can bring a sense of solidity to a space whilst not being as visually heavy.

This can also be applied in reverse, frames of lighter shades of grey used with dark grey walls will still offer relief from the dark grey without being as prominent as pure white picture frames.

The next tip can be used with any coloured wall, by painting the picture frames the same grey as the wall, the artwork will appear to float.

grey picture frames on grey wall

For darker grey walls, more colourful art pieces work best.

Shop vibrant & original art & support the artists at the same time.

Wooden Picture Frames

Depending on your décor style, wooden frames are a wonderful option for grey walls.

Because wood is more about texture than colour, these style frames tend to match most colour palettes.

Grey walls are often used in creating that industrial look & raw or upcycled wood frames are an excellent fit.

industrial style picture frames

Many modern interiors use sleek wooden furniture & wood frames do a marvellous job of creating a coherent space.

Light grey walls, especially as an accent, can be used in coastal style spaces & white-washed wood frames are perfect.

Silver Picture Frames

Silver frames are similar to using light grey picture frames, they’re just shinier!

It will depend more on the style of frame, as there’s sleek modern frames as well as ornate silver picture frames.


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Silver frames can be good to introduce a touch of elegance & also work well with modern interiors.

Gold Picture Frames

Like silver, gold frames bring a touch of bling to any room.

They’re also a neutral frame to work with & will sit alongside most colour schemes, just don’t go overboard.

A formal, or more regal setting with grey walls & a subdued colour palette will benefit from all the art being framed in gold, but for other interior styles, too much can start to look tacky.

Again, there’s different styles available from ornate to modern to more rustic brass & copper frames.

Final Thoughts

Being an interior designer requires a certain amount of knowledge in colour theory & which colours work best with each other to achieve a desired result.

With certain wall colours, you can be limited to which picture frames are going to match.


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But the beauty of grey walls is that any colour will sit alongside them, giving you not only more options for picture frames, but for your décor palette in general.

I hope this article was helpful for you & please feel free to pass it along to anyone else who may find value in it.


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