The most popular wall colours according to search volumes in Google are different shades of grey. Great news as it plays well with almost any art print you place against it.
Dulux’ Polished pebble is the most searched for paint with 9,900 monthly hits in the UK. This is more than double the amount of searches Farrow and Balls’ most common paint (Cornforth white got 4,400 searches on Google per month).
Art prints for grey walls
Grey is neutral. It does not oppose any colour which also means that it is compatible with every other colour. Just imagine whatever art print on a grey wall and it would match!
Art prints from the left: La Orana Maria, 1891 by Paul Gauguin (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC); Irises in the Garden, 1889 by Vincent van Gogh (J P Getty Museum, LA); Girl in a White Kimono, 1894 by George Breitner (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam).
Black & White
If you are not after strong counterpoint but want your wall art to seamlessly blend into neutrally designed interior there are beautiful black & white prints or less-saturated pastel works by Edgar Degas or Odilon Redon.
Black and white art prints for grey walls: Adam and Eve, 1638 by Rembrandt; Rhinoceros, 1515 by Albrecht Dürer.
Hammershoi the Grey
There was one painter in the history of art who had explored palette of greys to the point of obsession. For Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershoi grey hues were the necessity of tonal expression.
Actually, it is hard to find in his artistic legacy a single painting with colours in a regular sense. His palette is built entirely from neutrals. Well, it doesn’t mean he was using only black, white and all the shades of grey in-between them.
Neutrals beyond grey
Neutral are also all these hues that appear to be without colour or to be very unsaturated. They could seem a little bit dull as they are mixed with grey.
And yes, they have odd names. Some of these pigments have been in use since the beginning of human artistic activity like the brown-greyish earth tones: ochre, umber, sienna, etc.
Some came with new synthetic dyes in the 19th century: mauve, beige, taupe (that is the colour of a mole’s fur!). Now we have hues of greige and all these paints’ names out of commercial poetry handbook: mermaid net, campfire ash, elephant’s breath, and so on.
Nevertheless, grey rules in contemporary interior design. That’s an ideal background for whatever wall art we can imagine.