This sophisticated neutral is always in style.

So much more than a plain old mix of black and white, grey is the sort of neutral colour that allows bright colours to sing and adds depth and sophistication to more muted shades. It's elegant, modern and far more interesting than white.

If you're thinking of redecorating, here are few things to keep in mind.

1 If you are painting, use matte paint; grey is a great disguiser of flaws and, unlike other colours, a flat shade won't reveal smudges and fingerprints. It's also more contemporary.

2 A classic neutral, grey in all its many shades is neither too feminine nor too masculine.

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3 Light grey will make the room look light and airy (think of a summer cloud); dark grey is more stimulating (great for a dining room).

4 Consider teaming a grey with a slightly creamy trim, as pure white can look a bit startling.

5 Because it is actually the colour of shadows, make sure the room's well lit and that you have plenty of lamps to turn on once it gets dark. You don't want the room looking gloomy.

6 There is a huge variation in tones of grey - a cool greenish grey will work great with blue, white and zesty shades; a warmer browny grey goes well with creams, pinks and higher voltage shades like red.

7 Grey doesn't date as quickly as bolder shades, making it a perfect choice for big-ticket furniture items, such as couches and premium rugs.

8 Like chalky blue, dusky pink and milky white, a soft grey is the colour of calm, making it perfect for bedrooms and even nurseries.

Main image: Cenova corner sofa from $11,190 at BoConcept

Pendant $1415 at the Design Depot
Platter $100 at Citta Design
Ottoman $299 at Freedom Furniture
Chair $5199 at BoConcept
Normann Copenhagen floor lamp POA at Design Denmark

Lust-have

If you are a fan of pristine, hotel-issue starched white sheets, linen may take a little getting used to but once you've snuggled under a soft pre-washed linen duvet there's no going back. The older and more washed it is, the better it feels. All in Bed duvet cover (king) $359 and pillowcases $138 each from Simon James Design.

Basket case

You have to love this collection of hard-working multi-taskers, as good for shrubs as they are storage.

• All baskets, above, ($20 to $89) from French Country Collections.

• Freedom Furniture basket $89.

• Baskets $215 (for three) from Collective Living.

• Round baskets (set of two) $276, contact Maytime Marketing for stockists.

Dressed in pink

Pretty up your dining table with a modern, muted shade of pink.

1. Dining chair $439, table $2190, placemats $10 and crockery ($14.90 to $90) all from cittadesign.com.

. Vases $94 (set of two) from Chatterbox, (09) 950 3844.

3. Ombre tumblers $35 (for four) from freedomfurniture.co.nz.

4. Aluminium dish $129 from boconcept.com.

5. Add a serious hit of colour to a child's room with this perky cockatiel, $70 from Rapt Gift Shop