50 Shades of Grey - for men

SHADES OF GREY: Dulux paint swatch.
SHADES OF GREY: Dulux paint swatch.

There's nothing sexy about this blog post, unless you're a home decorator.

Forget 50 shades of grey - in the decorating world there are 1000 shades of grey.

A friend is hoping to get her munted house repainted and has been searching endlessly for a colour that Dulux apparently no longer make.

She told me this morning about a conversation she'd had with someone in the paint-selling business.

This person wanted to know exactly what shade of grey she was looking for.

''Um,'' my friend muttered, ''It's a cross between rat and donkey''.

Apparently none of the paint companies has thought to call their paint by such easily identifiable names.

Instead she was given swatches of 1000 shades of grey bearing names from the punny (Amazing Gray) to the clever (Grey Area) and the simply puzzling (Whisper).

Are whispers grey or are they more rat coloured?

What colour is gossip? I'm picking red.

It even gets more confusing, Grey Steel, for example, has four different shades within the one colour name.

Apparently it is ''a calm neutral that should be used with colours from the same mood''.

My friend is not a calm neutral but I can understand why she might need to be in a room painted in such a mood. I've heard her on the phone to EQC.

She can choose between Smog, Fog, Onyx (I thought that was black but apparently it isn't),  Charcoal or Concrete but she won't. She wants a cross between rat and donkey.

I suggested that maybe she could compromise and mix Mink with Gray Area.

I thought up other paint names - Newspaper, Steel Jaw, Fading Bruise - and then she got annoyed with me.

''You're just not taking this seriously,'' she said.

I told her to go for cream or beige (sorry Desert and Biscuit) like everyone else seems to and we agreed to end the conversation.

Her husband rang me back to say that she had forgiven me and that the decorating/dealing with insurance and EQC had made her grumpy.

''I love the paint swatches,'' he confessed. ''I could look at them for hours''.

While some women like 50 Shades of Grey, it seems men are happy to have 1000 shades of grey.

The Press