Lately I have been decorating my own home as well as others in various shades of gray. Gray is obviously the hot color now and an easy way to update a space is to change a wall to a current color trend. I usually like very light neutral wall colors when decorating because it allows so much freedom when decorating the rest of the space. But I’m also drawn to the idea of making a bold statement with a really deep shade of a “neutral,” like gray.
A few years ago (or more, actually, now that I think about it) the brown trend was very hot. Big chocolate brown leather or micro-suede sofas were everywhere with Tuscan colored walls and deep red accents. Now we have shifted to blues and greens with gray (or white) as the big neutral. I like incorporating trends in small ways into spaces I design because it makes a room feel youthful and current. But as one of my favorite bloggers, Maria Killam of Color Me Happy wrote (I’m paraphrasing), “the only things in design that are timeless are the things you love.” It’s so true! No matter what you do today, expect to do a refresh in 5-10 years to keep your decor looking on trend. This could be something as small as new pillows or curtains or painting a wall, or even as big as a complete redesign. In any case, nothing is trend-proof unless you pick it simply because you absolutely love it.
Having said all of that, to stay on the current trend, I have found a few grays that keep a room feeling fresh without being cold. That was always my fear when working with gray–was it going to read as too cold or industrial? I love working with natural textures like linen and sea grass and warmer metals like brass and nickel. The grays below are fantastic with this style:
Benjamin Moore Deep Creek 1477
This pewter-y gray has a lot of warmth and looks wonderful with off-white. This is the color of the mullions on my new kitchen and I am probably using it for a dining area in a client’s apartment right now. The warmth can be played up in it with creams and off-whites or greenish blues, or play up the sheer grayness of it with bright white or light steely grays.
Sherwin-Williams’s Magnetic Gray SW-7058
A cooler and lighter gray, this color is nice with white and lighter shades of mauve to play up the cool side. Pair with off-white for a warmer combo.
Benjamin Moore’s November Rain 2142-60
My absolute favorite go-to neutral. I haven’t found a color this paint doesn’t look good with. In my kitchen the green table brings out the yellowish undertones but usually I see greenish and bluish undertones. It’s really versatile.
Benjamin Moore’s Bear Creek 1470
Similar to Deep Creek but slightly warmer. It also looks good with whites and off-whites and greenish-blues.
Benjamin Moore, Kingsport Gray, HC-86
A very brownish gray, this color can look almost like cocoa when paired with beige or nut-brown. Cool linen white and blues will bring out the warmer gray tones though.
Benjamin Moore, Sandy Hook Gray, HC-108
This was a Pottery Barn color a few years ago and pairs well with creams, off-whites and browns.
Also, remember if you find a tone of gray you really like but don’t want to go dark on the walls, ask the paint store to reduce the color by 25, 50 or even 75%. And if you are a bright neutral lover like me, consider painting your trim in one of these darker grays while keeping the walls white or a light neutral. If you are thinking of introducing gray into your decor I hope this helps!
Do you have a gray you love, I’d love to hear about it and add it to my compilation.