It’s not hard to see why gray has become a popular color in design, and with all the beautiful things designers have done with it, it’s easy to fall in love with it, too. It’s neutral and versatile, which means you can use it to match almost any mood or style. It feels modern and sophisticated, but can also be romantic and soft.
From the most traditional to the most eclectic, gray can enhance any decorating style.
Whether you want subtle or stunning, calm or exciting, here’s how you can create beautiful spaces by incorporating gray into your design palette.
You can use gray as wall color to provide a neutral background to the space, almost like setting the scene on a stage. Whether it’s a solid paint color or wallpaper in a sophisticated gray-scale print, gray walls can set a range of moods. Unlike other neutral choices, especially white, the range of possibilities is much greater. Lighter grays make a space feel calming and bright, darker shades can strike a more brooding or thoughtful tone, and using both light and dark in the same room makes things even more interesting.
Gray makes a fantastically subtle background color for a gallery wall, especially if you want to display black and white photography in a space that will really make the art the focus of attention.
And any shade of gray can make a calm backdrop for boldly colored furniture pieces or artwork. Darker shades like charcoal make striking contrast with lighter-colored furniture.
Because it’s so versatile, gray is a fantastic way to add contrast to a room’s décor. Incorporating gray tones will contrast with white or brightly-colored furniture and accents. Offset colorful furniture by adding gray pillows, a gray-toned rug, or a light gray accent table. You can also use gray as a base—a gray sofa can be the perfect contrast for bold colors and patterns.
It’s also a great choice for curtains if you want a softer look. In decadent fabrics like silk or taffeta, gray window treatments can add just the right touch of classic luxury.
Whatever pattern you’re looking for, you’re almost guaranteed to find a version with gray in it. Instead of working with solid gray in a space, let it soften and modernize other elements. A floral or paisley pattern with gray adds a little sophisticated whimsy, while gray stripes keep things geometric and give a more classic feel.
Gray is also perfectly gender neutral, so it’s great even for kids’ bedrooms or for adding soft tones to a nursery. And it’s the perfect neutral alternative if you’re afraid white won’t stay clean in a kid’s space.
Remember, too, that gray comes in a wide range of hues and shades, from warm to cool and everything in between. Gray tinged with brown tones gives a very calm and inviting feel, and it goes well with natural touches like greens and wooden accents. More blue-toned grays like dove and charcoal can lend a more thoughtful, formal or even a more industrial feel, depending on the space.