By Ashley Steel
It’s February and love is in the air. But this year we’re not throwing our affections at someone, but rather, something.
We’re in love with the color gray and not for just one shade. Along with the Valentine’s Day release of the sure-to-be blockbuster hit, 50 Shades of Grey, we’re celebrating gray — in all its shades — throughout the home.
The New “It” Neutral
Move over creams, tans and whites. Gray is the new neutral in town and it’s packed with potential for every style.
“Gray is a color that soothes and transcends style and time periods,” says Laura LePage Tarlo, owner of Laura Leigh Designs, a design firm in Cohoes, N.Y. It’s also an incredibly versatile color, adding style to everything from rustic farm homes to the modern loft.
A great alternative to creams and whites, “[gray] provides a neutral and calming backdrop to set off bold colors,” says Lindsay Chambers of Hazel.Wood Designs, an interior design firm in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas.
“If you choose gray as the dominant color in your room, layering grays subtly adds great depth,” says Chambers.
For an organic look, LePage Tarlo recommends layering grays with different undertones. For example, a pale gray might go well with grays with navy undertones for contrast or perhaps tan undertones if you’re going for a beachy look.
Shades of Gray
Utilizing different shades of gray requires that you pay special attention to the color’s undertones, as these have a significant impact on the mood of the room. “Grays with brown undertones warm up a room, whereas light grays with blue undertones make a room feel clean, cool and airy,” says Chambers, who personally prefers warm undertones for their relaxing and sultry feel.
You should be careful when it comes to light gray walls however, as it can be more difficult to detect their undertones from a paint swatch. “It’s smart to [paint] a wide test area before committing, so that you can check for purple or blue undertones,” says Chambers.
Gray Walls Are Coming
More than its transformative and mood-setting abilities, gray’s best quality lies in its forgiving nature. “Don’t be afraid to trade in the beige walls for a more modern and crisp-looking gray. It can transform the look of your entire space and will most likely work with your existing decor and furnishings,” says LePage Tarlo.
And while grays are most commonly reflected in wall colors, don’t count out the likes of rugs and curtains as a means of layering this neutral. When it comes to grays, the opportunities are endless and grays are everywhere. In fact, many reclaimed woods are antiquated with the use of gray wash paint, says LePage Tarlo.
From mixing and matching to layering, there is no shortage of ways to pull off gray in your new home.