Though it can also call to mind images of stormy weather and dreary days, the color gray demands respect. It's graceful, elegant, and makes an excellent base color in any room. Given its versatility, gray is an important tool for any interior decorator to have in their back pocket. The trick, of course, is utilizing it just right to capture the desired mood.
One thing that makes gray both a useful color in design and a tricky one is that it can be either a cool or warm color, depending on the shade. It also works as a neutral. Part of harnessing gray's power for yourself and your living room is knowing how to tell the difference.
The color also suits nearly any decor style. Think of the way gray is used in urban design. You can bottle that association for yourself and create a contemporary mecca of a living room. If traditional styling is more your speed, you can easily evoke castles' grand architecture with the color.
Let us show you what we mean.
1. The Grayscale
An easy way to get a cohesive design for your room is decorating with grayscale. For those not in the know, grayscale refers to all the shades of gray, from white to black. The color scheme introduces just enough variety in color to keep the eye interested, yet everything matches enough for the aesthetic to feel complete.
2. Adding Warmth
If you want the shade of gray you're using to trend more warm or cool, all you have to do is give hints of other colors with the same temperature. Here, the designer incorporated a splash of brown, making all the shades of gray feel warmer by association.
Also known as slate, blue-gray is an aesthetically pleasing and mild color. Note here how the room features only touches of blue and white to balance out the gray. With other shades, the matching of the couch to the color of the walls might feel overwhelming. Slate, on the other hand, gives off a very relaxed vibe.
You can achieve the look in your own home with a sectional like this one.
4. Plants Make Everything Brighter
If you're worried that too much gray in your living room will feel dreary, follow this person's lead. All you need to brighten up a room is some greenery.
5. Trending White
Do you like for your living room to feel bright but are still intrigued by decorating with gray? No problem! Take some cues from this living room, which uses gray and white pale shades to keep the space feeling airy and welcoming.
Considering adding this accent pillow to your couch to tie this color scheme together.
6. Gray Walls
One of the easiest ways to make gray the most prominent color in your living room is to paint the walls gray. From there, get a lighter shade of gray for the couch so the contrast will draw the eye. Adding boldly colored accent pillows, as pictured here, also helps bring the room to life.
7. Playing with Accents
Here, you'll notice that all the major focal points of the room are gray. The only bits of color show up in the accent pillows and the rug, which match. Adding a single color to your otherwise monochrome room is a great way to play with gray while also introducing some intrigue for the eye.
8. Casual Comforts
One of the easiest ways to offset the dreary associations with the color gray is to pepper your living room with simple comforts. This living room effortlessly balances the color scheme with casual, homey accents from gray throw blankets to a bit of greenery potted in gray plants.
9. Dark Gray on Dark Gray
You'd think that pairing shades of dark gray together would overwhelm the eye, but not so! Look no further than this living room for proof that layering shades of near-black gray make for a stately and dramatic aesthetic. All you need to balance things out is a light gray or white accent, such as the lampshade in this space.
10. Blonde Wood
Another fun way to keep shades of gray from overwhelming a living room is to pair it with light-wash or blonde wood. Note here how the single yellow accent pillow adds a similar dash of brightness as the coffee table's legs to create a visually cohesive room design.
11. Industrial Chic
The industrial style of design pairs quite naturally with gray living rooms. All the lighting in the room is brought by metal lamps, which perfectly complement the gray sofa and walls. The side table with metal legs helps pull everything in the room together.
Want to get the look in your own home? This piece should help!
Does Wall-to-wall gray feel like too much? A great way to break up the monotony is to frame one of your centerpieces with little bursts of color.
In this example, you can see how the shelving unit on the left works with the light and the plant on the right to frame the couch.
13. Cool and Warm Contrast
You can also catch guests' attention without deviating too far from the color palette to play with the contrast between a cool shade of gray and a warm color. In this living room, you can see how the warm browns pop against a cool gray backdrop.
14. Industrial Chic: Rose Gold Edition
Incorporate the tried-and-true pairing of the color gray and industrial-chic design into your living room, but with a twist! Make the lighting implements and accent tables rose gold instead of cool gray and get a warmer space that still features a contemporary sheen.
15. Country Cottage Grays
Normally, people associate the country cottage style with gingham and richly stained wood, but you can achieve the look using shades of gray, as this living room proves. Plenty of greenery and hints of warm brown are all it takes to elevate a simple gray living room to a space that feels right out of a fairy tale.
16. Layering Textures
You don't need a lot of color to intrigue the eye. Playing with texture also works to create visually interesting room design. Take this living room, for example. The walls' marbled look contrasts with the carpet's nubby texture to keep the whole space playful and inviting.
17. Warm Grays
If you want a warm, inviting living room, you don't have to pair your gray furniture with brown, red, orange, or yellow accents to achieve the look. Simply picking out a warm gray sofa should do the trick.
Add beige-white curtains like the ones found in this living room to emphasize the other pieces' warmth.
18. It's Electrifying!
Want your color scheme to really pop? Electric blue accents are the way to go. The attention-grabbing color really pops against shades of cool gray, as found in the couch and end table of this living room.
19. The Beauty of Wall Art
It's likely that when you think of art, you don't picture canvases in shades of gray. However, you can find stunning pieces that heighten the color palette of your gray living room. Look no further than this example for proof.
The silhouette of the girl, in particular, does an excellent job of bringing the decor to a whole new level while being rendered in shades of gray. The other pieces on the wall pick up the warmth throughout the space and tie the whole look together.
Looking for more inspiration on how to decorate your living room walls? Check out our article containing 11 wall decor ideas.
20. The Inspiring Workspace
One of the reasons gray is becoming so popular in interior design is that, as a neutral tone, it invites you to clear your mind and focus on other things. For this reason, gray living rooms double naturally as workspaces. Notice the desk to the right of the couch in this room, as well as the shelving units meant to hold books for expanding the mind.
21. Two-Tone, Too Cute
Playing up the contrast better dark shades of gray and white creates an eye-catching living room design. Notice how the gray couch sitting against the gray wall pops against the white wall with the white painting. A black and white rug playing with the same sharp distinction between colors draws the whole space together.
22. The Single Accent Pillow
An effortless way to design a striking living room is to use dark shades of gray throughout the room and then add a single bold accent pillow. This living room chose hot pink, but electric blue and blood-red also work very well, creating this look.
23. Grayscale Boho
Bohemian is a style most commonly associated with jewel tones, but you can also achieve a boho look in your gray-on-gray living room. Notice here how the painting takes bold colors with lowered saturation to hint at the classic bohemian jewel tones without overwhelming the rest of the room.
From there, it's a matter of mixing patterns and textures. Try adding these accent pillows to your own living room to get the look for yourself.
24. Top to Bottom
You can, of course, get a gray living room simply by including the color in your couch, armchairs, rugs, wall paint, or any combination of these eye-grabbing pieces that make up the decor. However, people with an excellent eye for balancing different shades can try to achieve what this living room has: floor to ceiling shades of gray.
Notice how the lighting implements matches the darker accent pillows on the couch, while the lightly shaded rug keeps the space from looking too washed out.
25. Modern Simplicity
Worried your living room will be overwhelmed by too much gray? An excellent way to avoid that is to pair your decor down to the bare essentials. The white coffee table and accent pillow are all this space needs as a visual contrast.
26. Mid-Century Modern Gray
Exposed, spindle legs instantly create a mid-century modern aesthetic. The interior design style is especially well-suited to the color scheme, as it's characterized by a certain sleekness that's also associated with the color gray.
27. Rustic and Gray
When you think of rustic style homes, you're probably thinking of lush greens and unvarnished wood. However, since the rustic aesthetic is all about taking elements from nature and bringing them indoors, gray is perfectly suited to the decor style.
The tree stump wall art and accent greenery really tie this particular living room together.
28. Contemporary Pizazz
You don't need flashy colors to bring flair to your living room. All you need is furniture with an interesting silhouette. Consider the centerpiece of the living room pictured above: the couch. With its button embellishments and rolled arms, it steals the show, and it's for that reason, the room doesn't need any pop of accent color to bring the space alive with charm.
29. Accent Patterns
If you don't care for simple color embellishments, you can try bringing your gray living room to life with an unusual pattern. This living room uses both pops of green and accent pillows with a unique pattern to add visual intrigue, but the space would still be granted extra depth and dimension if it were just accented with the paisley print.
30. Suave Gray
The sleekness of technology paired with a sectional meant to entertain guests gives this living room a suave, luxurious feel that's only heightened by the shade of gunmetal gray found throughout the space.
31. Emerald and Gray
As one of the bolder cool colors, emerald green really pops against dark gray backdrops. The color combination gives off a modern vibe that's sure to please anyone contemporarily minded.
Greatness of Gray
If you're still looking for tips on making the color gray work in your living room, consider our piece about decorating with gray rugs. But if you're rearing to go, we wish you the best of luck creating a beautiful and peaceful living room with the tricks you learned here. Just don't forget to put your own spin on things to truly feel at home in your space!