- Neutrals such as black, white, and gray
- Monochromatic gray
- Bright colors
Keep reading for some helpful tips and suggestions on decorating with gray. This article will cover some useful ways to use any of these four styles. We'll also cover how to tell if your gray has a warm or cool undertone and what design is right for either case. And finally, learn some helpful do's and don'ts for decorating with gray.
Pair Gray With Textured Neutrals
Gray works well with neutral colors, particularly black and white. You can easily pair gray with black and white accents throughout the room. This lends itself especially well to a modern, contemporary style.
To keep the decor from being boring or bland, be sure to pick lots of pieces with texture. For example, pick a black and white curtain with a lot of contrast. Or, select throw pillows or an area rug with active, interesting patterns.
Add Style In Monochromatic Gray
If you want simplicity, try a monochromatic color scheme. This kind of color scheme can make decorating a breeze. You don't have to compare endless paint swatches and play endless rounds, guessing, "Does this go together?" And you don't even really have to worry about what color of gray you use. Blending an assortment of shades and tones is part of the look.
The best reason to use a monochromatic scheme? This tends to make small spaces look bigger. Just stay true to your original vision --is your look contemporary? Urban? Minimalist? Pick pieces that all speak to your overall theme. Since color isn't much of a factor, you'll rely heavily on your style to unify the room.
Dress Gray Using Blue Accents
When decorating with a gray shade that has a cool undertone, it tends to have a blue or green cast to it. For this reason, these can be very flattering colors to accompany gray. It's only natural to pair two similar colors together.
If you go this route, be sure that you don't only use other cool colors. You'll want to balance the room with some warmth, like gold accessories. If everything in the room is blue and gray, you risk a sterile and standoffish room rather than welcoming. Unless you're decorating a doctor's office, be sure to layer the room with a few warmer pieces.
Liven Up Gray With Bright Colors
Conversely, if your gray is a warm undertone, you might want to pair it with something a bit more energizing. A zing of yellow, a splashy orange, or a spicy red can all work very well. These liven up a gray room. Meanwhile, the neutrality of gray helps to keep the space from being too loud.
If you want a bold, exciting look, you don't have to stick to warm colors. If your gray has a cool undertone, you can still accompany it with a bright lime green or an electric blue. These colors will be more flattering for a cool gray but still add some life to your decor.
What Are Gray Undertones?
Don't be misled by the term neutral. Many people mistakenly assume that neutral colors, unlike the color wheel, are not warm or cool. But in reality, every neutral color has an undertone. As a result, it can be either a warm or cool color.
In decorating, you'll want to avoid clashing warm or cool colors. While using both warm and cool colors adds balance to the overall look, don't mix them haphazardly. For example, on a couch with all orange and yellow throw pillows, one green one may seem out of place. The same goes for warm and cool grays that are arranged arbitrarily.
Gray undertones are taupe, violet, green or blue. If your gray has a bit of a muddy or brown appearance, it is a warm gray. Gray is cool when it has a blue or green base. Violet can be either warm or cool. Compare your gray with a variety of warm and cool colors to find out which is the most flattering.
Do's And Dont's Of Decorating With Gray
Some people think of gray as dull or dreary. In reality, gray is an incredibly versatile color that works in any decor. You can pair it with just about anything! Whether you want a monochromatic gray style or to use gray as a solid foundation piece for more electric colors, just about anything goes.
However, some helpful tips can make decorating with gray easier. These include:
- Do use gray for a finish. Lamps, door handles, cabinet knobs, and more can be made from nickel or other gray metals.
- Don't be afraid to use gray. Any room from the bathroom to the dining room is a suitable choice for gray decor.
- Do stick to lighter grays in small or poorly lit rooms.
- Don't be afraid of dark grays, where space allows. Dark gray is a bold, confident choice.
- Do pair grays with bold or contrasting colors.
- Don't be afraid to mix multiple shades of gray.
- Do mix warm and cool grays. A room can have both warm and cool colors for a well-balanced style.
How Does Gray Affect Your Mood?
Gray is calm, saturated color. As a result, it is less stimulating. Many people find this to be relaxing, soothing, or even serene. However, some find the lack of stimulation to be un-energizing, unappealing, or even stressful. Counteract this with more stimulating accents. A few eye-catching, engaging pieces can make the difference without having to remove gray altogether.
Gray is a very popular color in modern home design. It's a versatile, flexible color that goes with just about anything. And, it's appropriate for any room, from the bathroom to the bedroom, there's nowhere you can't fit gray.
For a calming, relaxed room, pair gray with other neutrals. Or, try a monochromatic color scheme. Layer a variety of shades and tones of gray. This is an ideal style for a small space, as it makes a room look bigger. A cool gray also looks great with blue or green. For a more interesting or engaging decor, pair gray with bright colors like orange, yellow, pink, or red.
For more ideas on using gray, see the following: