Using Color in Your Home Interior: Gray

May 8, 2012

So what is a non-color? A color that compliments any other color is considered a non-color or neutral. Gray is a neutral and can be combined with almost any color and will help to neutralize colors that in their full intensity might be too much. Think of a bright yellow, potentially too much on its own but when paired with gray works. Gray can be both contemporary and traditional whereby suiting everyone’s taste. Gray can create understated elegant spaces that are easy to change by changing accessories.

 ash, battleship, cadet, charcoal,
dovegunmetal, mousy, oyster,
payne’s gray, pearl, silver, slate, taupe

Gray is a reassuring, comforting, subtle color that subconsciously helps ward off mental strain, creates the feeling of stability and reduce fear. Selecting the wrong gray can lead to dull, drab, and dingy looking interiors.

A gray hue may function the same way as a beige tone, providing a calming effect to a brightly lit room or alternatively, bringing warmth to a dim room. Grey has undertones of blue, pink(red), purple so when mixing with other colors it is important to know the undertone of the gray that has been selected so that you aren’t mixing colors unintentionally.  As an example in this top picture here the undertone is blue and it has been played up using a more vibrant blue to create a contemporary look.  Where as, the image at the bottom of the page has a green undertone and has been combined with creams to create a sophisticated traditional interior.

What color comes to your mind when you hear gray?

  • use lighter grays in place of white
  • use darker gray in place of black
  • taupe, a grayish brown neutral is a conservative, slightly earthy, warm shade of gray
  • light grays with pastel shades are feminine
  • light grays with dark colors are more masculine
  • use gray and pale neutral hues to create elegant designs
  • metallic grays can make a space look luxurious and opulent


Related articles: Color Trends 2012 – Naturally Neutral  |  Faux Finishing: Notes on Painting in Grisaille Color Therapy