Warning!
What you are about to read may be hazardous to your health!

Joking!

But it IS a very opinionated piece and while you may disagree with me, I have very strong feelings about the gray trend.

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Are you still living in the gray trend? The black-and-white decorating trend has been popular for five years now. Have you adopted it, or are you still sticking with gray? Do you still love it, or are you considering a change? The room above is glamorous, but I find it so boring.  I realize that may not be a popular opinion. 

I find all gray rooms fall into 3 categories:

The Good, The Bad, and The Confusing.

The Good

Gray is a great neutral for your home – it works with so many design styles:
​Art Deco
Coastal
Farmhouse
​Hollywood Regency
​Industrial
​Modern
​Rustic
​Transitional
​and more…

The Bad

A room with gray carpet, gray walls, gray art, gray furniture
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Gray is a desaturated color. It’s Blah! It isn’t easy to pull off this look unless you’re a very talented design professional. ​
I certainly don’t get excited walking into a room and seeing gray floors, gray walls, gray furniture, and even gray art. Where’s the happiness, the pizzazz, the inspiration?

Toddler room with gray flooring, gray walls, gray and white striped tent, and other gray and white toys
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This is a child’s room. While there are certainly some cute items in here, there’s no color, and I can’t imagine it as inspiration to get creative juices flowing.

Bedroom with gray rug, gray walls, gray bedding, modern black pendants hanging over small round black tables used as nightstands
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While some consider this a zen and calming room, I find it boring and could easily fall asleep here. That’s a plus! But…what happens when I wake up in the morning? Would I feel refreshed and ready to take on my day? Not me!

Gray paneled walls, gray plank flooring, 4 gray lounge chairs around a cocktail table and chandelier
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There’s some gorgeous architecture here and a beautiful chandelier, but it’s devoid of color.  Not ringing my bell in any way. (Is it time for a musical interlude?)

Bedroom with faux fireplace and gray carpet, gray walls, gray bed, gray bedding, gray curtains
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Philip Jeffries gray rivet wallpaper, gray & black greek key rug, light gray velvet chesterfield sofa, gray curtains, black croc-embossed leather cocktail table - tons of beautiful designer accessories
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Gorgeous design, but lacking color again. There are enough interesting features and some beautiful pieces that only an interior designer can put together, but it’s not lighting my fire. C’mon, baby!

an outdoor fire pit I made with AI
A hotel room in saipan with gray and white carpeting, gray and white horizontal-striped walls, gray furniture. Spectacular ocean view
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This is a hotel in Saipan…soooo uninspired. The only redeeming quality is the view.

The Confusing

Grays have undertones, so it’s best to ensure the undertones in a room match.

Agreeable Gray paint swatch
SW7029 Agreeable Gray green-gray undertone
Passive paint swatch
SW7064 Passive blue-gray undertone
Silverpointe paint swatch
SW7653 Silverpointe blue-green-gray undertone
Modern Gray paint swatch
SW7632 Modern Gray violet-gray undertone

Additionally, gray is still everywhere in the big box stores. Why? Color design trends for home interiors typically last 10 years. We have been in the black-and-white trend for 5 years now. But it takes about 4 years for the rest of the world to catch on – especially the big box stores. Those big box stores were still stocking up on gray inventory, hence the large quantities of gray flooring, furniture, etc., available and often on sale.

The Solution

I am a BIG fan of colorful interiors and Gray Loves Color! Color will bring a gray room to life.

Gray rooms need balance. Add layers of color and layers of warmth – warm woods, warm leather (like cognac or caramel or saddle), and at least 1 warm accent color. For instance, choose a rug with hints of cognac and add a cognac sofa and a light wood coffee table. Then add a shot of another color or 2 in art, pillows, and accent chairs.

a 3-D room I created with gray floors and walls, a warm multi-colored rug, a cognac leather sofa with teal and white pillows, warm wood tables, chairs with blue-gray white & tan ikat upholstery, large teal lamps, and a large abstract art with hits of teal and orange
©2023 D. Miko Designs, LLC via Virtual Design

The following 2 rooms are beginning to bring some life into the gray world, but they still don’t quite hit the mark. The furnishings are lovely, though.

a living room with gray rug, gray walls, charcoal sofa, gray pillows, a little tan thrown in thru ottomans & art
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This room has some interesting details but I’d still prefer some color & some contrast.

a living room with charcoal sectional sofa, black and white greek key rug, gray walls, bray built-in, black coffee table, pillows with shades of hot pink & chartreuse
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My 1st instinct is to change the color of the sofa and artwork. The rug and wall texture are fabulous and easy to work with

It Can Get Better!

THIS is how to work with gray. These rooms have gray walls only (well, one does have a gray floor, but it’s not noticeable). Enjoy the inspiration – a veritable feast for your eyes!

Home office with gray built-ins, gray, textured walls, brown wood desk with brass details, saddle leather desk chair, gray and white striped rug, blue and black curtains, pops of orange
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Beautifully done – there’s warmth, texture, and color. 

A loft with black ceiling, gray walls, white oval dining table, mustard gold chairs, colorful art on walls
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The vibrant colors bring this industrial gray to life. 

Dining Room with gray floors, gray walls, white & charcoal graphic rug, gold sputnik chandelier, black dining table, dark teal velvet chairs, tall white velvet host chairs, large black and white abstract art
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There are so many divine details here – from the sputnik chandelier to the carved table legs this dining room has it goin’ on!

dining room with light wood floors, multi-colored rug, gray walls, gold and black oval tulip table, dark green velvet chairs large blue & orange art
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Pretty dining room. It has simple, clean lines, interesting artwork and a fun chandelier. The colors sing. 

dining room with dark wood floors, oversized crystal chandelier with black silk lampshades, large black built-in with china displayed, black and white ikat curtains, white wainscoting on lower portion of walls, hefty round wood table and french-style black dining chairs with large black and white buffalo check upholstery
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A gorgeous example of a bold, achromatic room!

the definition of achromatic - possessing no hue. only shown in black, gray, and white.
Merriam-Webster
living room with white wainscoting and gray walls, white and gray carpeting with an orange and pink rug overlaid, orange and white upholstered chair with large white and orange pillow, blue velvet sofa with chartreuse pillow, colorful accessories and art, white sheer curtains with orange and gray dots making stripes
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Hello, Lover!

Did these photos leave you yearning for a colorful home interior?

At the very least, be sure to leave the gray flooring in the big box store. I know you’re tempted to buy it because it’s on super sale, but trust me. A gray floor has a short shelf life…stick with a neutral, timeless floor so no one can tell when it was installed. My 1st choice is always light to medium hardwood. 

Here’s a design board for a young couple. They bought a new-to-them house with gray floor tile, gray walls, gray cabinetry, and gray carpeting in the bedrooms.  The wife is a glamour girl so we went modern and feminine. Once we installed the design you never noticed the gray 😉

a product selection board for clients who bought a house that had light gray tile floors, gray cabinetry, gray walls and they already owned a charcoal sofa. I added lots of pinks, teals, and golds in rugs, lighting, art, chairs, ottomans and accessories so the gray was only a neutral backdrop that wasn't noticed
©2021 D. Miko Designs LLC via Virtual Design

A final idea

In closing, I have a final idea for those of you who have gray floors and gray furniture. If you’re looking for an affordable update, here’s a great suggestion. 

1. Get a rug that has some cognac/rust/burnt orange/caramel/terracotta in it (you get the idea).

2. Paint your walls a pale beige or creamy white with an orange-beige/peachy undertone.  

3. Get a cocktail table and/or side tables that are stained wood.

4. Find a few accessories or some art that has that color in it.

Et Voilà! 

a room with gray floors and gray sofa & chairs with charcoal and cognac rug, walls painted SW Casablanca, warm wood tables, apricot, blue, tan & gray accent pillows, art, lamps & lampshades
©2023 D. Miko Designs, LLC via Virtual Design

If you need advice on working with color, book a Discovery Call.  I’m happy to help you attain a colorful home interior!

Keep Dancing, Darlene