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Gray is the New Beige. And the New Black. And the New White, too.

Claystone floor and wall tileGoogle “gray” and “design trends” and you will find that gray is the new everything. Black, beige and white are what you call foundational colors. If gray is being touted as the the new beige, white and black, then suffice it to say, gray is superfoundational. It is truly an exceptional color to design with–and for good reasons.

Why Gray Works

Versatile

Gray is a versatile neutral, working beautifully with all decorating styles and in all settings from traditional spaces with dark woods and classic elements to ultra modern spaces with sleek stainless steel, glass and lucite. Gray can be casual or elegant, depending on the design elements and accessories you choose. 

Dramatic

Gray is more dramatic than its beige counterparts. Gray can create a bolder statement without shouting, offering depth to subtle colors and causing bold tones to pop. It works beautifully with other shades of gray, black and white, as well as with bright accent colors like aqua, yellow and pink.

Spatially Neutralizing

Gray can be used to fool the eye. For example, used on a long wall, it can make a narrow room appear more in proportion. Gray can minimize the impact of a too-high ceiling and, used monochromatically, can make a small room feel expansive.

Choosing the Right Gray

Gray can be warm or it can be cool. Cooler shades of gray have blue or green undertones and can make a room feel temperate and inviting on a hot day. Choosing a warm grey with red and yellow undertones will provide a feeling of warmth to a room with north facing windows.

Cool grays tend to work better with cool colors, like blue and aqua, but the right shade of cool gray can be stunning with some warm colors. Warm grays are a little more forgiving with cool coolers if the warm undertones are more prominent.

How to Use Gray

Gray is an excellent choice as a main color in a scheme. It’s a great backdrop for accent colors, making a stylish statement as wall colors, floors, furniture and window treatments.

As an accent, gray works great texturally, such as in a stone fireplace surround or a nubby fabric. Gray is a wonderful in striped or printed fabrics and it’s also perfect for breaking up large expanses of other colors.

Gray is not the dull and boring institutional color anymore; it’s the hot new neutral, and it’s here to stay.

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