Decorating With Gray
In decorating circles, gray is the new white—and has been for a while. It’s a more elegant neutral that gives depth to subtle colors and makes bold tones pop (rather than shout). But getting gray right is tricky: The “temperature” of a particular shade—cool or warm—can evoke very different feelings and have an enormous impact on the mood of a room.
3 Expert Tricks
1. Use flat paint, not semigloss or high-gloss, on walls. “Otherwise, any beautiful gray you choose will look like industrial metal—imagine a Dumpster,” says Mark Chamberlain, a New York City painter and a color columnist for apartmenttherapy.com. Although flat white wall paint is often avoided because it shows smudges and fingerprints, “gray actually hides flaws.”
2. With gray walls, opt for creamy trim, says Erica Islas, a designer in Culver City, California. Stark white can look too jarring. White Dove paint is a good woodwork choice with both light and dark gray walls (from $41 a gallon, benjaminmoore.com for stores).
3. Introduce lots of light sources, like table lamps, sconces, and floor lamps. Says Jessica Becker, a Rhode Island interior designer: “Gray is already the color of shadow—you don’t want to cast more with an overhead fixture. Layered lighting keeps the room flattering.”
To buy: Revere Pewter HC-172 (similar to shown), from $41 a gallon, benjaminmoore.com for stores.