Color Cache | Gray

It seems gray has become the go-to neutral. We thought this color trend would eventually ebb but it seems to have taken on a life of its own. There are a few reasons it has staying power: It’s more sophisticated than say, beige, it adds depth to pastels and gray is the perfect foil for bright colors. Add a little or a lot to a room to create an elegant and timeless palette.

Understanding Gray
Gray is one of the most misunderstood colors in the decorating world. While on the surface it may seem unemotional and boring, gray is actually confident, reliable and composed. But it can be transformed into an exciting hue depending on its particular undertones. Add black and gray becomes dramatic. A little blue will give it a cool, icy feel. A dash of pink will heat things up.

Decorating with Gray
If you’ve decided to commit to gray, you have to decide which gray you want. Getting the right shade of gray can be a tricky process. If your room has blues and greens, you definitely want to avoid a warm gray. Conversely, a room with red, orange and yellow accents will look decidedly off with cool gray walls.

Opt for flat gray paint instead of a sheen unless you want your room to look like an industrial shipping container. Even though some designers are going with an easy-clean eggshell finish for busy family households, flat gray paint will actually hide flaws nicely.

For a crisp, tailored look consider bright white trim, crown and base molding to accent your gray walls. If you think stark white is too harsh, choose a white with a touch of gray like White Dove OC-17 by Benjamin Moore.

Gray is reminiscent of shadow, so you’ll want to include lots of natural and artificial illumination. Use gray in a room that has plenty of windows. Make sure you also brighten things up with a combination of ambient, access and task lighting with table lamps, chandeliers, floor lamps and sconces. Layered lighting brightens the gray and creates a flattering effect.

 Emily May via Flicker
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