Pewter, charcoal, steel, smoke, slate – in all its incarnations, I love gray. It’s not just because of its calming properties either – when used effectively, it has as much impact as a brighter shade, though many of my clients tend to be suspect when I suggest using gray in their interiors, and dismiss it as a ‘non-color’. Why the negative feelings towards gray? People tend to have some preconceived notions about this shade… myths that I intend to bust right now!
Myth #1: Gray is depressing
When people say to me, “Oh, I could never live with a gray room… it would be too depressing,” I just want to prove them wrong. Gray can be light, playful, ethereal – it all depends on the way it is used. Take a look at this gorgeous room which makes use of lots of natural light and several different shades of gray.
I love the elegance of the draperies, the classic charm of the Louis XIV chairs, and the sheer drama of the chinoiserie screen in pewter and ivory. Depressing? Not even a tiny bit!
Myth #2: Gray looks cold and uninviting
It’s not in the spectrum of conventional warm colors, true, but gray doesn’t have to look cold. I came across this darling little window seat dressed with very cozy looking – and extremely inviting – cushions in shades of steel gray. A little bit of tufting, texture, rich fabrics and clever setting, and you have a cozy little nook that is anything but cold.
(Source: House Beautiful)
Myth #3: Gray looks dingy
It’s a common misconception that gray walls look old or tired, but I’ve found that nothing could be further from the truth. Case in point: this ultra-fresh, sleek-looking bathroom with classy gray limestone walls. Set against the aged granite floor, and complemented by simple monochromatic paintings, the overall look is modern and bright.
(Source: House Beautiful)
Myth #4: Gray is boring
Why is it that people insist gray is a ‘boring’ color? I love the idea of using gray in a foyer to create a sense of elegance; in a bathroom to enhance light and space; in a bedroom to keep the ambience calm and serene. I love this quirky, cozy bedroom with its lush dove gray taffeta curtains.
(Source: Elle Decor)
With the fresh white bedding, gilt French mirror and vase full of cherry blossoms, the effect is so charming. No one would dare to call this bedroom boring!
Myth #5: Gray doesn’t make a statement
Some of our clients are used to seeing bold colors in other people’s homes, and they assume you would have to paint a wall deep red or rich blue or vivid green to really make a design statement. The truth is, gray can be dramatic too! It all depends what you contrast in with. In this foyer, the white sconces and tulips really stand out against a deep gray background, and the simplicity of the French console and the mirror help to emphasize the play of color.
So – are you convinced yet of the merits of gray? I hope I’ve gone some way towards showing you the beauty and versatility of this great shade. Till next time…