4 Ways to Use Gray in Your Interior Designs

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4 Ways to Use Gray in Your Interior Designs

Over the last five years gray has emerged as a popular color for interior design and architecture. Some people attribute this to Apple, and its consistently neutral gray device colors.  If you consider the psychology of color, gray offers up a neutral palette, it reflects a compromise between black and white, and is the type of color from which one can  design just about any style decor.   Although gray may be associated with urban styles, and industrial decor, it is certainly popping up in homes and commercial spaces designed with a variety of styles in mind.

Few other colors are as aesthetically calming as gray while still maintaining a very high level of sophistication. Interior designers love this combination, because it’s both welcoming and inviting but also classy and chic. Whether gray is on floors, walls, ceilings, furniture, lighting, and/or accessories, its usage will be neutrally stylish.


Why Gray In Your Interior?

We all have reasons for doing what we do with our decor, many discover that our decor truly resembles our personalities, and the environment we create are driven by the psychology of the mind.  Blogger, The Design Sheppard recently interview UK Color Consultant, Karen Haller , explains why gray is so appealing:

“If we look at gray, we see a colour that is neither black nor white. Given it is virtually absent of  colour, it draws no attention to itself, it keeps its distance, remaining separate.”

Karen, The Design Shepphard Blog 

A gray color palette works well for people who want to calm the mind, quiet the space, and provide minimal distraction.  With a gray interior there is less “commitment”, then if one were to paint a room blue, green, red or purple – colors that are much more vibrant and dominant.

“In color psychology, gray is the color that represents peace and balance. It is calm and safe. It is practical, simple and reliable. It’s the classic. It is the perfect neutral.”

Jessica, Freshome.com

Karen warns though that too much gray can be draining, so as you plan your interior design, look for ways to infuse some color into the space, even if it is through the use of accent pillows, table lamps and other accents and textiles.  When paired with gray, colors appear more vibrant, which means you need just a few pops of color to add some life to a space.

Although gray seems like a fairly simple, one dimensional colors there are dozens of shades to choose from – lighten it up to make it soft and feminine or bring in the darker gray hues for that masculine office, game room and “man cave”.

Gray Kitchen Cabinets

Stainless steel appliances remain popular, along with it come gray kitchens and cabinets.  This lovely kitchen from UK Based furniture and kitchen cabinet maker, deVol, uses painted gray cabinets and stainless steel appliances.  The colors extend over to the right in the pantry, the table top and the brick wall brings in hues of gray and copper to tie it all in

DeVol Kitchens

When selecting gray for your cabinets be sure to review several samples, to understand the final look and finish you can expect.  Typically there are two ways to create a gray cabinet, the first is to use a painted cabinet.  This hides any nuances in the material underneath giving you a clean, gray painted surface just like if you had painted your walls.  Some techniques, like this one from Heidi Piron Design & Cabinetry, uses a painted technique but gives the cabinets a two-tone appearance.


Gray Kitchen Cabinets, Heidi Piron Design & Cabinetry


The second way is to use more of a staining technique which will allow the colors and grains, and character of the wood to come through.

There are many benefits to using gray in your kitchen color palette, according to the website Cabinets.com, gray

“Gray kitchen cabinets can be beautifully matched with an array of countertop choices, or even used as a secondary cabinet color in two-toned kitchens.”


Gray Floors

Gray floors remain popular.  One thing many people don’t realize is how challenging it can be to create a gray floor.  Most people do not want a gray, painted look, when it comes to their flooring, instead they want something that looks more natural.  Advances in stains, paints and floor finishes make it easier to create a gray finish and luckily many of them can be prefinished for added convenience.

Gray Flooring, SmartFloorStore.com

Gray Wall Colors

As alluded to earlier gray has a very calming effect on the mind, but it can also cause us to withdraw more than we should, so its important to find just the right shade of gray and blend it with colorful accents to keep the space alive and inspirational.

“Gray has an inherent calmness and sophistication. You can choose a solid gray that symbolizes strength, or go for a softer gray that offers a more delicate feel.”


Paint companies, like Glidden, feature many gray color pallets.  From soft Polished Limestone  to strong and masculine, Old Monterey Gray. 

Since gray is such a neutral color, white is a great accent to bring in some clean, crisp, brightness.  It also makes the room extremely versatile to mix in other colors, and switch up your design from time to time, whether it inspired by the season, the weather, or a change of pace.

To offset that overly calming effect of gray, consider the natural lighting in the room, and work hard to allow the light to come into the space.  Sheer curtains are great for this!  And remember, gray isn’t just one shade, there are dozens, if not hundreds of shades to choose from.

Natural Materials

When you get done picking your paint and your flooring, and your kitchen cabinets, maybe you can find some natural materials to bring into the home in your favorite gray hues.  Consider your furniture choices and accents and the creative ways to add color, texture and conversation to a room.  Here are a few inspiring ideas that may help you discover your perfect decor.

  •  a French Farmhouse vintage wood table in your dining room
  • Install gray granite or concrete countertops
  • Use large rock statues and art formations in your home
  • Reveal antique brick
  • Install wood wall paneling – especially if its gray, weathered barnwood
  • Installing stainless steel lighting

This unique table, as featured on HomedIt, uses a silver base infused with unique rock formations, and is just one Example of a unique way to bring gray into your interior.

Gray Furniture, HomedIt.com



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