Far from boring, gray is the neutral of choice for many designers. More complex than cream or white (and certainly not as yellow or glaring), these shades combine with a variety of tints to provide a soothing backdrop or set the perfect scene to pop an accent color. Whether mixed with a dab of black, green, or blue, the range of shades and color palettes are endless. Take a look at some of our favorites combinations.
Charcoal + Emerald + Teal
Dark charcoal walls set a rich, sophisticated tone in this living room. Intense jewel tones, including emerald, teal, and berry, brighten the look. Watch and see the secrets to successfully pulling off a dark wall color.
Nature’s Gray + Red and Orange
Using the gray and brown tones in the stone fireplace as a guide, this room goes natural with its blend of earthy hues and masculine materials. A wing-back chair is covered in chic gray flannel; a sectional sofa introduces leather. Red and orange, traditional cabin and hunting colors, accent the rustic spirit.
Charcoal + White + Cream
With its bright white ceiling and trim set against charcoal gray walls and floors, this room takes on the feel of a vintage black-and-white photo. To soften the room’s contrasts, the design introduces cream in the linen sofa, Roman shades, and hide rug.
Gray Brown + Orange + Coral
Like a fine woolen jacket paired with the most fashionable tie, this gray, brown, and orange bedroom exudes masculine sensibilities. The upholstered headboard is covered in a business-suit check and accented with just enough pattern and color for interest. For extra personality, the side table -- leaning more toward coral -- is a few steps off of the orange on the pillow.
Weathered Gray + White Walls + Vibrant Colors
White walls and quiet washes of gray on doors and window sashes take a backseat to the vibrant kaleidoscope of color in this room’s rug and hot fuchsia accents. To maintain interest elsewhere -- and refrain from competing with the rug -- the designer layered weathered and woven textures in furnishings and accents.
Mushroom + Brown + Navy
This gray-green wall color has just enough warmth to work well with brown and neutral tones. Giving depth to this woodsy hue is a distressed leather armchair and floor lamp made from spindly driftwood. Deeper hues such as black and navy offer bold contrast to the muted walls and light wood finishes. A fiddle leaf tree adds a pleasant punch of green, adding to the natural feel.
Putty + Warm Red and Orange
Deep enough in tone (and tinted with the perfect amount of green), this warm gray complements the warm red coverlet and orange hues in the drapery. Green and red are complementary colors (opposite each other on the color wheel). When pairing colors, it is important to look at the undertones. This gray has a dose of green in it. The eclectic scheme includes a gallery of artwork in varying frames and styles -- standouts against the rich neutral.
Pale Gray Blue + Charcoal + Pink
A soft gray with sky blue undertones makes this wall color a perfect choice for a sunroom. Dark charcoal gray patterned fabrics add weight to upholstery and accents such as the sofa and ottomans. White offers a quiet visual landing spot. Punches of pink bring in a sweet accent.
Linen Gray + White
Linen, in varying shades of gray, shows off simple prints that play well with the loose weave of the fabric. The sleigh bed grounds the room with its solid upholstery. A creamy gray linen panel printed with a modern take on a mythological motif (a tree of life within a laurel wreath) adds height to the headboard. On the bed, a vintage flour sack-turned-pillow shows farmhouse style. For a lighthearted touch that plays to the room’s rural sophistication, a bench at the foot of the bed sports Billy goat legs. All other furniture -- flea market finds -- is painted crisp white. Orange accents add the right amount of punch.
Soft Gray + Hot Pink
Hot pink is a standout against warm gray walls and white linen. The uncluttered aesthetic combines just enough ruffles and pleats with the right amount of contemporary notions for a sophisticated feminine retreat. Here, color takes precedence over frilly accents. To maintain the crisp feel, walls are upholstered in the same fabric as window drapery. The tufted headboard makes an elegantly dramatic statement.
With shades of gray infused with tints such as green, khaki, putty, purple, and slate, this home proves that layer upon layer of tonal grays gives even more interest to this favored neutral. The diamond-pattern doors, brick floor, striped rug, and variety of pillow fabrics add texture and interest creating a monochromatic scheme that is anything but dull.
Charcoal + Yellow
Charcoal gray wraps this bedroom in a cozy cocoon. Set against a dark background, pops of yellow seem even more sunny and cheerful. Contemporary and traditional elements converge just as comfortably as the contrasting colors. Above the bed, mirrored artwork plays off the traditional crystal chandelier. Bold patterned fabrics cover classically styled furnishings.
Cool Gray + Crisp White
Contrast is the name of the game in this bathroom, where cool gray walls mingle with crisp white trim and furnishings. The rich wall color creates a luxurious environment that's perfect for relaxing after a long day. Shimmering chrome fixtures echo the wall color.
Industrial Gray + Brown + Chartreuse
Concrete gray walls set the tone for midcentury modern style in this dining room. The cool hue works in harmony with the edgy furniture, bold patterns, and blocky black shade. Chartreuse green (with cool blue undertones) is a perfect complement to the industrial vibe.
Antique Pewter + Historical Hues
Every room needs a starting point. For this dining room, antique artwork provided inspiration. Grays shades such as mushroom, khaki, blue-gray, and cream show up in the chandelier shades, sisal rug, and off-white trim. Striped chairs and a vibrant bouquet of orange dahlias play to the secondary colors in the artwork. Wallpaper -- an oversize paisley -- animates the soft gray walls without overpowering the art.
Steely Gray + Honey
This master bedroom uses a soothing blend of cool grays and warm golden-honey hues. The harmony of these tones is perfect for relaxation. Gray walls and an upholstered headboard set the stage for the space, while the golden notes are struck on metallic pieces such as the light fixture, bench frame, and bedside lamp. The hues combine in the silk draperies and bed skirt. Additional texture and color is offered by the nubby decorative pillow and rose-embellished throw.
Weathered Wood + Antique Gray+ Wood Tones
Color cues in this kitchen are found in the reclaimed backsplash crafted from wooden shipping pallets. The untouched boards showcase years of wear and tear and just enough patina from long-ago swaths of paint. Hints of blue, gray, brown, and rust, dictated the color scheme. Cabinets are muted gray; the island is a rich, warm brown. To underscore the chips of color, the homeowner painted broad strokes of the hues on a corner wall.
Metallic Gray + Cool Red + Steel
Metallic gray with silvery undertones is a good choice for this contemporary kitchen. The red backsplash works well in this space because of its blue undertones and streamlined subway tile. Metallic accents such as the barstool legs and stainless hood complete the monochromatic look making the striking red backsplash even more of a statement.