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Shades of gray add drama to any interior

by MARY CAROL GARRITY Scripps Howard News Service on November 03, 2013 2:40 AM

The color gray has gotten a bad rap.

Think about it. Gray day. Gray hair. It’s time to toss out all your dreary images of gray because the sun is shining on this multidimensional color, and it is absolutely HOT in the world of interior design. Pick a shade of gray, from dove to charcoal, and it’s huge right now. Here are some tips for weaving gray into your home.


Wash a Wall in Gray

If you want a rich, saturated color on your walls that will bring a room alive without competing with artwork and upholstered furnishings, paint your room gray. Forget the myth that gray walls will make a room feel dark and gloomy. I’ve found that when you use gray as a backdrop for a space, every color and texture in the room explodes with energy. Gray lends lots of power without competing with the room’s focal points, like lovely artwork or knockout furnishings.

Give Gray a Go in Your Furnishings

Because it comes in so many great shades that pair well with just about any color, is a timeless classic and suits every style of home, gray is an ideal color for upholstered furnishings. When I work with young families at Nell Hill’s, I often recommend gray upholstery fabric on the pieces they use daily so the furniture won’t show the wear and tear of kids and pets.

With the rich backdrop of a gray sofa, you can go a million different directions with accent pillows, threading in white, yellow, orange, teal, coral, pink, citron, emerald ... you name it!

Gray lends itself well to contemporary and transitional style homes, especially when you bring it into the interior landscape through pieces covered in bold geometric patterns. It’s fun to mix modern patterns with upholstered furnishings and trims that pull in revitalized traditional patterns like chevrons and florals.

When it comes to wood furnishings, I’m a fan of just about every finish known to man, including painted wood. You can find gray finishes in dining tables and chairs, side tables and bookcases.


Tuck Gray into Your Bed

Stitch together bedding elements that feature gray, yellow and white in a wide range of fabric patterns and textures.


Create a Mood with Gray Accents

If you’d like just a pop of gray in your interior, try an accent lamp or a temple jar.

Life is less stressful when you pick accent rugs in colors and patterns that camouflage the signs of daily use. What could be a better pick than gray?

The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at She can be reached at

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