Playful or Played Out? Designers Weigh in on Gray and Yellow Decor

published Jul 6, 2018
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(Image credit: Alicia Macias)

Artist Wassily Kandinsky once said, “Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” Yet, finding a color combination that’s cool, modern, sophisticated, and complementary is easier said than done.

For years, yellow and gray fit the bill. Easy and unexpected, the two hues were an unstoppable duo for gender neutral nurseries and cheery rooms alike.

“This combination works because the gray neutral offsets the vibrant yellow, and makes the yellow easier to live with,” says interior designer Maggie Cruz.

But in an age when Millennial Pink and Ultra Violet are all the rage, is the combination still relevant?

Well, it depends on who you ask.

Some people, like interior designer Jessica Schuster, believe the color combination is just as cool as it was years ago.

“I love how versatile this color palette is,” she says. “There are so many iterations you can come up with based on your personal style.”

(Image credit: Julia Steele)

Choosing individual shades of gray and yellow can be difficult, but pairing them together can make a big statement.

“I’ve found that the real magic happens when you start to scheme all the different variations together and see how well they work with each other,” Schuster says.

The great thing about yellow and gray, Schuster explains, is there’s not just one way to use it. Daring designers can experiment with a gray wall and bright yellow couch, while the color-adverse can infuse small accessories into their home.

Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, don’t overthink your decorating decisions.

“I always believe using patterns and textures can enhance the warmth and depth of a space,” Schuster advises. “I think it can be easy to get lost in a bold color palette and forget to incorporate these essential elements of design.”

But not everyone’s still on the yellow and gray bandwagon. Cruz, for example, thinks the combination has seen better days.

“It’s played out, but mostly when used on geometric patterns that are really cutesy,” Cruz argues. “I think these patterns have been on the way out for a while, but if used in another context, like say, boho or tribal patterns, it could still work.”

If you’re looking for a new color combination, think pink.

“Pink is still having a strong moment,” Cruz says. “Blush pink and marigold is becoming one of my favorite combinations. It elevates pink and makes it very sophisticated.”

So what do you think? Is decorating with yellow and gray playful or played out? Sound off in the comments below.