Our 35 Best Gray Living Room Ideas of All Time

published Aug 5, 2019
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Credit: Kristan Lieb

If you’re looking for a timeless paint color for the main area in your home, it doesn’t get more classic than a gray living room. Not only do gray living room walls work well with lots of other hues, like any other earth tone, but it can also instantly bring warmth and depth to even the starkest of spaces.

Want to go to the dark side? Here are 35 gorgeous gray living room ideas—and matching paint shades—to kickstart your inspiration.

Credit: Kim Lucian

1. Create Contrast

Rich gray living room walls provide a stylish contrast to light-colored decor accents. Meg Shackleton nailed the look in her San Francisco apartment with Benjamin Moore’s Amherst Gray.

Credit: Tara Bellucci

2. Cool Down

Blue-gray walls—like Canadian Lake by Dunn-Edwards—can subdue the brightly colored textiles in a room without detracting from the warm ambiance. Let Eva Katz and Philip Sugerman’s Boston, Massachusetts home show you how it’s done.

Credit: Kevin O'Gara

3. Brighten Up Blues

Deep gray walls play up the cool tones of blue furniture, like the curtains and pillows we saw in Kevin O’Gara’s Pencil Point-colored family house in Atlanta, Georgia

Credit: Andrea Sparacio

4. Double Down on Details

In this Brooklyn house tour, the use of Benjamin Moore’s Wedgewood Gray makes the dainty, white wainscoting pop.

Credit: Kristan Lieb

5. Get Gradient

Kristen Basilo upgraded her graphic, black and white living room with a light gray wall. Get the look in your own home with Dimpse by Farrow & Ball. 

Credit: Cleary O’Farrell

6. Build a Blank Canvas

When paired with gray walls, painted in a shade—like Lazy Gray by Sherwin-Williams—an eye-catching multicolored area rug becomes the focal point of a room. Emily and Kai’s Seattle, Washington living room offers plenty of design inspiration.

7. The Tonal Treatment

In Huey and Graeme Fraser’s English living room, dark gray walls allow light-colored textiles to make a statement. Try your luck with a hue like Autumn Gray by Magnolia.

Credit: Bethany Nauret

8. A Cozy Color Palette

Set a rustic and cozy tone in an eclectic living room by painting the walls in a warm but soothing shade of deep gray—like Charcoal Smudge by Dunn-Edwards—as we saw in Lulu Brud Zsebe and Justin Zsebe’s Los Angeles, California cabin

Credit: Andrea Sparacio

9. Define a Zone

An ultra-dark gray wall helps define a distinct office nook inside an open layout space. Bryan and Sarah Farevaag painted in their Brooklyn studio with Black Panther by Benjamin Moore. 

Credit: Danielle Moss

10. Beautify the Brick

A fresh coat of medium gray paint, such as Philosophical Gray by Glidden, turns an exposed brick wall into a sleek, industrial-style living room vignette. Let Dave and Mollie Code’s Chicago loft offer the ultimate inspiration.

Credit: Nicole Crowder

11. Up Your Gallery Wall Game

Dark, smoky gray walls—painted in a shade like Chimney Smoke by Valspar— will create an elegant backdrop for colorful gallery-style art displays, as we found in Holley and Audrey’s Washington DC rental

12. Warm Up Your Space

In this Austin, Texas home designed by Sally Breer, muted gray-painted walls will warm up a lofty living room without overpowering the rest of the room’s bold decor accents. Silver Lined by Dunn-Edwards will get the design job done.

Credit: Esteban Cortez

13. Add An Extra Boost

A light shade of gray paint, like Tabby Cat Gray by Valspar, creates a warm palette that intensifies an array of eye-catching colors in a living room. Like what you see? Feast your eyes on Caitlin Hackett and Dave McHale’s Oakland, California apartment

Credit: Nancy Mitchell

14. A Cute Center

Allow a colorfully upholstered sofa or chair to become the centerpiece of your living room by painting the walls in a neutral shade of pale gray. Copy Jeff and Erin Mooney’s Houston, Texas home with a shade like Seize the Gray by Clare.

Credit: Bethany Nauret

15. Let the Light In

Light gray living room walls reflect the sunlight that streams in from windows to help create a naturally brighter space, just like we saw in Jeffrey Toraichi Eyser and Joseph F. Kuntz Jr’s Dusk-colored living room in Los Angeles

Credit: Apartment Therapy

16. Go Grayscale

A saturated shade of gray wall paint, such as Network Gray by Sherwin-Williams, intensifies the gradient hues of black-white-and-gray artwork, just like we saw in Katherine Raz and Jem Hilton’s Chicago rental

Credit: Bethany Nauret

17. Dig Deep

A barely-there shade of gray wall paint—like the color Cumulous Cloud by Benjamin Moore that Drew Vuong used in his Los Angeles home—brings a touch of depth and dimension to a living room with lots of white wainscoting.  

Credit: Kim Lucian

18. Separate Quarters

Paint your entryway walls in a commanding coat of dark gray to separate and define a unique living room zone in an open layout space. Erin Kelsey used Black Pepper by Benjamin Moore in her Oakland, California loft

Credit: David Telford

19. Get Creative with Color

Neutral gray walls,  painted in a shade like Gray Screen by Sherwin-Williams, provide a backdrop that complements both sides of a gallery wall divided by colored and black-and-white artwork. Paula Benson and Paul West’s London home and studio ups the design ante.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

20. Make a Statement

In Savannah Sher and Mike Wynands’ Montreal abode,  mixed media gallery wall stands out in a living room with dark gray walls painted in Deep Space by Benjamin Moore.

21. Opposites Attract

A pale gray living room palette, like the Whale Gray walls in Matt Rudkin’s New York City apartment, creates a chic contrast to dark upholstered furnishings. 

Credit: Pablo Enriquez

22. A Touch of Cohesion

Use a muted shade of gray to create continuation between living and dining room zones in an airy space. Christine and Will Arcuri worked wonders with Benjamin Moore’s Coventry Gray their Hoboken, New Jersey home

Credit: Arthur Garcia-Clemente

23. Say Hello to Yellow

A creamy shade of cool gray paint, like Intellectual by Behr, subdues bright yellow textiles to create a lively but welcoming living room atmosphere, as we saw in Tim Naus’ Chicago rental

Credit: Esteban Cortez

24. Boastful Bones

Bring a touch of contrast to a living room clad in white baseboards and crown molding by painting the wall space in between a sleek shade of light gray. You can easily recreate the look of this San Francisco house tour with Penthouse by Clare.

Credit: Justice Darragh

25. Cozy Corners

A coat of Dorian Gray by Sherwin-Williams draws attention to an interesting nook inside Lisa Vanin’s Toronto, Canada living room

Credit: Paul Zansler

26. Emphasize Your Interiors

Benjamin Moore’s beige-tinged Gargoyle emphasizes unique architectural elements in John Malta’s New Orleans abode

Credit: Pablo Enriquez

27. A Color-Coded Crib

Intellectual Gray painted walls help distinguish a distinct living room area from other rooms and zones in a graciously sized house, just like we saw in this New Jersey home.  

Credit: Kim Lucian

28. Energize Your Grand Entrance

A coat of saturated gray paint turns an awkward living room wall into a distinct entryway zone in an open layout space, as we found in Erin’s Black Pepper-painted Oakland loft.  

Credit: Esteban Cortez

29. Serve Some Salon Style

Cloudy gray walls—like Valspar’s Tabby Cat Gray used in this Oakland apartment—turn an eclectic gallery wall into the focal point of a living room. 

Credit: Winkie Visser

30. Do Double Duty

Why settle for one gray paint shade when you can select a few? In this Dutch house tour, the use of Painting the Past’s Putty and Chalk gives the living a nuanced glow.

Credit: Heather Keeling

31. Go to the Dark Side

If a stark, black and white contrast isn’t for you, take a cue from this Oregon house tour by pairing noir with a less dramatic light gray. Go ahead, select a shade like Glidden’s Touch of Grey.

Credit: Svenja Bruecker

32. Wonderful Whites

Alternatively, you can always pair your gray hue with a pristine white. This Austrian abode makes a statement with Farrow & Ball’s Peignoir, a rosy gray shade.

Credit: William Strawser

33. Gorgeous in Gray

Take your love of gray to the next level by pairing light gray walls with a moody, charcoal door. This Manhattan apartment used Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal to get the look.

Credit: Leela Cyd

34. Gorgeous in Gray

A warm shade of bluish-gray paint brings a pop of color and personality to a low-key neutral living room setup, just like we saw in Caitlin Flemming’s Harbor Gray painted San Francisco apartment. 

35. Decorate With an Eye for Detail

Light gray walls, like the Graceful Gray ones in Erik Perez and Paul Hardoin’s Los Angeles living room, accentuate and enhance white architectural elements such as crown molding, bay windows, and shutters.