8 Living Rooms That Prove Gray is a Timeless Choice

published Jun 2, 2019
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Credit: Kristan Lieb

When it comes to elegant interior colors, it doesn’t get more classic than gray. Not only is the versatile earth tone a calming (and complementary) neutral that works well with other hues, the right shade of gray can instantly bring warmth and depth to even the starkest of spaces. Not convinced? Here are nine living rooms that remind us why gray reigns supreme.

Credit: Kristan Lieb

1. It Works Well With Other Neutrals

Too many neutrals can sometimes leave a room feeling cold and stark. Good news: You can mix a little gray into your palette, like the dark gray upholstered sofa and pale gray wall we spotted in Kristen Basilo’s Chicago home, to warm up (but not overwhelm) the other neutrals in the room.

Credit: Kevin O'Gara

2. It Subdues Bolder Hues

Love the idea of integrating a few bright blue elements in your living room but don’t want the space to look flashy? Take a cue from Kevin O’Gara’s Atlanta, Georgia home and opt for dark gray wall paint to balance out the bolder hues in the living room.

3. It Offsets Bright Textiles

Dreaming of a bold, multi-colored living room rug but don’t want to overpower the rest of the space? Stick with a predominately soft gray palette to subdue an eye-catching textile, just like we saw in Emily and Kai’s Seattle abode.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

4. It Creates a Nice Contrast for Vibrant Colors

Searching for a paint color that will really allow your colorful décor items to shine? A dark gray wall, like the one we spotted in Savannah Sher and Mike Wynands’ Montreal, Canada home, creates a chic contrast for brightly colored textiles, artwork, and furnishings.

5. It Draws Attention to Artwork

Hoping to paint your living room in a color that won’t compete with your art collection? Follow in interior designer Sally Breer’s footsteps and paint your walls a shade of warm gray that really allows your artwork—even the black-and-white ones—to shine, just like she did in this Austin, Texas home.

6.  It’s a Good Alternative to Black

If you’re a fan of dark interiors but don’t like the idea of black walls, then we have the paint color for you. When paired with darkly upholstered furniture pieces, walls painted in a deep tone of gray, like the one inside Sue Huey & Graeme Fraser’s East Sussex, United Kingdom living room, can make a space feel distinctly moody yet polished.  

Credit: Leela Cyd

7. It Instantly Brightens up Neutrals

Never underestimate the impact of light gray walls in a living room furnished with neutral pieces. Case in point: Caitlin Flemming’s San Francisco living room, where the pale gray painted walls allow otherwise inconspicuous furnishings in the space to really make a statement.

Credit: Cathy Pyle

8. It Calms the Senses

No living room rug? No problem. Warm gray accents, like the walls and crushed velvet upholstery in Cathy and Tony’s United Kingdom home, make a living room feel warm and inviting—no carpet necessary.