The simplicity and versatility of gray as a color has often been emphasized in interior design through the relationship that gray has with other colors. Because it’s usually a very subdued tone, gray needs other more powerful and vibrant colors in order to stand out and to fit in a space. There are of course cases when a monochrome decor can look exquisite and in those cases we usually see a variety of different tones and nuances of the same color being used in combination with different textures and finishes. Gray in particular is a very complex color underneath its bland and monotonous shell. It’s a color full of potential which can virtually be paired with every other color imaginable and there’s always a way to make it look exciting and sophisticated.
A commonly used accent color that goes really well with gray is orange. The contrast between the two is a very powerful one and because these two nuances are so different they manage to bring out the beauty and uniqueness in each other.
Darker colors such as blues and browns can also look excellent when paired with lighter grays. The cool undertones create a chic and sophisticated image that can be further customized and refined by introducing particular types of textures and materials.
Gray also looks nice when paired with other neutrals such as beige, cream or ivory nuances. Of course, interior decor based only on these colors would look very bland and underwhelming so another more powerful color is also needed. Sometimes more than one accent color can be added to the combination of neutrals which results in an eclectic mix that shows great attention to details.
It’s also possible to use gray as an accent color. Here you can see a bedroom interior dominated by a variety of patterns and luxurious textures, with a sophisticated retro vibe. Dark gray accents are used in combination with satin ivory, dark browns and greens.
In other contexts, gray can be used as a balancing color, a neutral tone designed to soften or to lessen the effect of a rich and striking color. This way the grays prevent other colors from overpowering the room and ensure a comfortable and enjoyable ambiance.
Even though neither the dark gray on the wall or the dark brown on the furniture are very exciting individually, these two colors look beautiful together in this context. The visible wood grain and its natural warmth and the glossy furniture grays create a perfect backdrop for other more vibrant accent colors used in small doses.
Gray can also be perceived as a formal color which allows it to look perfectly at home in professional work environments or in libraries and other types of spaces. Inside a home, gray can be a nice color for an office or a reading nook. Here you can see lighter and darker grays paired with soft textures and with wood and metal accents.
This is also a color that can be used for background surfaces such as walls, being similar to white but less pure and simple. Even though the other colors that gray is paired within this particular case are very simple and neutral themselves, they stand out.
In some cases, gray can also be used to brighten up a room. In a way, this is an alternative to using white in interior design and decor. The gray however would have to be the lightest color in the room and needs to stand out in relation to the other nuances.
The texture is also very important when decorating. Matte finishes are really great at making spaces look comfortable and welcoming which is beautifully exemplified here. The combination of various different shades of gray and these eclectic orange-brown accents is both stylish and modern.
Because of how simple and bland gray can sometimes be, it’s a nice main color for the bedroom. In here for example is looks lovely in combination with the darker browns, the wooden floor and the mustard yellow and off white accents.
Living rooms that use gray in their design can also look magnificent. This one has dark gray, almost black walls and a lighter gray ceiling which is a very interesting combination. The floor and the furniture bring in beautiful nuances of brown and green which creates a really welcoming and cozy ambiance.
There are also warm and cool grays that can be used in combination with certain styles and types of interiors. They also look nice when put together and complemented by a rich and vibrant accent color such as orange or red.