Design Recipes: A case for the color gray


Do you remember when the color gray was the “it” color on the runway? Well it remains the “go to” in home decor. Look in virtually any magazine and you will see a shade of gray as the color of choice on nearly every wall. From soft, muted gray to deep rich charcoal, the color gray is more popular than ever.

It is often considered to be drab and gloomy, but the reality is, gray is one of the most versatile colors in home decor. Why? Gray is a foundation color that can easily be paired with other colors and can be used for “foundation” pieces such as large upholstery pieces, including sofas, beds and chairs. You can use gray to help “ground a space” as well as an accent color.



DO use light gray in spaces that don’t get much light. Light gray can help to make a space feel light and bright.

DO use gray for primary pieces in a room such as sofas, chairs and beds.

DO mix warm and cool grays. Warm grays are more cream in nature while cool grays are more blue.

DO pair gray with strong contrast colors such as indigo blue, black or brown.

DO use gray in unexpected areas such as dining rooms.


DON’T be afraid to use a dark shade of gray such as charcoal gray. Smoky shades of gray can be luxurious.

DON’T be afraid to mix different shades of gray in the same space.

DON’T be afraid to use gray as accents. From artwork to pillows, gray can be a smoothing addition to your space.

DON’T use dark shades of gray in spaces that don’t get much light as it will likely make the space feel overly dark.

DON’T forget that finishes can be used as a way to add gray to a space. Chrome and nickel finishes are great ways to infuse the color gray into a room.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at [email protected] or visit her website at

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