I really think this post should be, “is gray home decor totally out”, but when people talk about gray, they most often are talking about gray paint! So is gray paint color and other gray decor totally out? Oooooh, what a great question! Nothing in the interior design world creates lively discussion like the color gray!
I am very much a peacemaker. A kumbaya kind of girl. But when it comes to gray I must admit I am a bit of a grayter (people who dislike gray). Not all gray, however. I even have some gray in my home. But as a rule, lots of gray, like gray walls are not for me!
Let me tell you about one of my first encounters with gray.
I was at an acquaintances home for the first time, about a decade ago, and when I walked in I could not believe my eyes! Everything was gray… and red! Not a light gray or a dulled down warm gray but a medium gray with very strong violet undertone. It was just so… striking!!!! And not in a good way! And from that moment on I have had an issue with gray.
I know not all grays are like the violet/gray I first encountered but for me, gray is often cold and hard to live with. I know all you gray lovers will tell me that there are gorgeous grays on the market and you are so right. But gray, like the color white, is hard to get right!
I liken my dislike for gray to my distaste for lamb.
When I was young I went to an all girl’s Scottish boarding and had my first encounter with lamb.
However, it was not lamb but mutton. Although there is a huge difference between lamb and mutton there is a very faint flavor that I just can’t get past. No matter how delicious lollipop lamb chops are I am forever scared! The same goes for the color gray!
Now you know my bent. But for this post, I am going to put it away and be as objective as I can. I’ve done my homework and research and I keep seeing the same thing over and over. So let’s talk about what I’ve learned.
First of all, gray is on-trend right now. But not for long! Not for long at all!
WHAT IS A TREND
All trends are just great guesses. The design industry (including blogs) looks ahead to see what they feel will be showing up strong in the near future.
And trends are just that. Trends!
That does not mean you can’t love what you have or are in any way compelled to change and get trendy if you are not. When I do trend posts I get tons of emails from upset readers telling me why they love what they have and won’t embrace change!
And let me say, that is totally okay! Actually loving our home is our decorating goal!
So if you don’t jump on the trend bandwagon it’s totally okay.
However, if you love trends like I do, that’s perfectly okay too! It’s like browsing our favorite website. We can look but we don’t have to buy!
GRAY’S LONG TREND HISTORY
Every color, at one time, is the trend belle of the color ball. They take turns! The sixties were all about avocado and oranges. Does harvest gold ring a bell? Get the door, the seventies are calling!
The eighties had a love affair with mauves and blues and peaches (remember those colors?). The nineties loved the warmth of Tuscan colors, golds, terracotta, and sun-drenched French provincial hues. Then came the brown craze and the stainless steel craze and then finally the last decade has been all about gray and white!
Gray has had a long, long run being the most on-trend home decor color. And no wonder. It is a wonderful backdrop for home furnishings (see no bias). And an even better color for the exterior of a home.
WILL GRAY STILL BE POPULAR IN 2021
Gray is not going anywhere because gray is a classic. So all you gray lovers can stand up and cheer!
However, it probably is not going to stay the star forever and probably not much longer.
If you love gray, take solace in the fact that gray is classic, and if you are a “grater” just know there are more trendy colors coming along for you.
That was easy, right?
WHY HAS GRAY HAD SUCH A LONG RUN
Gray is a gorgeous color and has more drama than white, another wildly popular and timeless color.
And gray, like all other colors, can have warm or cool undertones. It’s all about the undertones, friend!
There is really a gray for everyone!
Once a color starts catching on in popularity it is like a snowball that starts at the top of a steep snowy hill. As it rolls downhill it just gains steam and gets bigger and bigger.
I think one of the biggest reasons gray has been so hugely popular is because of bloggers who post on Pinterest and Instagram. They certainly have a big influence on the decor world now. And many bloggers LOVE LOVE LOVE gray!
WILL GRAY SOMEDAY LOOK… “OH, SO 2015”
I think so. And let me tell you why.
Gray, just like the most popular and trendy colors of the decades before it, will be connected in time to the decade of the 2010s.
Gray has been the “it” color in decor for well over a decade. And like all things, it has had its day. Gray will always be a classic and fit into decor seamlessly.
But here’s why gray will look, “oh, so 2010, 2012, 2015. 2019,2020…
Gray has been way too overdone!
Remember the all-gray, all the time look? That is what is dated. A trend is a trend usually because it is used and seen way too much. Fickle us, at some point we get bored with the color of the decade and want to move on to something new that we will probably overdo.
WHY THE CHANGE NOW?
The gray trend slipping out of trendy first place was inevitable. But what made its trendy long run come to a fast downside?
This is so interesting! Here’s the short answer… The Pandemic!
Wow! The pandemic really changed so much of the way we live and work. It even changed the way we look at color!
Once most of us were hunkering down at home we started to really look around our living spaces and we began to crave more warmth and a more of a homey warm home feel.
Gray often translates a bit cold so many people started gravitating to warmer neutrals. Beige had been huge in the early 2000s and because it is a warm neutral we are seeing a big resurgence of beige and other warm neutrals.
You can see a very informative post about Beige And Why It Is A Great Decor Choice Here.
WHAT IS THE NEW COLOR DARLINGS OF THE MOMENT
This is such an interesting question! Warm neutrals will probably be the biggest color trend for the decade of the 2020s.
However, right now blue is the trendy darling! Especially dark, moody blue. But it is only having a mini-run!
I’ve seen navy blues come on strong for a couple years now and last year blue was b-i-g! It is still popular but the blue frenzy craze is really starting to head out!
Here’s the thing about blue! Could there be a more beloved color? Blue will always be a classic but it won’t be trending very long.
I was just asked a question in my decorating Facebook group about a member’s new kitchen construction. She asked if she should have a blue island. Did you know that there is a very very big blue kitchen island craze? Yes, there is!
They are beautiful, no doubt.
Here’s my personal opinion.
If you don’t mind having a pretty island that will look amazingly trendy for the next 6 years (or less) then go for the blue! You are in good company! Lots of kitchen renovations are including blue islands.
However, if you want your kitchen island to stay in style for a long time maybe blue is not the best choice. Sorry, but true! Choose a classic color. It will still look very pretty and thankfully not look time-stamped.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I LOVE GRAY
Back to gray!
If you love gray you are in great company, just keep loving it. Like I have said a couple times, gray is really a classic.
HOW-ever, try to incorporate other colors with gray. Lots of white, a taddy bit of black, moody blues, warm greens, browns, and greige (love), soft beiges, or bright complimentary colors. No wonder gold tones are back. Gray and gold are just so gorgeous together!
I think gray is waning in popularity because when almost everything in a room is gray its boring! Mix gray up with other great colors in a room.
Just look at the image above. The gray in this room looks alive and anything but boring. Gray when mixed with other colors looks rich!
HOW ABOUT GRIEGE
Let’s chat about greige. It is another very popular paint color right now.
The simplest way to explain greige is to say it is a mix of gray and beige. Paints like SW Agreeable Gray, Behr Toasty Gray, Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray, and SW Dorian Gray are all examples of gorgeous grays. They are toasty and so full of warm brown undertones.
At a glance, you would think all these colors were beiges or browns but they are grays that have been warmed up and lightened up. Remember undertones change colors dramatically!
These are by definition gray but they act like warm beige’s.
There are scores of beautiful grays.
Look at BM Rodeo. It is a gray with green undertones. Just beautiful! The ever-popular Gray Owl is a soft gray with soft yellow undertones. Another BM favorite, Classic Gray is a gray that reads off white with soft pink undertones. And so does BM Cloud Cover.
If you love gray stay away from painting your walls medium grays that have undertones of violet, red or pink. Save those grays for smaller accent decor if you must!
One gray I adore is charcoal! Although I would not put it on a wall in my home, it can look so gorgeous in a bedroom or small bathroom. And it is my dream to have a charcoal linen sofa one day!
Use dark charcoal where you would use black. It is a bit softer looking.
Downpipe by Ball and Farrow is medium charcoal with blue undertones and Curbside is warmed-up charcoal by Magnolia Home. I love BM Kendell Charcoal because of its green undertones. I tend to love what green does to gray. And this rich warm charcoal from Behr called Carbon is a winner in my book!
I feel like I have danced around all gray colors I think of when I think of “grays that look cold” and have found lots of beautiful grays that are anything but ordinary!
A WORD ABOUT PANTONE’S COLOR OF THE YEAR!
2021s Pantone colors of the year are ultimate gray and illuminating. So you see gray is not totally out!
And remember I just said gray and goldtones go fabulously together? Well, the nice people who catalog and categorize color so it is consistent across all mediums love these two colors together too!
But just because they have chosen this gray does not mean that it is going to be or is hot! Dear Pantone people I think gray is on its way out.
A COLOR ODE TO GRAY
Today’s post is more of an ode than a durge to gray! There is a lot to love about this classic chameleon of a color! Gray is praiseworthy and should be celebrated as a classic!
Never mind that it is fading from trend superstar! It will never end up in the color pile puce occupies! However, gray will be like Beige and Navy, and Off White. A go-to decorating color!
When I think of color trends in decorating I think of the adage, “what goes around comes around”. And when it comes to gray… it has and it does and it will.