Monday, January 21, 2013

Design Tips: Hot Color Trend - Gray

Walk into a paint store lately? With all the hundreds of colors available to us, you'd think we'd all be creative and choose wildly different schemes. As crazy as it seems, maybe it's the power of suggestion or something, certain colors seem to be more popular than others for a while. Then some other fresh new color takes over.

Gray is taking its turn in the spotlight as an exciting take as both an accent color as well as the inspiration for entire color schemes. I love grays because they seem more modern than the browns of a few years ago, yet gray is softer and more calming than black. I'm partial to warm grays more yellow than pink, and I also love plum and slate-blue tinged grays as well. For more color trend ideas, visit Benjamin Moore's site here.


Gray can be graphic. A color scheme and bold patterns of off-white and gray is as striking and dramatic as classic black and white but a lot warmer. Warm it up even more with a pale buttery yellow and you have a scheme that's a little vintage but also fresh and modern.

Gray is also a neutral. Unlike some of the recent Pantone colors of the year, last year's Tangerine and this year's Emerald, as well as some of the hot pastels that are so fun right now, you can use gray as much as you want and it'll be very livable. You don't need to reserve gray for accents only. Whole rooms look great in shades of gray. Even whites can be grayish to complete the look.

Restoration Hardware built their entire catalog around shades of gray, it seems. Even most of their wood tones are smoky colors. They also display a lot of shiny silver aluminum, flat black steel, gray leathers and fabrics, rugs, everything. Check out the collection for some beautiful ideas! Grays also blend beautifully with most natural wood tones and warm neutral colors such as tans, beige, and off-whites. For color ideas, think of  unbleached linen and cotton, old-fashioned photos, pale wood or wicker.

Gray walls change a lot over different lighting conditions, more than other colors. Test first. Before even buying test paint I hang my color swatches on the wall for a few days, ideally with changing weather conditions.

Then I note which ones I like the most. If you're really not sure, paint a large swatch, at least 2 or 3 feet wide and just as high, at eye level. Preferably paint next to some trim if you can. You may even need to prime the wall if you're covering a bold color, and do two coats to get the most realistic result!

Until next time!
Elaine Bothe

Photos courtesy of Restoration Hardware.

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 12:01 AM 

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