Decorating with Gray

Decorating with gray at home and in your bedroom lends an air of subtlety and sophistication you may not have expected. This gentle neutral can go light and easy or modern and elegant, depending on your paint, furniture and bedding choices. The color is seeing a refresh in design circles that's worth another look. Let us at west elm show you all the ways gray can make your bedroom the ultimate peaceful retreat.

Selecting Your Best Gray

The gray you choose has a lot to do with the mood you prefer in your bedroom. This neutral is catching up with classic standbys like white or light beige when it comes to decorating. It's an easy wash of color that lets you set the tone at home. For your walls, select flat paint. You'd almost never select a flat white paint for your bedroom--for starters, the smudges are a deterrent for a lot of people--but, with gray, the hue hides little imperfections.

When it comes to the shade of gray, you have a similar range to what you'd find in whites, whether you're looking at paint, rugs, bedding or other accessories. A green tint is relaxing and earthy. A blue tint is crisp. Violet lends elegance, while cement tones, done right, are definitely glam. If you're undecided or like to frequently switch the feel in your bedroom by changing blankets, shams or duvet covers, start with a pale dove gray. It plays well with lots of other shades and colors.

Mixing Grays

If you've ever dreamed of an all-gray bedroom, you are right on trend with today's haute designers. This is a look that is going to be around for awhile. Its neutral elegance and versatility is made for design longevity, so invest in pieces that make you happy. You'll have plenty of opportunity to mix and match your grays. Texture can be a fun way to experiment with gray hues. Try a sateen bedskirt and sheets or a soft, luxe linen set. For romantic or indulgent evenings, switch out for silk and, in the winter, flannel is an easy go-to. Paired with lots of woven blankets or even a modern gray quilt, you can layer your grays for depth and dimension.

Some people look to metallics to add a different flash of gray, too. Stainless or satin-finish silver tone handles, drawer pulls and doorknobs can help create a faceted feel to your room. Don't be afraid to amplify the impact with mirrors, either dresser and floor mirrors or mirrored bedside tables or other drawers.

Other Colors with Gray

One of the major benefits of decorating with gray is how many other colors you can pair it with. If you love cooler tones, select a cooler gray and watch your room become more zen than ever with the addition of pale blues. Try pairing gray bedding with blue shams or accent pillows or discover the beauty of a blue rug against cement or dove. If you like a warm vibe in the bedroom, go for griege. This unique color made design headlines recently with its novel blend of gray and beige. The color makes blankets look extra toasty and lets you decorate with accents of green, coral, or anything else that would make beige pop.

High-contrast shades look wonderful with gray, too. A dash of royal purple or a swath of bright yellow make an exceptional statement in your bedroom. Bright tones against gray bedding can make your bed feel like an absolute oasis.

Styling Your Room

How you style your room with gray depends on the vibe you want to set:

  • Go classic with gray and white. This is a high-contrast style that spins around two classic neutrals, so you want to keep your silhouettes clean and use big chunks of color. Try walls in gray and trim in white or gray bedding with a white metal frame bed or whitewashed wooden furniture. You need a big room to really nail the contrast. If it feels too harsh in your space, soften it with layered blankets, gray and white patterned linens and mixed gray tones throughout the room.
  • Set the stage for romance with silver and gray. Make your bed in hues of gray that are the same or close to each other, but use lots of contrasting textures for sheets, blankets and pillows. Add metallic sheen at the windows, mirrors, drawer pulls and accent details like art frames or vases. A plush silvery-gray rug underfoot adds to the sensuous calm.
  • Create drama with dark grays. Style your bedroom for just a hint of Victorian or Gothic appeal by selecting lots of dark wood furniture and pairing it with rich gray shades. Balance the mood with touches of dove gray and light concrete colors or use gray as your accent color against other deep finishes. Quilts, coverlets, quilted shams and contemporary art brings the look into the 21st century without losing sight of the original design touchstones.
  • Retreat to a boho-chic haven with lots of light grays. By playing with texture like linen, fringe, quilting and layers of blankets, your bedroom will look youthful but sophisticated and airy, like it's a suite in a glam desert hotel or a rustic cabin sanctuary in the trees. Dress your room up with hanging quilts, heavy rugs and mix-and-match accent pillows. Keep lighting at eye level or below and use only the palest of accent colors.

With so many choices, decorating with gray can be a simple way to revolutionize your look at home. Start with a few new favorite pieces and create a fresh look as you go.

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