Color Crush: 3 Fab Finds in Chalky Gray
Soft, subdued and oh-so-easy to live with, chalky gray is the new neutral that adds a rustic-meets-sophisticated spin to any style decor.
Hand-carved from New England ash trees by American artisans, these beautiful bowls are constructed using old-world techniques to create a modern heirloom. Each bowl features a hand-applied, matte oil finish that adds to their rustic charm while also sealing the wood and making them food safe. Fill these beauties with produce fresh from your garden or simply use them as part of a farmhouse-inspired display.
Removable and repositionable, this gorgeous mural lets renters and the design indecisive alike try out the wallpaper trend without the fear of a long-term commitment. Installed as a series of panels, the large-scale watercolor peonies are a beautiful way to add graphic interest and texture to any interior wall — or cut the self-adhesive panels to size and install them inside a bookcase or glass-front kitchen cabinet for an unexpected pop of pattern.
Stylishly stash your stuff in these handmade raffia and twine baskets whose design was inspired by the traditional Iringa baskets of Tanzania. Their generous size is perfect for storing throws in the living room or towels in the bath while their tone-on-tone pattern and subdued color palette is a pitch-perfect addition to any style decor.
Inspired by Nature
For a bedroom with verdant views of the outdoors, a simple gray, white and blue palette keeps the emphasis on the room's connection to nature. "Just as you see in in nature, a balance between warm and cool colors is important for interiors," says project designer Adriana Gerbig. "Here we selected a soft warm gray to balance the cool colors in the fabrics."
Boy Oh Boy
Choosing colors for a tween boy isn't always easy — nor is designing a room that will grow with him. Blue is so basic; gray, on the other hand, can add a masculine touch that feels right at any age. "Our challenge for this project was to design a room for a 12-year-old boy that wasn't too age specific, and was personalized enough for him to feel comfortable in a more 'grown-up' space as he transitioned into his teen years," says designer Laura McCroskey. "We used a soft gray paint (Benjamin Moore HC-95) on three walls and the ceiling of this room to create a neutral and cozy retreat, but painted the accent wall behind his bed with cinnabar for a splash of energy. We also used values of gray from dark charcoal to light gray in his bedding and draperies. The chrome lamps and accessories complemented the grays and added a touch of bling. The room is accessorized with a bookcase for books and his childhood treasures and a wonderful study desk in gray canvas with leather trim."
Proof that neutrals need never be boring, this bedroom's a winning combination of subtle shades in a very tight palette. "This room succeeds in creating a masculine, clubby sanctuary for the homeowner to unwind at the end of the day," says designer Brian Dittmar. "By using multiple shades of warm gray paired with taupe, camel and cream tones, we created a space that envelops you and makes you feel at ease because it's all a peaceful — yet interesting — mix of basically monochromatic neutrals."
No need to hang art against gallery-white walls: Warm gray is a great backdrop for everything from bold contemporary works to classic compositions, and allows the artwork to determine the room's color palette. "This room basically has a monochromatic color scheme," says designer M. Charles Beach. "But it's deceiving because of the splashes and punctuation of color, which add drama and sophistication."
Keep a light space from feeling too cool and empty by emphasizing details like pattern and texture, says designer Victoria McKenney. "When designing spaces with a monochromatic color palette, we create visual interest by varying elements such as patterns, textures and materials. This enables us to design a calming, serene space that doesn't lack character or uniqueness."
Earth tones aren't the only option for creating a warm and cozy atmosphere. "In this bedroom, the dark wall color (C2's 'Carbon Dust' paint) makes the space feel more private; the warmth of the gray is calming," say designers Douglas Kallfelz and Cory Kallfelz.
In a space dominated by bold architectural elements, it can make sense to limit the rest of the design features to a selection of richly textured neutrals. "Here we combined soft taupe-gray paint with a muted palette to create a soothing master bedroom retreat," says designer Jennifer Johnson. "Various tones of gray and a mix of textures add just enough interest without feeling too busy."
Gray can play many roles — from the restrained chic of menswear-style charcoal to the shimmering richness of reflective silver — as shown in this dramatic master bedroom. "I loved using gray in this project because it can be both calming and inviting," says designer Michael Abrams. "It's the perfect combination for creating a soothing and sophisticated space."
Sleeping on a Cloud
At times, creating the perfect sleeping space is as easy as choosing the right paint. In her own home, design blogger Michelle Shen of AM Dolce Vita achieved her goal of "a serene and elegant master bedroom" by setting simple white furnishings against the soft wash of ICI Dulux's Silver Cloud gray paint.
Strike the Right Tone
Gray may be everywhere in design right now, but which gray you choose for you own space depends on the other colors you'll be incorporating. In this bedroom, part of a modern condominium in Chicago, a steel gray works perfectly with the saturated shades of the bedding and rug. "Our client prefers the absence of color, but wanted her daughter to be able to express her own personality in her bedroom. A neutral background allows for bold pops of color such as the Donghia Suzani headboard, the Atelier Lapchi rug and the Missoni draperies," says designer Jessica Lagrange.
Sweet and Subtle
Streaming sunshine and the curving lines of classic furnishings are amplified by a wall color that's the color of early morning. Say designers Erin Fearins and Catherine Brophy of their choice: "Soft gray walls and crisp, light neutrals create a modern, luxe feeling for a bedroom or dressing room."
Color can affect mood and energy, from stimulating appetite (red) to inspiring happiness (yellow). "Gray is always a very soothing and peaceful color," say the designers at Urrutia Design. "It's a great choice for a bedroom, because it's important to be in a relaxing environment just before you start or end your day."
Traditional white bedroom furniture suddenly looks crisp and modern against pale gray walls. Add bedding with intense citrine accents and an oversized pattern, and you've given your room a whole new attitude. Says designer C. Marie Hebson of this space: "The warm gray colors create a subtle, youthful vibe in this room and balance perfectly with the traditional feeling of the rest of the home's design."
Layering gray and silver adds a level of glamour that's just right in a romantic space. "In this bedroom, we used a very modern wallpaper to create a beautiful focal point," says designer Yelena Gerts. To soften the room and add a touch of luxury, we chose an upholstered bed with silver nail heads. The gray and purple color scheme gave the room a contemporary feel."
Layers of Interest
In this simple yet elegant bedroom, layered, textural neutrals lend interest without drawing attention away from the room's distinctive architecture. "The use of warm and cool grays was mirrored by the use of warm and cool metallics in the space," says designer Terri Symington. "The small amount of accent color from the fresh flowers adds the final touch that a neutral monotone color scheme often needs."