At its purest, gray is the perfect blend of black and white, which makes it the epitome of neutrality and balance. Of course, when gray is used in interior design, there are undertones (warm or cool) to be identified and considered when creating color combinations. Although gray itself refrains from exuding emotion, it is likely pretty pleased to be the neutral of design choice these days. The color ranges from dingy to sophisticated. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the colors that go with gray, and why those particular combinations work well.
Gray + Gold + White
Almost like a blank slate, the color gray can be reformed to represent and enhance nearly any desired aesthetic, including formality and sophistication. (This might be surprising, due to the fact that for a long time this color represented solely dullness and pollution, visual and otherwise.) In a luxe texture that begs for a hand to touch it, gray and its color combination pals gold and white shine for this grand Gallery ALL chair.
Taking gold and white as prime colors that go with gray in a different direction is this crisp, fresh, contemporary kitchen. Nobilia square handles accentuate the clean lines of the space, as do strategic horizontal blocks of color. Of course, the highlight of the space is the double-cubed gold hood over the stove, which is as charming as it is unique.
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Gray + Navy
There are few colors as timeless and practical as gray is, but navy is definitely one of them. The two like-minded colors originate from different spaces on the color spectrum, but they join together seamlessly and easily to create a pragmatic, classic palette. The effect is particularly impressive when the gray used is on the paler side of things, which keeps the gray and navy space from feeling too heavy.
Gray + Slate Blue
A hot neutral right now, gray is the It Factor of many contemporary spaces. One challenge with using this “non-color,” however, is the need to liven it up. Slate blue is a perfect color that goes with gray because it, too, contains significant dosages of gray undertones, yet it adds a certain pop of color that matches gray in tonality, sophistication, and muted urbanity.
Gray + Aqua
Something visually amazing happens when the color of gunmetal combines with the color of the Caribbean waters on a clear, sunny day. The contrast between the two colors only heightens their impact, and the effect is stunning. Just be aware that when you combine colors like this that are inherently so different (even if one is a neutral), textures will pop and any additional details will be accentuated. So go easy on the décor.
Gray + Driftwood + White
Light gray tends to be more feminine, while darker gray tones are naturally internalized as more masculine. So for a lighter, breezier, almost coastal feel, light gray pairs serenely with driftwood brown and white. Distinct in their differences, these colors combine to simulate an almost monochromatic feel to a space, full of pleasing neutrality but with sufficient depth of tone to keep things interesting.
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Gray + Red + White
Red and white create a bold color pair; when gray is added as the third wheel, the palette is instantly softened and more well-rounded. This is true for both darker shades and lighter tints of gray, although darker gray (such as gunmetal and charcoal) is more visually arresting and so creates more of a statement with red and white than, say, raincloud gray. Of course, the beauty of this color palette is that you can use a variety of shades of gray without introducing a level of visual clutter that other colors might bring with them.
Gray + Pink
Perhaps because it reminds one of a soft gray bunny with pale pink ears, gray and pink together is sweet and attentive. This Xiaotong Wang chair set certainly incorporates the efficient nature of gray beautifully with this consideration of pink, and the resulting flow of connection between the inhabitants of these chairs can be felt almost immediately.
Gray + Yellow
Just as we welcome the sun’s appearance on a cloudy day (even if it’s just a peek), we welcome yellow as an ideal color that goes with gray. Its sunshiney, cheerful aesthetic lifts the efficient utilitarianism of gray and creates a space where both effects can be felt and appreciated. This is exactly what this Fermob outdoor chair accomplishes with its gray and yellow combination.
Gray + Red
Soft elephant gray is a perfect color for a zen retreat, a bedroom, or any space that speaks serenity and peace. Where bold red would counter-attack the calmness that such a soft gray creates, a deep brick red is mature, somber, and a perfect pair of a color that goes with gray. Notice how one uniquely shaped item (e.g., the bolster on this daybed) in the accent color provides enough visual for the entire setting.
A brighter, fire-engine or candy-apple red paired with dark charcoal gray lends an entirely different vibe to a glossy utilitarian space, such as a kitchen or bathroom. Bold and no-nonsense, this color combination is nothing but striking and crisp. Be sure to keep silhouettes and lines clean with such a palette. (Notice how the Nobilia soapstone countertop is matte; red cabinetry is high gloss. This is an important shine juxtaposition with bold colors.)
Gray + Taupe
It isn’t a stretch to put taupe as a lovely color that goes with gray, largely because taupe and gray are so closely related. As a lovely brownish-gray (or grayish-brown), taupe provides the warmth to the palette, while gray provides the structure and grounding aesthetic. Luxe velvet and interesting architectural details make this particular color palette gorgeously attractive.
When pale gray is combined with white and taupe tints, the effect is a cousin of monochromatic décor and, as such, brings with it serenity, stability, and flow. Remember that whenever few colors are used, the emphasis on texture and pattern variation is heightened, so be sure to use touchable fabrics and interesting lines. This is a perfect combination for a bedroom retreat.