Or, how not to end up with an accidentally purple living room.
There's something about a gray room that feels incredibly sophisticated. But how to choose the right shade? We polled designers for their best tips for getting to the right gray — and how to complement it for a room you'll feel completely at home in.
Before you even set foot in a paint store, take note of the room's surroundings. If you're working with plenty of wood, of Tom Stringer Design Partners recommends warm grays with putty undertones. "Warmer grays also balance well with hits of bright color, like with this interior," he says.
For a calm, understated vibe, seek out cooler light grays, which make less of a statement. But if you're prepared for bold, search along the darker and warmer ends of the spectrum. Laurel & Wolf designer used warm gray paint in this home office and notes that deeper grays "pair beautifully with cream accents."
Visit your local paint store for the Behr paint line, which has an incredible selection of rich, versatile grays that are durable and scuff resistant. Pick up a variety of sample-size portions across the spectrum of warm, cool, and taupe-leaning grays. "A gray taupe is an excellent neutral to complement furniture, accessories, and artwork," says Sarah Magness of .
Give yourself a chance to live with all the different shades to get a sense of what you like best. If you don't want to paint directly on the wall, hang up big white poster boards. Spend time deciding which shade best complements your surroundings, mood, and the lighting — natural or otherwise.
While you have the testers up, "assess how different samples change with the light throughout the day," say Brandon Quattrone of . "We love grays with rosy undertones, because they feel warm and welcoming when the sun peeks in." Don't forget — the color of the ceiling will affect the look and feel, too.
Once you've picked a winner, bring in complementary colors that highlight your new paint job. "I love pairing grays with the pop of soft pink insets," says interior designer , who designed this lush living room. Amanda Reynal of suggests that, "gray walls look alive with brass accents."
Whether you have leftover paint from the final color you selected — or from the smaller sample sizes you test drove — consider bringing more gray into the room. Different tones and textures help create an interesting, layered environment and keeps the gray on the walls from becoming too flat. In order words, go gray crazy.